Awards and citations:

1997: Le Prix du Champagne Lanson Noble Cuvée Award for investigations into Champagne for the Millennium investment scams

2001: Le Prix Champagne Lanson Ivory Award for

2011: Vindic d'Or MMXI – 'Meilleur blog anti-1855'

2011: Robert M. Parker, Jnr: ‘This blogger...’:

2012: Born Digital Wine Awards: No Pay No Jay – best investigative wine story

2012: International Wine Challenge – Personality of the Year Award

Monday, 19 December 2011

WineFuture HK: CavesMaître – 'one of the most important importer-distributor of wines in China'

Robert Parker@The Magical 20 and CavesMaître, FRANCE

Daniel Li (CavesMaître FRANCE), Robert Parker and Pancho Campo MW
 Pancho Campo MW with group on stage with CavesMaître logo in pride of place  

Last Thursday I posted a story – 'WineFuture HK: major sponsor – CavesMaître – 'a stolen tradename'. CavesMaître, FRANCE was one of the major sponsors of WineFutureHK. This year the company took legal action against Groupe Castel for using the tradename 'Castel', which CavesMaîte (or the company under a previous name) had registered a number of years before in China.

Robert Parker sat underneath a logo CavesMaître FRANCE during his magical 20 tasting, the highlight of WineFutureHK. Daniel Li, boss of CavesMaître, sat on Parker's right on top table with Pancho Campo MW on his left (see top photo).

This morning I received the following comment from Ezequiel Franco, who works for CavesMaître. Franco claims that I'm entirely mistaken. However, it would appear that he may have confused two sets of Chinese symbols.       

'Ezequiel Franco said...
Dear Jim Loire. My name is Ezequiel Franco I am from Spain and I am 27 years old. I am the foreigner working in CAVESMAITRE with Daniel Li in Shanghai in China. I am so upset with what I just read in your blog cause it is so far away from the reality and you are trying to hurt us. I strongly believe that when somebody talk about other people to an audiencie must be sure what he is saying, because can go against law, everybody must be responsible of his acts and words. I am not going to start a fight in this blog I am only going to writte this comment. I invite to you to contact us (contact me unless you can speak chinese) and It will be a pleasure to inform you and give you all the answers to you, to put down all what you wrote. Our company is in latin words CAVESMAITRE and in Chinese is 卡斯特, we are not "stoling" (like you said) any brand. So please not defame more our brand and our team. Our company is one of the most important importer-distributor of wines in China and my boss DANIEL LI, has an excellent HONOR and REPUTATION in China and rest of world.'


I posted two follow up comments: 

'Thank you for your comment. I will certainly send you an email with some questions. I'm intrigued that the company is called CavesMaître, France. Is it registered in France or are their offices in France?'



You would appear to be misinformed:

'Our company is in latin words CAVESMAITRE and in Chinese is
Although my Chinese is strictly zero, CavesMaître appears to translates as 酒窖大, which to my untutored eye looks rather different from the above (卡斯特) which does translate as Castel.


I have accepted Ezequiel Franco's kind invitation to contact him and ask questions. I look forward to his replies. In the meantime I would be very grateful for any further information about CavesMaître and Daniel Li. Although CavesMaître is apparently 'one of the most important importer-distributor of wines in China', I can find curiously little about neither the company nor Daniel Li on the internet.  

 Daniel Li and Robert Parker – hope the great man isn't signing away the rights to his name in China!

Time for a caption contest perhaps?


Rober Parker Grand Tasting (above and below) from Madwine

I see Campo continues to insist on calling the great man – Rober Parker. Revenge, perhaps, for Robert calling him Poncho?*   

  Photo credits: WineFuture Hong Kong

*20.12.11. The t has now been added to Rober on Madwine TV. 


Anonymous said...

"I'm sorry Mr. Parker but you cannot sign your autograph as "Robert Parker" because Mr. Li has trademarked it here in China. Please choose another one. "Jay Miller" is still available for use."

Jim's Loire said...

Anon. Excellent first entry for the caption contest. Keep them comin' please!

Hervé Lalau said...

Li Cooper and Rober Parket - let me bring you songs from the wood (thank you Jethro Tull).

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

try looking for Panati wine company, it seems that this was the name of Daniel's company until quite recently. I wonder if Ezequiel is aware of the court case with Castel earlier this year??
Caves Maitre won the case and the right to use “卡斯特”
which are the 3 characters used for Castel in Chinese.

Jim's Loire said...

Many thanks anon. Yes I was aware of the court case and am intrigued that Franco claimed that the three Chinese symbols meant CavesMaître when as you say they mean Castel.

Yes does Franco know of the court case and equally did Campo know before the start of WineFutureHK?

Thomas Jullien said...

Mr Li has a habit of registering famous trademarks. He's a wine importer and distributor that is fact. Is he involved in the automotive industry ? Maybe but it is still very surprising to find out that he has registered the 'Fiat' trademark in China. Some companies / individuals make a living out of the first come, first served rule for trademark registration. Chinese law does not take into account reputation outside of China for the moment, it makes it more difficult to littigate to get your trademark back. Negotiation is a preferred option to get it back but it can fail. Cf. Castel case.

Hervé LALAU said...

This is all very well, Rr LI can even be clean according to Chinese laws, but the question is why Mr Campo did not bother to check, why Mr Parker did not bother to check, how is it possible that such VIP's don't notice a Caves Maître FRANCE logo,indicating some kind of new French winery no one has ever heard of, and which in the end is only a Chinese trademark/Company?
My mind boggles at seing people who are set as examples of integrity let themselves be associated with dubious brands - and even if Mr Li's is on the right side of the Chinese law, I repeat. Is it carelessness? Is it ignorance?

Jim's Loire said...

Hervé. I agree it does seem odd that none of the assembled journalists and VIPs thought to look into the background of one of the event's chief sponsors, especially with CavesMaître FRANCE right in front of their noses.

Jim's Loire said...

Thomas. Thanks for your comment and for the information about Fiat. I wonder how many registered trademarks Daniel Li or Li Daozhi (the same person I think but a different translation) has?

Unfortunately I have yet to receive a reply from Franco.

Jim's Loire said...

Thomas. Are you sure Daniel Li has registered Fiat as the Chinese database shows the Fiat brand registered to the Italian car company. Do you have a url for this please? Many thanks.

Jim's Loire said...

Comment from Mario Scheuermann on Google +

"... one of the most important importer-distributor of wines in China"? I I don't believe it.
The Top Importers and Distributors in China are:

ASC Fine Wines
Frenc h Wine Paradox
Mercuri s
H&L Fine Wines.

as you can see on this site
http://www.zhong -china/
http://www.zh /09/29/focus-on-the- wine-distribution-in -china/
Daniel Li and CavesMaître are not listed there.

Anonymous said...

Maybe Mr. Li went to business school in the Dominican Republic and met Pancho at the student union?

Thomas Jullien said...

Jim, have you tried Fiat Chinese name (I am told it is 菲亚特) ? He's also registered or tried to register Penfold's and Rioja. It shows on the SAIC database but the links to it do not work, you have to perform a search on their website. Mr Li is a serial registerer and in Castel case he hit the jackpot as he's now using the brand in China. This is legal piracy if you will and very shocking that he could get an apparent industry endorsement through the Winefuture sponporing.

Jim's Loire said...

Thomas. Thanks. I will try it. What also interests me is what Pancho Campo MW knew about CavesMaître France?

Anonymous said...

My guess would be absolutely nothing except that they had enough money to pay for the sponsorship. Not sure that research is Pancho's strongest suit. Trying to make money clearly is.

Jim's Loire said...

It's a fair guess anon.

Anonymous said...

Some people don't care where the money comes from or what they have to do to get it. There's a name for them and it isn't a nice one.

Timo Raikonen said...

what's the problem if a business man do money? that you spend many years and still don't know how to do?

Anonymous said...

The problem here is not business but ethics and the people on stage under these logos etc. Congratulations to Pancho if this was all just good business however Parker and Jancis both set themselves high moral and ethical standards in their field. They should both feel very uncomfortable about their "endorsement" of a brand that would not live up to their lofty standards. No laws broken, good business done and a few probably people got richer. One of the goals of Winefuture is surely to provide leadership in the World of wine- that is the major failure here.

Jim's Loire said...

Jancis Robinson has told me she knew nothing about CavesMaîtres France until right at the end of the event. I imagine Robert Parker was equally in the dark.

CavesMaître had negociated exclusivity for the Grand tastings, for the panel sessions their logo was one of a number, so much less apparent.

Anonymous said...

Is there any update from Mr Ezequiel Franco explanation? Is the case still pending in court?

After watching this video from Mr Ezequiel, well, I am speechless:

(dear Jim Loire, be free to remove the part about the video if you think it could be "spam". I just wanted to show how good "professional" is this Spanish guy)

Jim's Loire said...

Aon. Have never received any response to my questions from Ezequiel Franco. I have to say that this is not a great surprise!