Wine Industry Fighting Back on Counterfeiters and Fakes

The problem is as old as the business, but producers across the $217-billion industry are finally beginning to talk about the problem and ways to combat it.

As wine counterfeiting gets more sophisticated and more ambitious, particularly as bottle prices rise due to huge demand in new markets in Asia, producers across the wine industry are finally beginning to talk about the problem and ways to combat it.

This article from points out  that the astronomical prices paid for fine wine these days is making wine "more than just a luxury item," said Spiros Malandrakis, senior analyst of the alcoholic drinks market at Euromonitor, a research firm. "They become a currency in themselves. And as with every currency, at some point, people want to find ways to manipulate that and make more money."

Several wineries are laser-engraving their bottles with unique serial numbers. Other wineries are experimenting with hologrammed or bar-coded stickers placed half on the bottle, half on the capsule — the foil that covers the cork — that serve as id tags and will shred if removed. The Bordeaux winegrowers' professional association has created an app, called Smart Bordeaux, that it bills as the "Shazam for wine." Point your cell phone camera at a wine bottle's label and the app will give you information about the wine and contact details for the winery. Smart Bordeaux is also keeping a database of labels that appear to be fakes.

"I think the ostrich strategy, hiding yourself and saying we'll figure it out later, is not satisfying," said Fabien Teitgen, who is in charge of winemaking at Smith Haut Lafitte in Bordeaux. "The best is to speak about it openly and to say what we're doing and let the consumers know what means there are to verify that they have the right product."

To read more, click HERE.