Inside the corked world of China’s counterfeit wine kingpin

Inside the corked world of China's counterfeit wine kingpin.

Inside the corked world of China's counterfeit wine kingpin. Image: La Vinya del Senyor / Facebook.

A Chinese fraudster has been sentenced to five years in prison and fined 250,000 yuan (£27,500) for his involvement in a counterfeit wine operation.

Qi Moudao admitted to producing fake wines from prestigious Bordeaux châteaux, which led to his conviction.

During a police raid, authorities seized 786 bottles of counterfeit wine.

Among the confiscated bottles were 33 falsely labelled as Petrus, Château Lafite Rothschild, or Pomerol, and an additional 29 branded as Carruades de Lafite 2017.

Trademark Infringement

The Tongzhou District People’s Court of Beijing considered Qi’s actions a severe case of trademark infringement, resulting in his five-year prison sentence.

Qi opted not to appeal the court’s decision.

The court chose to publicise the details of the case during National Intellectual Property Week in China to raise consumer awareness about the risks associated with purchasing prestigious wines from unverified sources.

Authorities disclosed that the production cost of the counterfeit wines was minimal, given the substantial financial incentive for fraudsters.

With a single bottle of Petrus fetching over 50,000 yuan (£5,500) in Mainland China, there’s a lucrative market for counterfeiters.

These criminals often attempt to sell fake wines at slightly reduced prices compared to legitimate retailers, claiming that the products are authentic but smuggled.

Combatting Counterfeits

Since 2020, Chinese law enforcement has intensified efforts to combat counterfeit wines, resulting in several notable busts, including a raid in Fujian province in January 2023, which uncovered 40,000 fake bottles of wine, including Lafite and Penfolds, valued at over £120 million.

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Written by

Anna Ellis

Originally from Derbyshire, Anna has lived in the middle of nowhere on the Costa Blanca for 19 years. She is passionate about her animal family including four dogs and four horses, musicals and cooking.