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Court forces Adelaide Penfolds copycat into liquidation

Business

A Norwood-based wine company that used near-identical labelling to Penfolds on more than 1 million bottles of wine exported to China and failed to pay damages, has been forced into liquidation.

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Australia Rush Rich Winery was forced into liquidation by an order of the Victorian Supreme Court this week, according to an insolvency notice published by corporate regulator ASIC.

Earlier this year, the Federal Court found that Rush Rich had used “substantially identical” or “deceptively similar” Penfolds labelling on 1,098,990 bottles of wine – valued at over $3 million – which it exported to China.

The labels feature branding that is very similar to the word “Penfolds” in Mandarin and Cantonese, the judgment says.

The Norwood company, or one of its affiliates, had also arranged for a brochure to be published featuring the Rush Rich logo with words “the most well-known and largest vineyard in Australia”, and established a website juxtaposing the Rush Rich logo with a photograph of Penfolds winery Magill Estate.

In May, the Federal Court ordered Rush Rich to pay Penfolds owner Treasury Wine Estates all of the profits it earned selling the copycat wine: more than $350,000 in damages.

But Rush Rich failed to pay, and TWE has been pursuing the company through a subsidiary since then.

The Victorian Supreme Court ordered Australia Rush Rich Winery into liquidation on Wednesday.

Liquidator Dominic Cantone of Worrells Solvency and Forensic Accountants told InDaily he was in the early stages of investigating the company.

The director of Rush Rich is Stonyfell man Vincent Zhao.

He is registered as a shareholder in the company, along with two other shareholders,  Xianming Zeng and Hui Li, who all live at the same residence.

It’s been a good week for TWE, with the company yesterday posting a $419.5 million full-year net profit – up 16 per cent from last year.

It also announced it would spend up to $215 million upgrading infrastructure at its Binyara Wolf Blass winery, northeast of Adelaide.

InDaily contacted Kain Lawyers, which represented Rush Rich in the Federal Court case, but a representative told us Rush Rich is no longer a client.

We also contacted TWE but have yet to receive a response.

InDaily requested a copy of the orders from the Victorian Supreme Court but the registry has yet to provide the document.

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