Counterfeit wines are sold at many places, auction houses, eBay has had a huge problem with people selling fakes but the vast majority of fake wine is made in Europe. There are at least five counterfeit wine rings working the circuit.
Though quite a few high-profile seizures of counterfeit Chateau Petrus and Domine de la Romanee-Conti (DRC) have been made in France in recent years, the sentences have been so light they hardly seem like a deterrent at all. A Russian counterfeiter go a mere two-year jail term in France for selling 400 bottles of fake DRC, but the sentence was suspended and he walked.
Some European wineries, including Domain de la Romanee-Conti, are working to combat fraud. A couple of methods that have been adopted include invisible ink, holograms and serial numbers on labels as well as embossing directly on the bottle s and proof tags hung around the bottles necks. A form of protection is a registry where collectors could provide information about wines and their histories, which could then be accessed by other co0llectors. A similar method is used in the diamond trade.
Next month I’ll be giving you more information on how to spot a counterfeit wine and what to do about it.