Wine makers suffer from rip-offs in China

on 25/07/11 at 12:20 pm

Wine

Small wineries looking to tap into the $170 million Chinese market are under threat from an increasingly sophisticated counterfeit industry, experts have warned.

The warning from South Australian law firm Finlaysons comes as more independent wineries look to sell their products in China – the world’s fastest-growing market for wine – in a bid to survive the glut crippling the domestic industry.

Figures from the Winemakers Federation of Australia show China is Australia’s fourth-biggest market, with exports totalling $167 million this year. WA wine exports account for an estimated $10 million of the market.

But while much of the industry’s focus to date has been on how to increase profits from exports, Finlaysons intellectual property partner John MacPhail said there was also a growing awareness that the longstanding practice of counterfeiting big-name consumer products in China had spread to the wine industry.

Although industry bodies were denying the existence of the problem as recently as a year ago, Mr MacPhail said he had already acted for several clients who had fallen victim to Chinese entrepreneurs counterfeiting their wine.

Even Penfolds has fallen victim to the practice, with Penfolds officials reportedly uncovering a batch of “Benfolds” wine – in identical packaging to the real Penfolds product – in Guangzhou last year.

“The only way you’re safe from (the threat of) being ripped off by counterfeits in China is if you don’t go there at all,” Mr MacPhail said.

{FULL STORY}

Enhanced by Zemanta