You are currently viewing the International Edition. You can also switch to the Hong Kong Edition.
Friday 3 July 2015

Tearful wine investor Koch admits he was a ‘sucker’

17th June, 2014 by Richard Ross

US Billionaire Bill Koch has appeared on American television to admit he was a ‘sucker for fake wines’ after spending around $5 million on bottles that have now been established as counterfeit.

Koch_ABC_screenshotKoch was interviewed at his Palm Beach mansion in Florida for ABC’s 20/20 news programme and admits he was seriously duped when he bought the wine from counterfeiters. He says in the interview: “You’re damn right: pigeon, sucker, whatever they call the mark.”

In the 12,000 bottle cellar of his Florida home, Koch is filmed showing off some of the fake bottles he bought from convicted fraudster Rudy Kurniawan and others. Koch admits he was obsessive about acquiring some of these supposedly rare bottles. “I just had to have them”, he tells ABC’s Brian Ross. He admits that at first he thought he was buying a piece of history. “Instead”, he says, “I’m buying, I don’t know, moose piss”.

Koch admits he has already spent more than $25 million dollars in his pursuit of alleged counterfeiters, a figure five times higher than the original cost of the bottles, but one he is happy to pay.

“I cannot stand being cheated,” Koch tells ABC. “I want someone to know if they’re selling me a fake, man, I’m coming after them no matter how much it costs.”

Koch testified in the case against Rudy Kurniawan, who was convicted last year of counterfeiting, and Koch’s investigating team also worked closely with the FBI to build evidence against the counterfeiter.

However, Koch remains passionate about the qualities of great wine. Asked whether it’s ever reasonable to pay $100,000 for a single bottle of wine, Koch becomes tearful as he describes how “the art, craftsmanship that goes into it is worth it”.

The ABC 20/20 news report is available to view here.

3 Responses to “Tearful wine investor Koch admits he was a ‘sucker’”

  1. Dear Reader

    Trust me, every bottle of wine that leaves our Estate is worth $100,000 with the blood, sweat and tears that goes into it – but alas, we have to settle for a few noughts less … and it is the real thing.

    Regards,
    a poor winemaker’s wife from Australia

  2. Liam Young says:

    Weeping billionaires. Hmm. Does this mean we should change the expression ‘Champagne problems’ or ‘sour grapes’ to something like ‘his problems are so minute that they’re like fine wine fraud’? Ahh, to be so fortunate.
    As this story evolves, I find myself caring less and less.

  3. Hate reading about forgeries – even if it is a billionaire. The wine we sell is certainly not moose piss – it’s all sourced from smaller limited production wineries – mostly family owned (and though there is blood sweat and tears it wont cost a hundred k !)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

If that's interesting, how about these?

Burgundy headlines at Acker’s June HK auction

Featuring smaller-sized lots and classic vintages of Burgundy and Bordeaux, more...

Rise for Haut Bailly in Liv-ex 2015 classification

Liv-ex’s bi-annual “re-classification” of Bordeaux saw Haut Bailly leap more...

Wine from Napoleon’s carriage to be sold

A bottle of wine apparently found in Napoleon’s carriage after Waterloo – more...

UK Sales Manager

London, United Kingdom

How to drink like a billionaire

With access to tropical islands, private yachts and the best food and drink more...

Bordeaux wine thieves found guilty

A French court has sentenced 15 men over the audacious theft of $1.1 million of more...

Beaujolais pushes for sparkling AOC

Beaujolais is trying to gain AOC status for its sparkling wines which, with it more...

Marketing and eCommerce Manager

London, United Kingdom

Competitive, includes equity options

Wine thieves go on trial

A gang of wine thieves accused of stealing a million euros worth of wine from more...

Wimbledon serves up English wine

Organisers of this year’s Wimbledon have decided to offer tennis fans English more...

Oddbins woos Naked staff with love letters

Oddbins has allegedly been sending love letters and bottles of wine to key more...

PR Senior Account Manager/Director

London, United Kingdom

Depending on experience

Auction house snaps up online wine specialist

Online auction firm Bid for Wine has been sold to The Fine Art Auction Group in more...

Castel feeds aperitif thirst

Europe’s largest wine producer, Castel, has unveiled a raft of new products more...

UK customs seize 550,000 litres of alcohol

More than 550,000 litres of illegal beer, wine and spirits have been seized by more...

E-commerce, Sales & Marketing Executive

London, United Kingdom

Competitive salary and bonus package based on experience and qualification.

Hart Davis Hart biggest in US

Chicago-based wine auctioneer Hart Davis Hart is the market leader in the US in more...

Australia puts quality centre stage

Wine Australia has pledged to invest AUD$35m annually for the next five years more...

Hardys invests £4m in summer of cricket

Hardys has unveiled a new £4 million consumer marketing campaign to tie in more...

Bordeaux 2005: Biggest movers

Expectation surrounding the 2005s is building and pushing up prices for top more...

Louis Latour Agencies signs Gosset

Louis Latour Agencies marked its 25th anniversary last night with the more...

Men down $1k of ‘aphrodisiac’ wine at airport

Two Chinese air passengers downed an entire bottle of aphrodisiac wine after more...

PR Manager

Competitive

Wine cellar carved into cliff on sale for $3m

A nine-storey deep wine cellar carved into a cliff edge has gone on sale in more...

Hong Kong: Red obsession

While whites are starting to be taken seriously in Hong Kong restaurants, the more...