Don Cornwell, an attorney and wine collector, posted an admonition earlier this year not to bid on wines he considered fake wines form Rudy Kurniawan. That spawned an enormous and on-going comment thread over on wineberskers about wine counterfeiting. The thread has heated up in the last week or so Don is back with some new details.
A key part of Kurniawan’s undoing may have been bidding on a ’47 Ponsot Clos St. Denis that he thought was from Domaine Ponsot but was actually from the unrelated Christine Ponsot. Cornwell posts the actual listing in the 2004 Acker, Merrall Catalogue, showing it simply as “Ponsot,” adding, “it makes you wonder if [auctioneer] John Kapon ever really looked at the bottle in question.” Cornwell points out that Kurniawan engaged in a bidding war with another collector, who also may have thought it was a Domaine Ponsot bottling.
Then Cornwell publishes excerpts from sealed depositions, now public, from Bill Koch’s suit against Eric Greenberg. It’s confusing but Greenberg got into wine in a big way, quickly amassing a wine collection of over 60,000 bottles. And then just a few years later, for “health-related reasons,” he whittled the cellar down to a mere 20,000 – 30,000 bottles. In his acquisition spree, he apparently picked up some dodgy bottles from Hardy Rodenstock (see extensive backgrounder). And Koch bought some of those at auction, which was the basis for his suing Greenberg (Koch had previously won a default judgment against Rodenstock; the suit against Greenberg is still pending).
A couple of remarks stand out from the sealed court proceedings: one witness testified that “[Greenberg] said if he had counterfeit wine, he could always sell it through Acker Merrall because John Kapon would take anything.” Also, there was a death threat!
There, now you have your dose of wine counterfeiting news for the week. And more fodder for your screenplay.