‘Penfunils’: China’s Aussie wine swindle
Huge tariffs have led Aussie wine exports to China to slow to a trickle but doppelganger "wine of Australia" bottles are still appearing on supermarket shelves in the communist country despite a crackdown.
Wine branded "Penfunils'' and "Benfords'' was spotted in a shop in China's Hainan province over the weekend, with the bottles bearing a striking resemblance to acclaimed Australian wine Penfolds.
Twitter user Patrick Fok posted the images of the bottles, which said "wine of Australia" on their labels.
"Spotted in Hainan. Must admit I have never come across these Australian labels," he wrote.
It comes as Chinese authorities cracked a large-scale $26 million counterfeit operation in January, where fraudsters sold cheap wine in faux Penfolds bottles to unsuspecting Chinese locals.
A spokesman from Treasury Wine Estates, who own Penfolds, said the company would be "investigating this case further''.
"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 spokesman said.
China continues to impose tariffs of up to 200 per cent on Australian winemakers.
Wine Australia has revealed exports to mainland China for 2020 were down 14 per cent to just over $1 billion.
Australian Grape and Wine chief executive Tony Battaglene called the fake bottles "deeply concerning" as their contents might put Chinese wine drinkers off Aussie products for good.
Originally published as 'Penfunils': China's Aussie wine swindle