How much the the French market is affected by the counterfeiting of wines and spirits? How to protect against it? Some  explanations of Aymeric de Clouet, wine expert in Paris.

Wines from the estate of Romanée Conti, bottles of Mouton Rothschild, Petrus … Those famous names are also the victims of counterfeits all around the world, and it’s getting worst with the development of Internet sales. “In France, counterfeiting is artisanal. There are some counterfeiters, but not so much bottles counterfeited, and mostly for export, “explains Aymeric de Clouet, wine expert in Paris and in charge of some of the best sales to Auctions of recent years – the Cave de la Tour d’Argent, the Hotel Matignon, the old cave of the restaurant Drouant. According to him, “we have a suspicion on probably a dozen of people – but it is very difficult to have evidence to condemn them. Last year, a fraudster of cognac bottles was condemned in France, but it’s not happening enough , “he deplores.


Beware of Wine E-commerce websites

Where to get supplies and being be sure of the authenticity of the bottles? The safest source of course is to buy directly from the property. For auctions in France, “zero risk does not exist and some bottles are counterfeited and sometimes sold more generally, the presence of a wine expert and an auctioneer provide a certain guarantee on the authenticity Bottles. On the other hand, it is necessary to be very careful of Internet sites of sales between individuals (Like Ebay) where the buyer knows nothing about the cave (risk of bad conservation, counterfeit) or about the seller » warn Aymeric de Clouet.

The Most Used Frauds

One of the most common frauds is the filling of bottles. Fraudsters buy prestigious bottles empty online and fill it with a very fine selection of a good wine to avoir any suspicions. In France, as in Italy or Luxembourg, counterfeit products are quite elaborate and sometimes difficult to detect.

A big scourge in China

In many foreign countries, on the other hand, counterfeiting is much more industrialized. It is a real scourge in China, for example. According to a report by the Ministry of Foreign Trade of 2015, there would be more counterfeit French wines than non-counterfeit wines and the situation is getting worse. In China most of the counterfeits are really bad done, labels are often misspelled or poorly photocopied. “In China, it is almost a custom accepted,” says Aymeric de Clouet. “In official dinners, it is not uncommon for fake bottles to be served at the tables, and some of them are reserved for the president’s table or for the most prestigious guests. It is almost a tribute to the great French wines! But the French market remains for the moment quite protected from Asian counterfeits, « says the wine expert.

However, he deplores the fact that nobody cares. “Today, we can make really easily fake bottles and sell them in the largest foreign auction houses. It is unacceptable ! For exemple with the Kurniawan scandal, he had to wait that the  winegrower Laurent Ponsot filed a lawsuit in the United States for the scandal to be revealed, but many people in the profession had suspicions for a long time, deplores Aymeric de Clouet. He adds: « Famous luxury brands in the ready-to-wear (bags etc.) are very active in the fight against counterfeiting but in the field of wines and spirits, professionals prefer to act only when a big scandal is happening and involving considerable quantities, but not for a few bottles »

Translated from the French newspaper l’Express

Categories: FRANCE

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