Published on ShanghaiDaily.com (http://www.shanghaidaily.com/)
10,000 bottles of Lafite found in home likely fake
POLICE have seized nearly 10,000 bottles of what is believed to be fake Chateau Lafite Rothschild wine - the most expensive red wine in the world - in a vacant house in Wenzhou, Zhejiang Province.
The home's owner, surnamed Zou, told police that last month he found his house, vacant for nine years, filled with bottles of wine. He denied any involvement.
The wine, if genuine, would be worth up to 100 million yuan (US$16 million), the City Express newspaper reported yesterday. Only 50,000 bottles of genuine Lafite are imported by China every year, according to police.
Police said they hope to find an illicit workshop where the wine was made, if it is fake.
The house had an iron gate on the first floor and the yard was guarded by five aggressive dogs, including two Tibetan mastiffs.
Police said they tracked down a man who said he was hired to feed the dogs but didn't have his employer's phone number. Residents said they had seen the man caring for the dogs for three years.
Lafite is considered a status symbol for swanky dinner parties, but officials say some 70 percent of the wine sold under the brand in China is fake.
As of March, Chateau Lafite Rothschild has won six lawsuits against Chinese companies over fake wine and was awarded at least 800,000 yuan in compensation.
Copyright © 2001-2011 Shanghai Daily Publishing House