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The Brand Name Chteau Lafite Rothschild at Chinese Officials’ Dinner Table

Lafite is a trademark not registered in Mainland China. Château Lafite Rothschild, a wine estate in France, produces 15,000 to 25,000 cases of wine annually, or about 200,000 bottles. China’s annual quota of Lafite wine imported from France is only 50,000 bottles. However, the annual sale of Lafite in China exceeds 3 million bottles, meaning 80 to 90 percent of Lafite sold in China is fake. In less than 10 years, the price of Lafite has risen 857%.

Over time, Lafite in China has gradually lost its original nature and now serves a social function. It is used to judge someone’s economic situation. To show off their status, people dare not to comment on Lafite. Even if they have bought fake Lafite, they silently accept it, fearing ridicule for not being able to recognize true Lafite. Lafite’s high price and the reputation of the wine of kings satisfies the proclivity of government officials, who, at a party, must drink the best wine. The rising demand has resulted in a higher price for Lafite, which, in turn, makes Lafite more popular among government officials and elite groups. “Lafite,” a symbol of status, has become the “official wine.” The taste and color are no longer important. A businessman observed, “I cannot take the risk of not providing Lafite at the dinner table.” 

Source:, August 15, 2011