The Italian wines sold here at Xtrawine have been expertly crafted by some of the best producers in the entire world and you can be guaranteed that you will receive a quality and genuine product every single time you visit our website.
Unfortunately, there are some retailers who are a little less scrupulous when it comes to their sales practices and some producers who would rather piggyback off the efforts of established winemakers rather than come up with a bottle of their own. This has led to a rather marked increase in the sale of fake wine in recent years, with many consumers being caught out because they don’t know how to tell the difference between a fake bottle and the genuine article.
With that in mind, we thought we would take a look at this phenomenon in a little more detail so that you can pick out a fake, should you ever come across one. These are some useful tips to keep in mind, especially as some of these fakes may contain chemicals that are unsafe to consume.
Many forgers pay little attention to the label they put on their bottles outside of emulating the real producer’s label. This is because they know that the average wine buyer is not going to look at the bottle in too much detail, especially if they are just looking to buy a bottle for the evening or are purchasing a vintage that they already know they enjoy, thus ensuring that they don’t have to read the label to find out more about it.
However, it pays to spend a little bit of time examining the label to look for spelling mistakes. It is extremely rare for a professional winemaker to make such oversights as they pay a lot of attention to their labels. Forgers aren’t so detailed though, so give all of the text a quick read and if you spot any mistakes inform the seller if you believe they are reputable, or the authorities if you think they are stocking fake wine deliberately.
The problem of fake wine becomes much more pronounced if you are purchasing an expensive vintage, as you may end up being swindled out of a lot of money if you aren’t extremely careful about authenticating the bottle of wine beforehand.
One of the best ways to do this for particularly old vintages is to again examine the label. This time you will be looking for signs of wear, such as tears and faded ink. Ideally, you should be able you see a faint residue of the glue that was used to stick the label in place before it started to tear off, usually in strips. Fakes claiming to be older vintages will usually have the label stuck firmly on the bottle, which is something you should be wary of whenever you buy from a supposed collector.
The Size of the Bottle
It is also a good idea to go into any purchase knowing about the size of the bottle that the vintage you are looking to buy is usually sold in. This may take a little bit of your time, but it can save you a lot of money in the long run.
You should do this because many counterfeit winemakers won’t pay particularly attention to the size of the bottle they put the wine in, or the type of bottle that was made for an older wine may not even be available for purchase anymore. Take a little bit of time to examine the bottle and see if it is the size that you expect it to be. If it isn’t, you may be dealing with a counterfeit wine and should consider seeking the advice of an expert, especially if it is an expensive transaction.
Before buying a bottle of wine you should examine the retailer in detail to find out about their reputation. Sites like Xtrawine have established reputations and strong relationships with the producers of the wine that they sell, which are easily authenticated and allow you to feel safe in making your purchase.
However, you should be wary of purchasing any bottle of wine from sites like eBay or Amazon as you can never be completely sure that the seller is legitimate. Simply put, if you aren’t sure about the reputation that they have for selling wine, avoid that retailer and look for a store you know you can trust.
We brought up the issue of spelling errors on labels earlier but it is important to note that a number of less scrupulous sellers, particularly in Asia where the wine industry is booming to the point where demand is outstripping supply of genuine wines, may simply rebrand a famous name by replacing a letter with something very similar.
The letters “l” and “i” often end up being replaced with one another on bottles like these and this can often be difficult to spot given the font that is often used for such branding. Pay close attention to the name of the producer on the bottle and make sure that it is written the way that you would expect.
The final thing to be wary of is the cost of the bottle itself, especially if you are purchasing a rare vintage. If it seems too good to be true then the odds are fairly high that it is.
Be wary of any seller looking to offload a bottle that you know has value for less than its market price. They may present it to you as a good deal, but there is a high chance that you are just getting a counterfeit wine that the seller produces themselves and then passes on as something legitimate in order to achieve sales.
The Final Word
Being able to spot the forgeries from the genuine article will often take a little bit of research on the buyer’s part. However, you can mitigate the issue somewhat by always making sure to purchase from a reputable seller, as they will have their own experts in place to determine if the wine they sell is authentic.