Police in China have made a major move in smashing wine counterfeiters by arresting 13 people and seizing 14,000 bottles of fake Penfolds.
The arrests have been welcomed by Treasury Wine Estates (TWE) who said they have been working against counterfeiting, with a number of partners in China. The move came after leading Chinese online retailer Alibaba complained to TWE about some of the low prices that retailers were charging for Penfolds. TWE, Alibaba and Chinese police then worked together to make the arrests and seize the fake wines.
In a statement TWE said: “We applaud the efforts of the Shanghai Hong Kou Public Security Bureau and our e-commerce partner Alibaba in delivering the win announced today against counterfeit – this is a significant step forward in helping combat illegal operators.
“TWE China works tirelessly with our local partners, brand protection agencies and local authorities to ensure our portfolio of premium brands has its integrity preserved at all times. TWE continues to increase our investment behind brand protection in China.”
Fairfax Media reports that one of the suspects detained by police was a wine dealer named Mr Dai and that 2000 bottles of wine were found at his warehouse in Shanghai. A further 10,000 bottles and 10,000 fake labels were later found at another warehouse. Police also seized another 2000 bottles when they arrested five online retailers who were selling the wine to bars and pubs.
TWE added: “Importantly, legitimate sales of TWE’s quality wines remain to be extremely strong – a great recent example of this is the record-breaking Singles Day online shopping event in China involving Alibaba and a number of our e-commerce partners which saw our sales growth increase significantly through our own managed platforms. We continue to encourage consumers to seek out authorised retail stores to purchase our wines.”