Koch settles out of court

Wine collector Bill Koch has settled one of his long-running wine fraud campaigns out of court.

koch.jpgKoch settled privately with Zachys Wine Auctions after court proceedings that started in 2007. No details of how much money actually changed hands were released, but the New York-based auctioneers promised to change the wording in their catalogues.

Koch was suing Zachys after purchasing 19 bottles of claret between 2004 and 2005 from the auction house to the tune of $370,000. Koch subsequently brought charges against the auction house, alleging that all of the bottles were fakes or possibly fakes.

In an interview with Wine Spectator in 2007, Jeff Zacharia, president of Zachys, claimed that Koch had refused a refund saying he was “trying to single-handedly change the industry through the courts.”

The wording in the back of auction catalogues is another cause Koch is fighting for. He claims that the wording effectively absolves the houses of any wrong-doing if wines they have praised in the main text turn out to be fake or defective in any way.

Koch began building his fine wine collection in the mid 1980s, spending an estimated $12 million in the process.

His case against Zachys is one of a number lawsuits Koch has brought to court as he purses auction houses and merchants for what he claims are fake wines. None, as yet, have ever been decided in court.

Rupert Millar, 27.01.2011

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