Imitation Aussie wine for sale in China sparks outrage

Olivia Lambert
·News Editor
·2-min read

Poor imitations of one of Australia's most famous wines has been spotted on sale in China, sparking an investigation by the winemaker.

Pictures have emerged from Hainan of bottles on a shelf with the same font and logo as Adelaide's famous Penfolds wine. But the bottles instead go by the name of "Benfords" and "Penfuldr".

"Spotted in Hainan. Must admit I have never come across these Australian labels," China-based journalist Patrick Fok wrote on Twitter.

The imitation bottles of Penfolds wine come amid tensions between China and Australia, and huge tariffs whacked on Australian wine producers.

One of the fake bottles of wine in China. Source: Twitter/ Paddy Fok
One of the imitation Penfolds bottles of wine in China. Source: Twitter/ Paddy Fok

China last year launched a series of trade strikes against Australia encompassing barley, wine, cotton, red meat, seafood, sugar, timber and coal exports, as a diplomatic row between the two countries deepened.

Australian wine heading to the Chinese market faces tariffs of up to 212 per cent, having previously benefited from zero tariffs under the China-Australia free trade agreement.

China mocked over fake labels

As another posted a picture to Twitter of wine with "Penfuldr" scrawled on the label, many others mocked China where the replicas are on sale.

"Who do they think they're fooling," another said, as somebody replied, "Penfools".

A third added the replica was "sad and disgusting".

"China only copies and has no creativity or ideas of its own. Whole manufacturing sector is just copying everyone else and making quick money regardless of what harm it does," they said.

Somebody else also pointed out the wines were being sold on Chinese shopping platform Pinduoduo, where many imitation brands are for sale.

The new images come a month after reports Chinese police foiled a $26 million fake Penfolds operation.

A number of different wine labels have emerged in China that appear to imitate Penfolds. Source: Twitter
A number of different wine labels have emerged in China that appear to imitate Penfolds. Source: Twitter

Penfold's owner investigating fake bottles

Treasury Wine Estates, which owns Penfolds wine, said in a statement they were investigating the rip-off bottles that have emerged in China.

“We take any infringement of our Penfolds brand very seriously and we continue to make significant investments in our brand protection program across markets including China," the statement said.

"Our team will be investigating this case further.”

The company behind the Benfords wine, Shujianxiang Liquor Store, told the ABC it was not the same company as Penfolds.

Penfolds is investigating the replica bottles being sold in China. Source: AAP
Penfolds is investigating the replica bottles being sold in China. Source: AAP

"You can contact our winemaker because we are a legitimate brand with a registered trademark," an anonymous employee said.

The employee added it was a genuine wine sourced from Adelaide's Barossa Valley, despite there being no correlation with Penfolds.

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