Penfolds shmenfolds | Top Australian brand faces worrisome challengers in China

By Jim Boyce | Australian brand Penfolds has long faced intellectual property issues in China, from clear-cut fakes to labels leveraging the brand in misleading ways. Given this, it’s no surprise that more examples were spotted at the huge and recently concluded China Food & Drink Fair in Chengdu or that English-language reports arose this week’s about 50,000 bottles of fake Penfolds being seized in central China.

“Local media said on Tuesday a raid on a warehouse in Zhengzhou, the capital of China’s Henan province, had uncovered more than 8,300 cases of Penfolds wine worth 18 million yuan ($3.7 million),” writes Michael Smith in Australian Financial Review. “The haul comes as the premium Australian brand steps up efforts to stamp out copycats in one of its biggest markets,” 

Smith notes that Penfolds owner Treasury Wine Estates was pleased with the action, that the police were reportedly tipped off by a buyer who thought the wine tasted wrong, and that it took ten trucks to transport the stuff away. Read the full story here.

The past year has seen plenty of other IPR-related stories about Penfolds in China. Those include 12,000 fake wines being seized last November, Treasury Wines suing a “copycat” producer in China, an Australian wine critic explaining the difficulty of telling fake from real wine apart in Shanghai, and social media talk about an extraordinarily high level of Penfolds wines in China are fakes, with Treasury reportedly refuting this.

As for the China Food & Drinks Fair, acquaintance said that not only did they witness the authorities crack down on sellers of fake wines but also saw fewer such bottles than in previous years.

Anyway, here are a few dodgy wines spotted there plus other Penfold-ish labels collected over the years:

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