- Wine Australia has suspended the export licence for a brand selling Penfolds lookalike wine in China.
- It claims Dalefold Wine “engaged in activity that aims to leverage from the reputation of another wine brand in China through causing consumer confusion”.
- The company also claims to have “a long-term stable relationship with Australia’s five-star winery Maxwell”.
- Maxwell Wines says it sold Daleford some wine back in 2016 and visited its warehouse in Shanghai on one occasion.
Wine Australia has suspended the wine export licence of Dalefold Wines for selling Penfolds lookalike wine in China.
Penfolds is among Australia’s greatest brands and makes the world-renowned Grange, the South Australian-based shiraz that is among the world’s most collectable wines.
The Board of Wine Australia, the federal government agency that oversees Australia’s $20 billion wine industry, has suspended its licence to export grape products from Australia with immediate effect and until further notice.
This is the first time a licence has been suspended since new broadened regulatory powers were introduced in April.
Following an investigation, Wine Australia found Dalefold Wines had “engaged in activity that aims to leverage from the reputation of another wine brand in China through causing consumer confusion”.
It said such actions not only adversely affects the export trade and reputation of all grape products from Australia by diminishing consumer confidence in the integrity and authenticity of Australian grape products in China, but also harm relations with importers and the marketability of Australian grape products relative to competitors.
Adding to Wine Australia’s decision to suspend the company was the fact it had exported three grape products that weren’t approved by Wine Australia and for which an export certificate was not in force.
“Dalefold Wines is not a fit and proper person for the purposes of section 9(3)(g) of the Wine Australia Regulations 2018,” Wine Australia concluded in its findings.
Wine Australia is seeking further information from Dalefold Wines before deciding the length of the suspension and considering whether the licence should be cancelled.
Dalefold Wines may make an application to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal for review of this decision in accordance with the Administrative Appeals Tribunal Act 1995. The prescribed time for making an application under the Act is 28 days.
According to its website, which has images of Dalefold wine with branding similar to the Penfolds label, the company is “mainly engaged in the import of Australian original bottles of wine”.
“The company not only invested heavily in the acquisition of Australia’s Dalefold winery, but also has a long-term stable relationship with Australia’s five-star winery Maxwell,” the company’s website reads via Google Translate.
Maxwell confirmed with Business Insider that it had previously sold Daleford “some” wine and visited its Shanghai warehouse once, but that was the extent of its “relationship”.
“We did sell them some wine in January 16,” said Mark Maxwell, owner of Maxwell Wines.
“I considered this a routine sale of wine, with no unusual association.”
He added that after the sale he made a visit to their warehouse in Shanghai while in the city for the ProWine exhibition.
“They asked if we’d comet to visit their warehouse, a little shop really,” he said, which had a wall lined with the wine products that Daleford sold.
‘Integrity and pragmatism’
The website continues by saying: “‘Integrity and pragmatism, using quality to build trust’, in order to ensure product quality, the company not only directly purchases fine wines from the origin, but also builds a constant temperature warehouse, establishes a complete logistics distribution system, and strictly controls every link from production to distribution. Do your peace of mind and peace of mind.”
According to the website, Daleford belongs to Win Europe International Trade Co., Ltd. which is a subsidiary of Jiu Dai Holdings Group (China) Co., Ltd. and is headquartered in Shanghai.
Win International Trade, according to Chinese recruitment website 51Job, was established in 2014 with a registered capital of 990 million yuan and mainly deals with imports and exports.
The company which claims to have “nearly 100 employees,” is currently hiring for a handful of positions — two of which are Wine Sales and Wine Warehouse Manager.
The suspension of Daleford follows a similar case launched in the federal court earlier this year by Treasury Wine Estates, the maker of Penfolds, claiming an Australian producer was allegedly selling copycat Penfolds wines into the Chinese market.
The copycat problem has been a difficult problem for Australian producers following the increasing demand in the Chinese market.
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