It still astounds people how much wine enthusiasts are willing to shell out in the name of good wine. What these people see is not only a piece of beverage, but age old brilliance and art. They appreciate wine in its entirety; its taste, aroma, color and the very careful process of creating it.
On top of these, they also factor in the years and the name. However, like anything of premium quality, vintage wines are also a target for counterfeiters.
Rudy Kurniawan is one of the most infamous names in wine counterfeits. He is just one among many who rip off a lot of wine enthusiasts by conning them into buying what they believe to be fine wine. The good news is that Kurniawan is now behind bars, but his fake wines are still in circulation.
If you have the teeming resources as billionaire and avid wine collector, Bill Koch, you would have the means to sift the fakes among your prized bottles. For Mr. Koch, he takes his 43,000-bottle cellar seriously. When he subjected his wines for testing, he learned that he paid more than 2 million for counterfeit wines. This lead to a series of investigation, which ultimately lead to Kurniawan’s arrest.
Kurniawan is just one of the sleezy businessmen out there who really had the smarts to trick people and was crafty enough to pull it off for so long. They were so good at it that they were even successful at fooling even the most esteemed wine critics. It was just last year when a big time Chinese counterfeit wine ring was busted. This bad business have been producing so many fake wines over the years, but here are the ten commonly fake wines.
Rudy Kurniawan, 35 is accused of using a home laboratory to fake Bordeaux first-growths and Burgundy’s Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, among others.
Counterfeit Wine Labels
1. Chateau Petrus
During the case against Kurniawan, the staff in the estate said that there were no large formats manufactured during the era that this wine was made. They explained that back then the estate did not have the money to produce large labels for only the very few bottles – take note, they only manufacture a handful of their vintage wines back in the day.
2. Domaine de la Romanee Conti
This expensive French bottle is one of the Rudy Kurniawan’s favourite brands to meddle with, even earning the name “Dr. Conti” for this preference. One of the red flags about the counterfeit bottles is some of the printing of the labels, the unusual size of the bottle, which was not characteristic of the era, and the type of glass.
3. Chateau Lafite Rothschild
This particular brand is the most counterfeited wine in China. But it was convicted counterfeiter Khaled Roubah who really used the brand for his gain. A lot of these “vintage bottles” went around for the millenium celebration in 1999. But today, many wine experts are saying that there are still forgers to grow an affinity towards recreating this particular bottle.
4. Chateau Margaux
There are different years of this wine that fell on wine forgers’ radar. But they lost their gain when they failed to do their homework about the real bottling process. First of all, they got the size of the bottle wrong and the paper used for the label is also not consistent with the era and chateau.
5. 1947 Chateau Lafleur
This bottle of Bordeaux was uncovered to be a counterfeit due to the different size of the bottles used. Experts revealed that there are no bottles of this vintage, as well as size that are still available for purchase. This means that the wine was sold in non-standard bottles, which didn’t make sense to the time the wine was created.
6. Chateau Mouton Rothschild
The foils used in wines are one of the most difficult things to manipulate in counterfeiting, but for Kurniawan, this was his cup of tea. He was able to carefully mimic the naturally occuring folds on the foil. As FBI searched through Kurniawan’s home, they found numerous foil wrappers particularly for the Chateau Mouton Rothschild. Other giveaways were the lack of certain details on the logo, the character of the ink and the wrong paper.
This is one of Italy’s highly prized red wines. There are a lot of counterfeits from various years of this particular bottle. A lot of those who bought it became suspicious when sellers were able to provide hundreds of bottles of what is supposedly a very rare wine. Wine connoisseurs were even getting it for half the price.
8. Henri Jayer
This brand is regarded to be among the legends in producing Burgundy wines. With exorbitant prices for the premium drink also resulted in counterfeits. Its rarity aside, Kurniawan offered to sell five bottles to a Danish wine broker.
9. Cheval Blanc
There were two years that were often targeted by forgers, and this are the 1921 and 1947 Cheval Blancs. This is among one of the world’s most expensive wines that hailed from premiere vineyards in France. The jig was up when the forged bottles were confiscated in China by French customs.
10. Latour a Pomerol
The counterfeit bottles for this brand was never made to be a mystery since it was blatanly displaying how fake it is. The bottle and labels were the easy giveaway. And what is also appalling is that the wine forger responsible used melted crayon to conceal the blank cork.