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Biggest wine hoax in history reveals trade secrets

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  • The genie is out of the bottle for the rare wine industry. The Koch-Greenburg case and Rudy Kurniawan's trial of the century are setting up to reveal the moldy secrets of the fine wine trade.

His rare wines finally did him in when Burgundy winemaker Laurent Ponsont caught on to the hoax. Kurniawan was arrested in 2012 and charged with fraud. He faces up to 100 years in prison. Few believe that Kurniawan acted alone, and most believe that he knows where a lot fine wine bodies are buried.

Regardless of the legal outcome, the genie is out of the bottle for the rare wine industry and the blame must be shared. As stated in New York Magazine, "Most wealthy collectors want to spend big and drink famous labels, not necessarily ask questions or hear the answers. Guests at tastings don't want to bite the hand that quenches them. Auctioneers may not want to risk losing consignments by nitpicking ambiguous bottles. Winemakers don't like to talk about counterfeiting, for fear of taint."

One thing is for certain: There are more Rudy Kurniawans lurking in the rare wine world — waiting for the dust to settle and patiently building a stock of refilled bottles.

Twitter: @CBennett71

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Discuss this Blog Entry 1

Joyce Homenko (not verified)
on Apr 3, 2013

Your information came by way of LinkedIn and my friend the ethical wine guy, Mark DeVincenzi.

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