China's rapid economic growth has lifted millions of its citizens out of poverty and into the ranks of the global middle class. As a result, many Chinese citizens now have the means to satisfy their growing appetite for foreign-made goods.
One popular category of products is wine. But can the industry handle a sudden spike of demand from millions of new customers? Unfortunately, this may not happen without the influence of counterfeiters.
"Real icewine can only be produced in a region that experiences long, warm summers and cold winters."
In Canada, for instance, demand for icewine is so high that acre after acre of land in the Niagara region is being repurposed for cabernet franc grape production, according to the Financial Post.
But even that doesn't seem to be enough. The news source noted that a number of Chinese counterfeiters are sensing opportunities to jump into this market and undercut the competition through nefarious means.
Real icewine can only be produced in a region that experiences long, warm summers and cold winters. According to Wine Frog, the beverage is made from grapes that are naturally frozen on the vine, resulting in a finished product that is higher in sugar and lower in alcohol. But rather than do the work of making a proper icewine, Chinese counterfeiters are reportedly adding sugar to wine and affixing their bottles with labels from fake wineries.
In response, some producers have tried to make it easier for consumers to verify that they are holding the genuine article. Pillitteri Estates Winery prints QR codes on each bottle that shoppers can scan with their smartphone. No two are alike, and the system, known as Prooftag, is difficult for counterfeiters to imitate.
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