Faux Wine: Up Close and Personal

Here’s a bottle of “wine” that I received as a Tết (Lunar New Year) gift. I ran out of my regular supply so I opened it – with low expectations. One whiff and I knew it was essentially grape juice in a wine bottle with what looked like a fake (read cheap) cork that didn’t match with the bottle. I took a tiny sip, threw up a little in my mouth, and immediately poured it down the drown.

I don’t know who the gift giver was and it really doesn’t matter. I’m sure it was inexpensive, which gives you an idea of the “manufacturer’s” profit margin. Most counterfeit products, e.g., designer bags, are harmless. Either you were ripped off, or you knew it was fake and bought it anyway.

The problem with something you ingest is that it could be harmful to your health such as a coffee substitute that boosts profits but happens to be a carcinogenic chemical. (This is a true story.)

Viet Nam is still very much a buyer beware market for a wide range of goods and services. What this country needs is a strong consumer movement. The police regularly shut down these operations, e.g., fake or recycled condoms (!), but it’s a bit like playing whack-a-mole. Most operate with impunity. These examples and countless more elevate this expression to a new and more distressing level: Success without integrity is failure.

It’s mostly up to you, educated consumers!

Shalom (שלום), MAA

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