Counterfeit Labels (April 17, 2003)
Last June I visited China and saw a raft of fake Canadian Icewine on
the shelves of department stores. The labels looked authentic but the
wine in the bottle was patently not Icewine.
The problem of counterfeit labels has bedeviled the wine world since
printing began. It's especially pernicious at the top end of the market
for wines in great demand by collectors. High-end Bordeaux is particularly
vulnerable to forgeries that compromise their image of quality.
One château has finally done something to protect its clients from
being defrauded. La mission Haut-Brion, the renowned château in
Bordeaux's Graves region, has launched a new label for its 2000 vintage
that is purported to be counterfeit-proof.
The paper for the label has been manufactured by Arjo Wiggins Security,
a company that specializes in making bank notes for several European mints.
It took three years of trials to perfect the new label, which contains
a number of security features that remain undisclosed to the general public.
No doubt other high-profile wineries such as Mouton-Rothschild and Pétrus
will be watching this experiment in combating fraud with great interest.