The big fake fall out

28th August, 2014 by Tom Bruce Gardyne

As Rudy Kurniawan, fine wine’s answer to Bernie Madoff, begins his prison sentence in New York, the trade is coming to terms with the fall-out.

“The problem is, I think it’s going to have a knock-on effect on anything rare,” Simon Staples, Berry Bros & Rudd’s sales director for Asia, told the drinks business.

“If you say you’ve got a case of 2000 or older, rare Burgundy, is anyone going to believe you? I don’t know, but it’s going to affect the market.”

Wine detective and founder of Chai Consulting, Maureen Downey, estimates Kurniawan sold around US$100 million worth of wine between 2002 and 2013.

Convinced there’s a “ton” of fraudulent wine in Asia, she told Jancis Robinson (FT 5 July) “she’d be more than happy to help them because they’ve been victimised by this crime more than anyone else on this planet.”

Yet despite the scale of the fraud, Staples has been surprised by the response. “Isn’t it very odd how the wine trade has remained remarkably quiet during the whole Rudy thing? Normally people would be out taking the mickey – wouldn’t they?”

Meanwhile, Burgundian winemaker Laurent Ponsot, who helped to bring Rudy Kurniawan to trial, believes 10 years in prison is “not enough” for the convicted wine fraudster.

“Twenty years would have been more satisfactory considering how he has sullied the image and integrity of Burgundy, Bordeaux and beyond,” Ponsot told The Telegraph.

2 Responses to “The big fake fall out”

  1. Maureen is absolutely right. Rudy was just the tip of the iceberg. My sense is that there’s no public outcry from the collectors because they know they too have been duped and are sitting on fakes.

  2. Simon Staples comment about the deafening silence from Asia is not surprising as loss-of-face is a key consideration here. Collectors will be quietly authenticating and disassociating soon.

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