‘Fine wine’ hoard highlights China’s problem with fakes

November 9, 2012 | BBC NEWS CHINA

Genuine bottles of fine wine such as Chateau Lafite (far right) are much prized in China, but many bottles are fakes
Genuine bottles of fine wine such as Chateau Lafite (far right) are much prized in China, but many bottles are fakes

Police in China have discovered 10,000 bottles labelled as one of the world’s most expensive wines in a deserted house.

If authentic the haul of Chateau Lafite Rothschild would be worth £10m ($16m), but police believe it is fake.

Chateau Lafite is very popular with China’s new rich and 50,000 bottles are imported from the estate each year.

Police say it’s unlikely that a fifth of that total would have been stored in one deserted suburban villa.

The house is in the eastern city of Wenzhou, south of the financial hub, Shanghai.

It is reported to have had good security and to have been guarded by dogs.

Its owner, Mr. Zhou, told police he had been surprised to learn that his house, unoccupied for nine years, was being used to store wine. He has denied any involvement.

The authorities hope the discovery will hold clues to an underground workshop

Analysts say that 70% of bottles of Chateau Lafite sold in China are fakes. The estate has fought and won six lawsuits against Chinese companies over fine wines.

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