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How To Spot Counterfeit Wines

Posted on05/04/2021
Counterfeit wines are rarely a concern for casual drinkers as it is perceived that fraudsters will not bother to fake a $20-$50 bottle of wine, but it is a different story for fine wine collectors who drop tens of thousands on branded bottles. As suggested in documentaries like Sour Grapeseven rare wines that are bought from prestigious auction houses could be fake. This is why we have trust issues, isn’t it?

Here are some things that you can look out for when you are determining the authenticity of wines:

Check the label colour


Fake labels seized by FBI agents during a raid on Rudy Kurniawan’s house in Los Angeles. Credit: FBI

The paper used for wine labels have evolved over the years. Coating agents were introduced in the 1950s to brighten up the paper labels. This causes the labels to fluoresce under blue light. Therefore, if you are looking at a vintage bottle before 1949, and its label appears luminous under UV light, you may like to reconsider your decision to purchase it and look for further tell-tale signs before you take out the credit card.

Glue stains

Genuine bottles hardly sport crooked labels. Counterfeiters use certain synthetic glue so they could paste the labels on before straightening them on the bottles. This however leaves traces of glue residue that remains on the bottle as evidence of a fake wine. Remember, especially top producers who spend a lot of effort in making great wines, they are usually not shoddy on the production line.

Look out for sediments



Sediments are formed when wine matures in a bottle, and are therefore commonly found in older wines. Natural wine sediments are hard to fake, so look out for sediments that appear too chunky; natural sediments get dispersed easily with movement in the wines.

Buy from a reliable source

Never buy from a suspicious source. Customers purchasing from wine merchants or brokers should always go with the reputable distributors to minimise the risk of getting their hands on counterfeits. If a deal seems too good to be true, it probably really is.

If all else don’t work and you can’t trust your own judgement, reach out to a trusted professional like our good self who can advise you accurately! Help is just a message away!

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