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‘First conviction’ over fake Bordeaux wines in China

Bordeaux’s wine council has claimed a landmark victory in its battle against counterfeits in China, with the help of local authorities.

A counterfeiter who displayed fake Bordeaux wines at a trade show in China has been found guilty and given an 18-month suspended prison sentence by the court of Pudong in Shanghai, according to Bordeaux’s wine council, the CIVB.

It called the conviction a major milestone in a decade-long battle against counterfeits.

‘Bordeaux is the first collective trademark to have won a victory in criminal proceedings in China,’ it said.

Bordeaux gained ‘geographical indication’ status in China in 2015, and this was extended to cover individual appellations in 2016.

A CIVB spokesperson told Decanter.com that the wines involved in the most recent ruling involved multiple appellations within Bordeaux.

The trade body has said it hopes the conviction will set a precedent for future cases. ‘There are currently 15 criminal cases pending,’ the spokesperson added.

While the convicted party in Shanghai was not named, the CIVB said that it alerted authorities after becoming suspicious about an exhibitor scheduled to attend to the Chengdu Wine Fair in March last year.

Police seized wines displayed by the exhibitor at the show, and later discovered a counterfeit batch of 10,000 bottles, the CIVB said.

Chengdu authorities passed the case to Shanghai, with the CIVB offering technical support.

Alongside the suspended prison sentence, the conviction included a fine of 100,000 RMB (€13,000 / £11,000) for the company involved and 50,000 RMB to be paid by the guilty individual, the CIVB said.

‘The CIVB congratulates the investment and determination of the Chinese authorities in bringing this case to a successful conclusion,’ said CIVB president Bernard Farges.

There was no suggestion of any wrongdoing by the organisers of the Chengdu Wine Fair.

While counterfeit fine wine is a worldwide issue, there has been a particular focus on China as the country has grown to become a major market in the 21st century.

Winemakers from Champagne to Napa Valley have sought greater trademark protection, working in coordination with Chinese officials.

See also: 

News: The latest wine import figures for China

How to spot a fake wine: 10 signs to look for

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