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How to identify counterfeit Various Fine WInes

Various: Fine WInes

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Edited: Apr 15, 2017

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It's a simple scam. Purchase empty old bottles of fine wines, refill them with wine and sell them at a high prices to collectors.

This is the scam that wine counterfeiter Rudy Kurniawan was indicted for by a federal grand jury in New York on four counts, and now faces extradition to the East Coast state.

Kurniawan is described as a wizard at concocting fake wines by mixing and matching younger, less valuable wines that mimicked the taste, color and character of rare and expensive wines.

Investigators found hundreds of rubber stamps for vintage dates, ranging from Chateau Latour 1899 to Screaming Eagle 1992, and empty bottles of fine and rare wines ready to be filled and "recycled."

10 Most Counterfeited Wines

According to online service Wine Authentication, with their disclaimer there is no scientific authentication or accounting, here are the top 10. Most of the wines listed below are found in magnum formats when counterfeit;

Cheval Blanc 1921
Cheval Blanc 1947
Lafite 1787 Thomas Jefferson (single bottle format)
Lafite 1870
Lafleur 1947
Lafleur 1950
Latour a Pomerol 1961
Margaux 1900
Petrus 1921
Petrus 1947

Update: Kurniawan was charged in March 2012 and subsequently convicted of wire fraud for creating and selling counterfeit wines.

Rudy Kurniawan, was sentenced to 10 years in jail and ordered to pay $20m (£11.8m) for his role in selling millions of dollars worth of fake wine.

He has also been ordered to pay $28.4m in restitution to victims, who include billionaire William Koch. He is the first wine counterfeiter ever to be criminally prosecuted in the U.S.


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Warnings / Hazards:

There is no way to tell what is in an unopened bottle of a counterfeit wine.

Recommended Action:

Consult an expert before purchasing collectable and expensive wines.

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