05 Jun Today is the World Anti-Counterfeiting Day
The World Anti-Counterfeiting Day has been created in 1998 by the Global Anti-Counterfeiting Group (GACG) and is held every June to raise awareness of the damages caused by counterfeiting and piracy.
When you hear about counterfeiting, you may not directly think about wines and spirits. However, this is a major and growing issue, which generates direct economic loss, damages the image of brands but also presents a health hazard for consumers.The experts from Wine Spectator estimate that 20% of the wine consumed worldwide is counterfeit (1) and 30 % of alcohol consumed worldwide is illicit according to the International Center for Alcohol Policies (2).
Here are a couple of cases that have been in the news in the past year that are only the tip of the iceberg.
“Kurniawan was convicted of fraud last year for selling more than 1.3 million dollars-worth of fake wines. He is currently facing upwards of 40 years in prison”(3).
“This week, Italian police confiscated 30,000 bottles of Brunello, Chianti Classico and Sagrantino di Montefalco from warehouses, wine merchants, grocery stores and restaurants after discovering that the bottles with the more expensive labels contained common table wine that is only worth about a dollar a liter”(4).
“The London-based wine dealer, The Antique Wine Company , is being sued for $25 million by an Atlanta collector for allegedly selling 15 bottles of counterfeit rare old Bordeaux”(5).
“Authentication experts and Danish journalists accuse exclusive wine club of refilling rare old bottles. It was called the White Club. For an initiation fee of 15,000 euros (about $20,000) and annual dues of about $3,250, members of the Switzerland-based group were promised access to international events at which “grand wines will be shared and not just kept as trophies or investments”(6).
“Massive Chinese Counterfeit Wine Ring Busted with 7,000 Fake Cases. Suspects were arrested in China holding more than 32 Million Dollars of fake wine by the Yanti police. In dollar value, this could be the largest bust of its kind in China. Some of the wines being counterfeited were Chateau Lafite Rothschild, Chateau Latour, Chateau Mouton Rothschild, Chateau Beychevelle, Chateau Pichon Baron, Penfolds and other famous brands” (7).
“On Wednesday 21 May, customs officers and police seized over 110,000 bottle closures, 400,000 counterfeit vodka labels and 500 cardboard outer cases in Kilcurry, County Louth”(8).
“Two men convicted of producing poisonous alcohol that killed more than 30 people in 2012 have been sentenced to life in prison by a court in the Czech Republic”(9).
- Alan Rappeport, Jan Cienski, Counterfeit alcohol problem takes a deadly toll, Financial Times, 5 novembre 2012.
- Robert Taylor, Wine Spectator, 21 novembre 2013.)