Australian businessmen are coming with an app to help Chinese wine buyers discern the authenticity of the wines they buy. (Shutterstock)
China’s dismal record of counterfeit wines can make buying an expensive bottle in the country feel like taking a shot in the dark. It is hard to verify authenticity without tasting, and even then it requires know-how. To protect the reputation of Australian wines from the stain of China’s counterfeits, a group of Australian entrepreneurs have come up with a mobile application that will allow customers to immediately verify whether or not their wine is a dud.
Up to 70 percent of the wine in China might be counterfeit, according an expert. This poses a problem when unsuspecting buyers or investors can spend millions on red wine, and there have even been cases in China where people have fallen ill from drinking fake wine. Thankfully, buyers in China have become increasingly knowledgeable about the wines they purchase, and some wines even have QR codes on them for identification. However, these protective measures and increased know-how tend to better serve consumers of higher-priced French wines, leaving consumers of middle-market wines from other regions unprotected.
Australian businessmen Andrew Vlahov and Grant Shaw have teamed up with Chinese IT company Ivengo and consultants Deloitte to develop an app that detect authentic labels, reports Australian news ABC. While details of how it will work are scant, the article says that the app will scan the bottle's label to identify its origins and its journey from producer to customer.
Vlahov says that customers are willing to pay a small premium for the peace of mind for authenticated wine. "That's essentially what we're trying to do, establish a new benchmark and protocol that's accepted by Australians and the Chinese," says Vlahov.
Australian wine maker Ferngrove Wine Group, who has been exporting to China for over a decade, will assist Vlahov and Shaw in testing out their new app over the coming months. Ferngrove CEO Anthony Wilkes says that China’s increasing affluence has resulted in greater demand for quality, and that the app will surely help Australian wines flourish in China’s wine market tainted by counterfeits.