Bordeaux wine body wins key counterfeit lawsuit in China

A wine supplier who displayed fake Bordeaux wines at a trade show in China has been found guilty in a landmark lawsuit, says the organisation representing the region’s wine producers.

The Conseil interprofessionnel du vin de bordeaux (CIVB) says the guilty judgment in the Shanghai court – and the 18-month suspended prison sentence that accompanied the verdict – is a first for a wine collective in China.

The trademark infringement lawsuit was filed after the seizure in March 2019 of almost 10,000 counterfeit Bordeaux bottles – from multiple appellations – on the stand of an exhibitor at the Chengdu Wine Fair.

The operation resulted from a collaboration between CIVB and the Chinese authorities, organised ahead of the event.

In addition to the suspended sentence, the unnamed perpetrator was also fined 50,000 yuan (around $7,000) personally, while his company was fined 100,000 yuan ($14,000).

In a statement, CIVB president Bernard Farges welcomed the “investment and the determination of the Chinese authorities to bring this matter to a close,” adding that it will encourage other criminal actions against wine counterfeiters in China, and that prison sentences will constitute a significant deterrent.

China is the largest market for Bordeaux wines worldwide, accounting for 23 per cent of the region’s output by volume and 27 per cent by value, according to an AFP report.

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