The Mystery of Wine Fraud

I read in the Wall Street Journal that a few weeks ago the French police discovered a cache of fake Cotes du Rhone wine so large it would have equaled 15% of the output of the entire appellation over almost two and a half years-had it been real. It was bulk stuff of no particular distinction, and the CEO of the company was charged with fraud. This was just the latest in a long series of such discoveries in recent years, and further proof that counterfeiter’s large cheap wines just as readily as grand crush.

Are you eager to know what a wine drinker can do to protect herself and avoid possibly lining the pockets of counterfeiter’s? First, read my book, Death on the Vine.

But let me give you a case that was discovered regarding Domaine Ponsot.

In a story made famous by the documentary, “Sour Grapes” and the book “In Vino Duplicitas,” the Domaine’s proprietor, Laurent Ponsot, attended a 2008 wine auction in New York where fake bottlers of Ponsot wines were offered for sale. The consignor was Rudy Kurniawan, a high-profile collector from California.

An investigation into Kurniawans’ dealings culminated in a search of his Arcadia, California home, which turned out to be filled with tools of wine fakery: counterfeit labels, blank corks and empty bottles to be filled. Kurniawan went on trial in New York for counterfeiting and was convicted in 2014. He was ordered to pay 28.4 million in property and is now serving a 10-year sentence in federal prison.

  • Cheers, Monsieur Ponsot!

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