CHINESE COUNTERFEITERS ACCUSED OF FLOODING UK WITH FAKE YELLOW TAIL WINES
By Siulan Law Mathews DipWSET
Source: Yellow Tail
Chinese counterfeiters are accused by a UK drinks expert to be behind fake Yellow Tail bottles found across small supermarkets in the UK.
UK local newspapers reported that fake versions of the Aussie brand Yellow Tail - including Merlot, Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Pinot Grigio – have been found in shops across the country.
The reports said criminals are forging convincing labels to stick on the bottles then selling them to shopkeepers.
Trading standards officers believed the counterfeiters are part of an international racket exploiting the UK’s £3.2billion (USD4.48bn) wine market.
Local newspapers quoted drinks expert Ewan Lacey as saying that the counterfeiters are often based in China.
“China is an epicentre for counterfeit wine. They bottle another country’s wine which they’ve bought for a dollar,” Lacey told the Mirror newspaper.
Birmingham trading standards said the racket could do untold damage to genuine brands if consumers were put off buying them.
A spokesman said: “This is a large-scale operation, probably originating abroad, using organised crime gangs in the UK to distribute and sell the products."
Chris Jones, of West Midlands police, told the Mirror: “The only way this alcohol could have been bought is off the back of a lorry. The premises didn’t know if it was fit for public consumption.”
Trading standards officers launched an investigation after customers complained that bottles of Yellow Tail wine they bought from KVK supermarket in Sutton Coldfield, West Midlands, did not taste as they should.
Officers seized 41 bottles bearing the Yellow Tail label which were confirmed to be fake by brand owner Casella.
Other bottles have been found elsewhere in the country.
KVK supermarket has lost its alcohol licence. Owner Kuladevi Thavarasa said staff had bought the wine in her absence.
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