Awards and citations:

1997: Le Prix du Champagne Lanson Noble Cuvée Award for investigations into Champagne for the Millennium investment scams

2001: Le Prix Champagne Lanson Ivory Award for

2011: Vindic d'Or MMXI – 'Meilleur blog anti-1855'

2011: Robert M. Parker, Jnr: ‘This blogger...’:

2012: Born Digital Wine Awards: No Pay No Jay – best investigative wine story

2012: International Wine Challenge – Personality of the Year Award

Thursday, 4 May 2017

Maureen Downey's Wine Fraud Presentation: May 3rd - 5th 2017

 Maureen Downey surrounded by the evidence 

 Maureen Downey (Chai Consulting)

I have been privileged to spent part of today and yesterday with Maureen Downey at her latest fraud presentation held in the St James's at 67 Pall Mall, London SW1.

Maureen has provided both an overview both of fraud within the wine industry and shared her remarkable and precise expertise in distinguishing between counterfeit and genuine wines. 

Joining her in the presentation were Siobhan Turner, also part of Chai Consulting, Steen Öhman (Winehog blog on Burgundy) and I also contributed on wine investment fraud and will be back tomorrow morning.

 Siobhan Turner (Chai Consulting)

Steen Öhman
(Owner and author of the high respected Winehog)

Maureen believes that in the fine wine market – currently worth around $15 billion – that 20% or $3 billion are fake/ counterfeit wines. Furthermore the majority of the wines that the infamous Rudy Kurniawan faked are still in circulation. Maureen makes it clear that Rudy was part of a circle with a number knowing what the deal was and it seems reasonable to conclude that Rudy will be rewarded when he comes out of jail for keeping his mouth shut. 

I have to conclude that if I bought wine from auction, which I don't, I wouldn't consider buying from John Kapon's Acker Merrall house.
The volume of fakes that still turns up in auction is frightening. 

Maureen went through a long and methodical checklist of how to assess whether a wine is genuine or not. This involves not just looking at corks, the glass, the label, capsule, etc. but also knowing the appellation laws, the dates of requirements to include warnings for pregnant women, when printing techniques started and a host of other consideration.         

Assessing the label using 
one of the tools of the trade

1900 Margaux:

'1900 Château Latour'

 Nobles Crus Wine Fund: 404 bottles of 1900 Château Margaux
Inventory August 2012

Nobles Crus Wine Fund: 6 bottles of 1900 Château Margaux
Inventory August 2012 

During her presentation Maureen mentioned false 1900 Château Margaux supposedly from Bartin & Guestier. This brought back memories of the Nobles Crus wine portfolio that in August 2012 included 410 bottles of 1900 Château Margaux. Nobles Crus insisted that they bought their stock from reputable suppliers and that their stock was genuine. 

I trust they are right, even though 410 bottles of 1900 does appear to be an extraordinary quantity of this old wine. Should, however, any of these prove to be fake, I have to wonder what has happened to them now that the wine fund has been liquidation....?  

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