Top 50 most powerful women in wine: 50 – 415th December, 2012 by Lucy Shaw
43. MAUREEN DOWNEY
One of the world’s leading experts in fine wine authentication, California-based Maureen Downey runs Chai Consulting, a fine wine collection management firm she founded in 2005.
She is hired by wine collectors across the US to authenticate the contents of their cellars and played a pivotal role in the Rudy Kurniawan case in identifying a number of the wines the Indonesian-born collector was selling as fakes.
She began raising concerns about Kurniawan’s “magic cellar” a decade ago. He is currently on trial in New York for four counts of fraud – and Downey has subsequently been busy doing interviews with Vanity Fair, Fox Business, and CNBC’s Crime Inc. “There’s a lot of dubious wine out there. I don’t sugarcoat it if I find fakes,” she says.