The UK press have reported that counterfeit wine has been discovered for sale in numerous off licenses in the South East. The wine is labelled as “Jacob’s Creek” and is believed to be imported from China. It’s apparently being offered for sale for £2 per bottle to these off licenses – so they clearly knew it was bent before accepting it – UK excise duty is now £1.85, plus customs tax of 5p, plus vat, making a total tax charge of £2.28 per bottle!
Certain elements in China have long been counterfeiting everything from designer clothes, sportsgear, watches, handbags ……etc, but in the last few years a massive trade in counterfeiting wine has been happening for consumption in China. The Chinese have been craving the trappings of success and fine wines have great status over there – as western indulgences such as fine wine appreciation are fairly recent developments in China, the average Chinese businessman wouldn’t know a fine wine from a bottle of plonk. So enterprising Chinese criminal gangs have been buying up all the bottom end French red wine they could find, counterfeiting labels from all the classed growth Bordeaux and selling the wine on at massive profits! The trouble is the Chinese businessman is likely to add coca cola to his wine anyway as apparently they have not yet acquired a taste for it!
However this is the first report of it happening in the UK. How can they do this without paying excise duty on it? Logically they would have to produce it in the UK to avoid customs, presumably in a laboratory or factory. Perhaps the “wine” is just a chemical solution, and possibly a dangerous one. The press report said it was Jacob’s Creek labels but inferior wine in the bottle – I didn’t think we could get much lower than Jacob’s Creek mass produced entry level dross! But then if it’s a nasty chemical solution which tastes awful and is not good for you……the counterfeit wine, not Jacob’s Creek I mean! Although………..I’m not going to use this as an excuse to slate mass produced over chemicalled plonk again, so I’ll now leave Jacob’s Creek alone.
If you happen to be concerned about this, apparently the counterfeit labels contain several spelling mistakes, so even if you can’t tell the difference from the taste or the nasty chemical hangover you should be able to spot it on the label!