Wine Spectator, IHT, AP report on Customs investigation of wine importers in China

By Jim Boyce

Wine Spectator has posted an article about the detention of Don St Pierre, Jr., managing partner of ASC Fine Wines, by Customs authorities in Shanghai.

One of the major figures in China’s burgeoning wine industry—Don St Pierre Jr., managing partner of the import-distribution company ASC—has been detained and held without charge by customs authorities in Shanghai.

The detainment appears to be part of an extensive investigation of wine importers in the growing Chinese market. According to media reports, officials have been investigating several major importers such as ASC and Miguel Torres [Torres China GM Alberto Fernandez told me three weeks ago that his company had cleared inspection] for weeks, looking for evidence that the importers are understating the value of wines they bring into the country in order to evade high customs duties.

ASC Chairman Don St. Pierre Sr. is quoted as saying, “The way the system works here is that they detain you while figuring out what to do.”

Last week, International Herald Tribune published an Associated Press report about this case, titled China’s customs inspectors target wine importers as sales of foreign vintages boom.

Grape Wall of China has been monitoring this story since March 13. Previously:
Decanter reports on Customs investigation
Chinese customs investigating wine importers
Customs investigating wine importers II – ASC releases statement
Chinese customs investigating wine importers

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