Thursday, April 21, 2005

Chinese forgeries

Just a few weeks ago I’d mentioned a story (in my cork sniffing post) I’d heard from a wine merchant in China about a well to do family there who had purchased a bottle of forged Petrus unknowingly.

Here’s an
article from the Globe and Mail (Toronto, ON, Canada) about some more forgeries in China, though the product forged isn’t quite as lofty as the Petrus. In this news it appears to be Canadian Ice Wine, and the ersatz product is described as both horrid and, unfortunately, ubiquitous enough to have put a stranglehold on the sales of the genuine article.

Canadian companies aren’t taking these incidents lightly, and are righteously defending their products and reputation.

I say “Go get ‘em!”…

During the same conversation I had with the Chinese wine merchant they confided in me that the Asian market consumers are extremely wary of bottles with foil capsules on them. Specifically, foils that have two small holes on top of them.

Now the manufacturers of the foils place those two pin-pricks in the foils to allow air to escape, and the foil sits down on the bottle much quicker, and makes for better placement before the bottles enter the foil spinner (foils up too high get creases in them, don't look good, and have to be reworked).

Apparently in Asia, having been saturated in the past with knock-off products, people have developed a rather interesting urban legend regarding the holes. Popular belief is that these holes are from thieves who have a device with two hypodermic needles on it, inserted through the foil & cork and then exchanges the good original product for some ersatz concocted 'wine'.

The merchant referred to this as a type of "Vampire's kiss", which locals looked for, and then avoided.

I'm not sure how to correct that misconception, but I'd look at modifying any package I was sending to China with a few more "tamper evident" security measures to make sure people had faith in my product. Though any product that's popular will still have considerable efforts from thieves to forge them.

Dang! Where's the MythBusters when you need 'em?


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