A video showing the production of Château La Tour Carnet, a grand cru classé estate in Bordeaux, has caused uproar in Chinese wine trade because the video was not recorded from inside the storied Haut Médoc estate in Bordeaux but a shoddy workshop thousands of miles away in China.
The 15-second video that has been making rounds in China’s most popular social media platform WeChat exposed a fake Chinese wine production workshop in an unidentified place in China, where a full bottling line of is steadily churning out counterfeit Château La Tour Carnet.
The video heightens the problem that complicates business for wineries around the world when their growing fame in China is matched with growing pains of dealing with counterfeits and copycats.
Known Bordeaux brands including Bordeaux firth growth Château Lafite Rothschild and Australia’s popular brand Penfolds are often among some of the most counterfeited wines in China.
The number of fake wines produced and distributed inside the country is hard to gauge, but Australian wine commentator Jeremy Oliver estimated that up to 50% of wine that retails for more than $35 a bottle in China is fake — either through a fake label, a refilled bottle or a copycat brand. Vino-joy.com can’t independently verify the number.
The Bernard Magrez group which owns the fourth growth estate in Haut Médoc has since issued a statement in Chinese shortly after the video surfaced in an effort to assure consumers and its local Chinese distributors.
The group said it has contacted police and authorities to look into the video.
Calling the fourth growth one of its core brands in its portfolio, the wine group affirms that all of its La Tour Carnet wines are produced and bottled inside the fourth growth estate in Haut Médoc, and all other activities of bottling and production outside the property are thus illegal and infringe on the company’s rights.
When reached by Vino-joy.com, Jean Clement Casse, Asia Business Development Manager at Bernard Magrez, declined to go into details and said the winery doesn’t “want to communicate too much about this”.
The company also owns several other classified Bordeaux estates including Château Pape Clément, Château Fombrauge and Clos Haut-Peyraguey.
Bordeaux, the most renowned wine region in China, often falls victim to fraudsters. The region’s wine trade organisation The Conseil Interprofessionnel du Vin de Bordeaux (CIVB) has taken measures to combat the problem. CIVB won a landmark case against counterfeiters in China’s eastern Shandong province last year.
China is Bordeaux’s top export market, where roughly 40% of its exported wines by volume are sold.
The full video of the fake Château La Tour Carnet production can be watched below.