Shenzhen tightens fraud controls on imported wine

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Shenzhen’s quarantine authority has launched a system that claims to be able to identify a wine’s origin by examining its chemical make-up, as part of an ongoing effort to reduce the number of counterfeit wines in Mainland China.

Image © Shenzhen Entry-Exit Inspection and Quarantine Bureau

By analysing more than 1,000 wine samples from seven major wine producing countries, the new examination system can identify the geographic origin of imported wines with ‘90% accuracy’ within a minimum of 3 days, said the Shenzhen Entry-exit Inspection and Quarantine Bureau, in Guangdong province.

The technology is based on the analysis of stable isotopes and mineral elements in wine, which ‘differ significantly’ according to geography, climate and altitude, said the quarantine bureau. It said the system was the first of its kind in China.

Although chemical analysis tools are widely used to authenticate food and drink products in many countries worldwide, the new system carries extra significance in China in its battle against fraudulent wines.

Currently, a ‘Shenzhen-Hong Kong international alcoholic beverage examination centre’ is being built in the Qianhai Shekoufree trade area (FTA), which is part of the recently established Guangdong free trade zone (FTZ), according to the local quarantine bureau.

The geographic origin identification system is set to be implemented in the centre so as to ‘further enhance the traceability’ of imported wines bypassing the Shenzhen port. Consumers are expected to be able to view the origin information online in the future, officials said.

Customs figures show that 76m litres of imported wines entered Guangdong province last year, making it the second biggest destination of imported wines in China, behind Shanghai.

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