Now, an app to help detect counterfeit wine

May 05, 2014 16:18
Foreign winemakers are grappling with the problem of fakes in the Chinese market. Photo: Bloomberg

"Experience the romance we have captured in our exciting range of premium wines" -- this is the greeting message on the website of Flinders Run, a family-owned boutique winery located in the Southern Flinders Ranges.

The fine marketing pitch has won the Australian winemaker devout fans in many parts of the world. But in the world's largest wine market -- China -- the company is facing a big headache.

To his dismay, Emanuel Skorpos, owner of Flinders Run, has discovered that some Chinese customers never get to taste his premium wines as counterfeiters sell cheap Chinese wine with fake labels and sell them as the real thing.

Following a tip-off, Skorpos found counterfeit bottles of several Australian brands in China, including that of his own label, according to Australian news channel ABC.

Fearing that poor quality knock-offs will leave a bad after-taste and destroy the industry's prospects in China, some manufacturers are urging tougher legal action to protect the reputation of Australian wines.

Yet, as legal battle can be a lengthy process, a group of Australian entrepreneurs have come up with an alternative solution – a mobile application that will allow customers to immediately verify the authenticity of their wine, according to a Jing Daily report. The app is supposed to show details of a bottle's origin and its journey from producer to customer with a simple scan.

Still, fake wine is not the only problem for Australian winemakers.

China used to be a rapidly growing market for Australian wine. But Beijing's anti-graft campaign and call for fewer banquets have led to the first decline since 2000 in Australia's bottled wine exports to China last year, figures from government agency Wine Australia showed.

With Beijing showing signs of stepping up the crackdown on state-owned enterprises, the hangover effect from the government austerity moves is far from over.

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EJ Insight writer