Police in Wenzhou, Zhejiang Province – China, are in shock after finding 10,000 bottles of Chateau Lafite red wine, in an abandoned house.
The bottles now all belong to the owner of the deserted mansion, a Chinese man identified only as Zou, Business Insider
writes. The house had allegedly stayed empty for nine years, and Zou claims he had no knowledge of the bottles, denying placing them there himself.
The find is massive, as Chateau Lafite imports only 50,000 bottles of Rothschild red to China, any given year. The bottles' total worth is a staggering $16 million (€12 million), making Zou rich beyond his dreams.
Chateau Lafite Rothschild has been dubbed one of the world's most expensive wines, with three 1869 bottles selling for a record £147,020 ($234,879 / €184,305) at an auction in Hong Kong, in 2010.
The wine is produced at the Rothschild family estate in France, in the village of Pauillac, in the Médoc region near Bordeaux. They first began selling the wine in the nineteenth century.
Every bottle costs between £700 ($1,120 / €880) and £1,000 ($1,600 / €1,250), depending on the year, Daily Mail
informs. According to Wikipedia
, 2005 and 2000 cases were marketed at over £10,000.
The owner of the abandoned house is facing scrutiny over the authenticity of the red wine bottles. Law enforcement in China have seized numerous cases of counterfeit wine, and suspect Zou of running an illicit workshop, in which he produces the wine himself.
An investigation is set to determine the location of the production plant, with Zou possibly facing criminal charges, if tests reveal the bottles are fake.
Chateau Lafite Rothschild has already sued six Chinese companies for counterfeiting their wine, in the last years, and won 6 of the suits so far, amassing settlements of £80,000 ($127,000 / €100,300).