For this week, here are the headlines making buzz in China's wine market: fake Bordeaux wines in Shanghai, Beijing's fresh outbreak and key personnel changes in China's wine trade.

Welcome to our China Wine Market Briefs, a new section created by Vino Joy News to bring to you the latest and essential readings on what’s happening in Chinese wine industry reported in Chinese and English language press.

fake wine shandong bordeaux

Market Watch

It seems Hong Kong has finally turned a corner, and starting from June 19, the city has significantly lifted social distancing rules. Restaurants are allowed to operate at full capacity, limit for numbers of people allowed for indoor activities is lifted and outdoor is capped at 50 people, which means we can expect more wine events to return to the city. More encouragingly, SCMP reported that numerous food and beverage sector figures say reservations are about 80% of pre-Covid numbers, with Father’s Day expected to be packed.

On a more sobering side, anxiety over Covid-19, boredom, loneliness are pushing Hong Kong residents to more alcohol abuse during the pandemic. Hong Kong addiction treatment centers and counselors say they have seen rising alcohol consumption and abuse during the pandemic, as stress, isolation and the disruption of help services have led people to drink, as wrote by SCMP.

In Beijing, restaurants and bars are taking another hit as the city reports a fresh coronavirus outbreak at Xinfadi wholesale market. The city upgraded emergency response from level 3 to level 2, restricting business operation hours for many restaurants and bars. Since June 11, over 200 cases have been reported, and more than 2.3 million have been tested in the city. New cases seems to be slowing, and health experts with Chinese CDC said the capital’s outbreak has been brought under control.

Cautionary Tale 

The problem of counterfeit wine in China is like a sticky gum at the bottom of your shoe. It is just not going away any time soon. A local district court in Shanghai Pudong has handed down punishment for a Shanghai company, which has been using trademark protected Geographically Indicated (GI) “Bordeaux” to advertise wines made in China’s eastern Shandong province. Shandong, China’s biggest wine producing province by volume, is home to many fraudsters where access to grapes, winemaking and bottling facilities is easy. The Shanghai company’s fraudulent behavior was apparently discovered at last year’s Chengdu Wine Fair, mainland China’s biggest drinks fair, which led to an investigation by Shanghai Pudong Intellectual Property Administration. According to Chinese reports, 1608 cases of wines have been confiscated.

People on the Move 

The wine market in mainland China and Hong Kong this year has seen some turbulent changes due to the slowing economy and pandemic. Consequently, there are key personnel reshuffles. Aline Bao, who served as the deputy general manager of procurement center and e-commerce center at state-owned wine importer, COFCO Wine & Wine International Co Ltd, has left the company. Bao is considered one of the most influential women working in China’s wine industry, with years of wine purchasing experiences. Prior to joining COFCO Wine & Wine, Bao worked as vice president of online wine merchant It will be exciting to see what’s the next wine project Bao takes on.

Pierre Legrandois, the longtime general manager of Links Concept, has parted ways amicably with his former employer and joined Mayfair, a fine wine merchant operating in mainland China and Hong Kong. Founded by a few Hong Kong based-wine enthusiasts in 1995, Mayfair is a regional fine wine merchant providing integrated fine wine advisory, services and solutions with offices and tasting facilities in Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen and Hong Kong, according to information on its website.

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