China’s Lafite Wine Bubble: 70% of Wine is Fake?

Andy Xie going off on an atypically wacky but entertaining tangent about the current China bubble in Lafite wines.

Among the first growth wines, Lafite has taken on a life of its own, rising much quicker than the fine wine market as a whole, and other first growth wines in particular. For example, 2000 vintage Lafite has appreciated by about 550% in pound sterling since 2005, compared to 180% for the market as a whole. The most comparable wine to Lafite is Latour, and the price of its same vintage has risen roughly in line with the overall market. The price differentials between Lafite and other vintages of first growth wines are not as dramatic as for the 2000 vintage, but they are still large. Something special has happened to Lafite these past few years. That something is China.

…Indeed, the Lafite price is now so high that it has led to a large counterfeit industry. Some analysts estimate that 70% of the Lafite consumed in China is fake. I have personally experienced this on a few occasions, although the people who served me fake Lafite were unaware of its questionable provenance because they paid the same high price fetched by the genuine article. I could tell that the fake was good wine too, probably a good second growth poured into a Lafite bottle. Forgers have targeted the legendary 1982 vintage in particular. Many wealthy Chinese have bought large stocks of 1982 Lafite and the odds are most of it is fake. There are so few bottles of the real vintage left that it is highly unlikely to find several cases of the real thing.

More here.