crime in the wine world

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Blogs  :  Mixed Case: Opinion and Advice

Rudy Kurniawan Could Be the Tip of a Fake Wine Crisis

Are counterfeits a victimless crime? Not when they rob us of the pleasure wine can deliver

Posted: December 18, 2013  By Mitch Frank

I love hearing people's "aha!" moments with wine—that instant when they realized that wine is more than just a beverage, that great wine has personality.

Here's a good one: A young man takes his visiting father out for dinner to celebrate dad's birthday. Neither knows much about wine, but the son decides this is a special occasion so he orders the most expensive bottle on the list. The wine—a 1996 Opus One—opens the young man's eyes. Within a few months, he's buying several bottles of Opus One, then other top wines. (Luckily, he has a decent amount of money.) Soon, he's hooked. Wine becomes his passion, and he's attending tastings and collecting rare bottles. Burgundy in particular beguiles him.

Like much of what we know about Rudy Kurniawan, it's hard to tell how much of this story is true and how much he concocted. Kurniawan told this tale to a journalist in 2006, just after an auction of his wines raised $24.7 million, a record for a single-consignor auction. Since he began attending auctions and tastings a decade ago, Kurniawan had always been vague about his origins and his seemingly deep pockets.

Collecting  :  Collecting News

Accused Wine Counterfeiter Rudy Kurniawan Guilty in Landmark Case

First federal prosecution for selling fake wine yields a conviction; Indonesian collector faces possible sentence of 40 years

Posted: December 18, 2013  By Peter Hellman, Mitch Frank

Collecting  :  Collecting News

Jurors Could Decide Alleged Wine Counterfeiter’s Fate Soon

Prosecutors are ready to rest their case against Rudy Kurniawan, and the defense may not call any witnesses

Posted: December 16, 2013  By Peter Hellman

Collecting  :  Collecting News

Burgundy All-Stars Testify Against Accused Wine Counterfeiter

Rudy Kurniawan watches as proprietors of Romanée-Conti, Roumier and Ponsot say wines he sold are fakes

Posted: December 13, 2013  By Peter Hellman

News & Features  :  Unfiltered

Sotheby's Auctions Sunken Gruaud-Larose Treasure

Plus, a French wine fraudster eludes real payment for real wine with fake death, and an armchair to pair with Montalcino

Posted: December 12, 2013  

Collecting  :  Collecting News

Prosecutors Reveal Evidence Against Accused Wine Counterfeiter

Hundreds of corks, capsules and labels of iconic wines the FBI says it confiscated from Rudy Kurniawan's home

Posted: December 11, 2013  By Peter Hellman

Collecting  :  Collecting News

Accused Wine Counterfeiter Rudy Kurniawan Goes on Trial

Prosecutors accuse “Dr. Conti” of making and selling millions of dollars worth of fakes; defense calls him a scapegoat

Posted: December 8, 2013  By Peter Hellman

News & Features  :  Unfiltered

Fetzer vs. Fetzer: Battle Over Eagle Peak

Plus, a Canadian ice wine maker suffers the perils of publicity, and a Burgundy vigneron is fighting the government to keep his biodynamic vineyard pesticide free

Posted: December 5, 2013  

News & Features  :  Unfiltered

Mouton Unveils Its 2011 Artist Label

Plus, a Canadian luxury goods company presents an $85,000 wine cradle, and Bolivian authorities seize a shipment of liquid cocaine-filled wine bottles

Posted: November 21, 2013  

Blogs  :  Mixed Case: Opinion and Advice

Who Are They Fooling? (A Lot of Folks)

As much as 20 percent of wine on the global market may be fake. Awareness is on the rise, but will the counterfeiting continue?

Posted: November 21, 2013  By Robert Taylor

This past August, the New York State Liquor Authority (SLA) quietly issued a cease-and-desist letter to New Jersey's Wine Library, one of the largest retailers in the Garden State and a popular wine source for many New Yorkers.

The SLA ordered Wine Library to stop shipping wine to New Yorkers, a practice that is technically illegal but that has been happening for years without complaint or repercussion. Cease-and-desist letter or not, the ban is practically unenforceable-the SLA simply doesn't have the manpower to adequately monitor interstate sales.

Because of the letter, Wine Library and a few other out-of-state retailers indicated they would stop selling wine to New Yorkers. New York retailers worried that they would start receiving similar letters from alcohol authorities in other states, as a form of retaliation. Since then, however, there's been nothing but silence from the authorities, and Wine Library has continued shipping wine to New York.

Nov. 15, 2013 Issue  :  News

French Wineries Targeted for Money Laundering

Posted: November 15, 2013  By Suzanne Mustacich

News & Features  :  Unfiltered

A Tale of Two Downton Abbey Wines

Plus, PaperBoy delivers wine in … paper, a Hungarian vintner may face charges for poisoning his wine, and Gallo gives $100,000 to Typhoon Haiyan relief

Posted: November 14, 2013  

Collecting  :  Collecting News

Will Accused Wine Counterfeiter Rudy Kurniawan Plead Insanity?

With trial a month away, defense attorneys ask for psychiatric examination; Prosecution protests

Posted: November 8, 2013  By Peter Hellman

News & Features  :  Unfiltered

Bordeaux Halloween Tricks: Poisoned Vines and Stolen Grapes

Plus, wine counterfeiters adopt a new strategy, the Smithsonian recognizes Stag's Leap and Montelena, the wine industry steps up for Breast Cancer Awareness and more

Posted: October 31, 2013  

Oct. 31, 2013 Issue  :  News

In Brief: $7.9 Million Bill in Fraud Case

Posted: October 31, 2013  By Peter Hellman

News & Features  :  News

Police Uncover Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Counterfeiting Ring

Burgundy winery tipped off authorities; two men arrested and investigation is ongoing

Posted: October 30, 2013  By Suzanne Mustacich

News & Features  :  Unfiltered

The State Department's New Custom Stemware

Plus, three Finger Lakes winemakers invade Europe, and 1 in 4 Londoners are knowingly drinking fake booze

Posted: October 10, 2013  

Aug. 31, 2013 Issue  :  News

Christie’s Pulls Burgundy From Auction

Posted: August 31, 2013  By Peter Hellman

News & Features  :  Unfiltered

Cognac Honors Carmelo's Cause

Plus, a $467,000 wine heist in the U.K., a new study examines why we like celebrity wines, a Goldschläger-inspired sparkling wine and more

Posted: August 22, 2013  

News & Features  :  News

Are French Wineries Being Used for Money Laundering?

Watchdogs warn that a few Chinese and Russian investors are hiding bad cash in vineyard sales

Posted: August 19, 2013  By Suzanne Mustacich

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