Copycat counterfeiters target Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt

Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie have reportedly become the latest victims of wine fraud. Their Rosé wine is said to have been counterfeited by Chinese fraudsters.

Miraval Rosé comes from the village of Correns, in Provence, and is being made in a partnership with the Perrin family of Chateau de Beaucastel. The first vintage, 2012, sold out within hours of being released, and subsequently there have been waiting lists for the wine ever since. The high demand for this product has led to claims of counterfeiting: fake bottles of the Rosé wine were discovered by the Perrin family, being advertised in China.
In order to counter the recent bout of fraud, this year’s wine will have an engraved signature hallmark set into the glass.
Winemaker Marc Perrin spoke to Decanter about the fraud: “We are already seeing evidence of faked bottles being produced and distributed in China, so we have moved swiftly to counter it”.
This is by no means the first example of wine fraud. Rudy Kurniawan was the first person to be imprisoned in America in 2013 for selling counterfeited wine. Kurniawan blended various wines together from a laboratory in his cellar, attached fake labels and sold the wine off as some of the world’s most rare and expensive wines. Thousands of fake labels for the most prestigious wines from Burgundy and Bordeaux were found when the FBI searched his house, as well as a recipe for creating a 1945 Château Mouton Rothschild.
This case is said to have been the largest case of wine fraud in history, where collectors are said to have been cheated out of tens of millions of dollars, and Kurniawan was subsequently sentenced to ten years imprisonment.
One of the key figures known for bringing Kurniawan to justice is well known expert in counterfeit wine, Maureen Downey. This San Franciscan is adamant that the issue of wine fraud is far more common than most people realise, and she has taken it upon herself to help to reveal the extent of these crimes.
Downey told The Telegraph: “At the lower levels it might be that what you’re getting is Côtes du Rhone not Châteauneuf du Pape. We don’t hear about that because it’s not nearly as sexy as the 1919 Romanée Conti that someone pointed out to me is being sold in auction this week with an appellation controlee label” (which wasn’t a part of the Burgundy labelling regulations until the 1930s).
She says that it is not through tasting that you can identify a fake wine, as each bottle can vary in taste, and there are so many factors which will affect the ageing process, and each wine will have been stored and transported differently.
Instead, the clue is in the bottle itself, and the bottle shape, ink colour, type of label, watermark and glass weight etc. are all key features that can reveal a counterfeit wine.

She has been creating a website,, which will launch next month. This website aims to inform about counterfeit wine at every level in the market so people can be more aware of what to look out for.
 Main blog image by filtran


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