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Monday, March 4, 2024

How to spot fake wine – Wine Dealer

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A wine trader has suggested how Nigerian consumers can spot fake drinks in the market.

Nestor Udoh, who runs a wine shop in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, told PREMIUM TIMES in an interview on Friday in Uyo that the barcode on each drink provides a unique way of knowing whether a drink is original or fake.

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“You see this barcode,” Udoh said as he pointed to a barcode on a bottle of wine he picked up near his table in the wine store.

“If you scan this barcode with a barcode scanner, you will get information such as the name of the company that produced the drink, the entire process, and other relevant information about the drink. But if you scan a fake one, it won’t show anything.

A barcode, according to the Oxford Dictionary, is “a machine-readable code in the form of numbers and a pattern of parallel lines of different widths, printed on a product and used especially for stock control.”

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Udoh said most Nigerian consumers are not aware of the importance of barcodes on products.

In addition to scanning the barcode, Udoh said his store carries out two other steps to check whether a wine is original or not.

“I still call NAFDAC to come and check the drinks. You know NAFDAC has a way of testing to know if a product is fake or not.

“Of course, when I started, I saw some fake ones, possibly someone sneaked them into the (shipment) when they were loading them (at the supply point).

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“To the people who supply us, I sent a message a long time ago: if I detect any fake drinks in your shipment, I will not buy from you again. So when they package our products, they make sure that no fake products come in.

“I also invite people to taste wines if a company is launching a new product and we want to have it in our store. You see, when you look for a fake wine, you are looking for all its ramifications. Even the taste of a wine can tell you if it is fake or not,” he stated.

Mr Udoh is a retired doctor. He is also a retired Permanent Secretary of the Akwa Ibom Civil Service and author of a non-fiction book, Civil War Child.

Why I ventured into the wine business

PREMIUM TIMES asked him what prompted him to get into the wine business.

“Many people think that I only sell wine to make money. No, it is not true,” Udoh said.

“One day I visited my friend at the University of Uyo Teaching Hospital and found that the number of people seeking kidney dialysis was high. So I asked him why the number wasn’t that much when we were much younger and what exactly was going on. He told me that he had to do with the fake things on the market, fake food and fake drinks that damage people’s kidneys.

“I am a public health consultant.

“So I said, let me do something that can give people an alternative to counterfeiting, which could be another way to practice preventative medicine. It is not good to drink alcohol, but it is worse when you go and drink fake alcohol.

“Those who make fake drinks usually use methanol, which is used to produce methylated alcohol, of which they write on the body that it is only for external use. They opt for methanol because it is cheaper than the ethanol used to produce beverages. Methanol is very toxic, it damages the kidney.

“I raised awareness on the radio about why people should be careful about what they drink before venturing out to open a wine shop,” he said.

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