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Australian wine brands are smashing their bottles to prevent Chinese knockoffs

Chinese President Xi Jinping enjoying a glass of red. Photo: Greg Bowker – Pool/ Getty.

The beast that is China’s copycat economy has sunk its teeth into many industries, including the automotive industry and smartphones.

In 2012, China even unveiled a replica of an entire Austrian village.

And it seems the wine industry is no different.

Australian wine makers entering the Chinese market “have to smash all their bottles after they do tastings” to prevent copycats getting their hands on the product.

One of these companies includes Penfolds, according to Oliver’s Taranga Vineyards winemaker, Corrina Wright.

“The likes of Penfolds and other big-name wineries have a terrible time,” she told The Australian.

“They have tried to come up with all these technological prints on the labels or whatever to make them secure but as fast as they can develop them, they can be copied.”

Similar to the sophisticated preventative methods a technology company would use to avoid being hacked, wine companies are having to establish strategic plans for entering new markets to ensure the integrity of their product.

Along with this challenge, Wine Australia marketing general manager Stuart Barclay said other companies are getting caught out by the country’s trademark laws.

“In China whoever filed their trademark first has ownership of it so even if you are in China using your brand before that trademark was registered, you could be held to be infringing that trademark just because they got in before you,” he said.

In the year to September, Australian wine exports to China increased by 47% to $313 million. This growth is set to continue driven by the country’s demand for wines in the higher price points, as well as the recently signed China-Australia free-trade agreement.

The Australian has more here.

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