Nearly 10,000 bottles of what Chinese police believe to be faux Chateau Lafite Rothschild red wine has been found in an abandoned house in Wenzhou, Zhejiang Province.
If the wine is real, it could be worth about $16 million.
But the discovery may be just the latest trove of fake Chateau Lafite seized that was intended for the growing and increasingly affluent Chinese market. Officials estimate that about 70 percent of the wine sold in China under the name is fake.
Only 50,000 bottles of genuine Chateau Lafite Rothschild is imported into China each year. Yet as one of the world's most expensive wines, with old vintages breaking records at auctions, the incentive to pass off swill as the real thing is obvious.
The French winemaker, which has been in the Rothschild family since the 19th century, has gone to court to stop a rash of counterfeits. It has won at least six lawsuits against Chinese companies that have tried to cash in on its cache.
It isn't known who produced the wine found in a large house in Wenzhou. The Shanghai Daily reported that the house, which had been vacant for nine years, was guarded by five dogs, including two Tibetan mastiffs. Chinese police tracked down a man who was seen by neighbors caring for the dogs for the last three years but he said he didn't have a phone number for his employer.
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