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, 27 December 2012

Jim's Loire's awards for 2012

My tasting of the year: three centuries of Bourgueil

We have decided to join the annual end of year doling out of awards:

Investigative story of the year
The part played by Don Cornwell on the Wine Berserkers thread in the exposure and arrest of Rudy Kurniawan in particular the Burgundies due to be auctioned by Spectrum Wine Auctions and Vanquish Wine Ltd of London on 8th February 2012 until the lots were pulled just before the auction.

The full repercussions of RK's arrest and charges of counterfeiting are yet to be known. If he is found guilty, will he sing and implicate any associates? Or was he just a lone operator? 

What full effect will a guilty verdict have on the fine wine market remains to be seen.

Le VifL'Expess and FT: valuation of Nobles Crus wine fund

At the end of September questions were raised by Le Vif L'Express and the Financial Times over the valuation of the Nobles Crus wine investment fund run by Elite Advisers. Despite a number of attempts to rubbish Liv-Ex data, which is used to value at least ten other wine investment funds, questions over the validity of the valuations remain.

Vincent Pousson
For naming the leading investor in the Wine Advocate Robert Parker's apparent sale of his magazine and media interests and his move to semi-retirement. Remaining true to tradition Parker's announcement was released by Hamfisted PR Advisers.

Event of the year
- Digital Wine Communicators of the Year Conference in Izmir

My wine of the year plus tasting of the year

1893 Bourgueil from Lamé Delisle Bouchard and the extraordinary tasting very generously given to Les 5 du Vin in the magic cellars of Lamé Delisle Bouchard.  

Very close second:

Tasting of museum stock of Domaine Huet (Vouvray) back to 1924 with Noël Pinguet in London to mark the purchase by Berry Bros & Rudd of all the stock of old Huet vintages from 1975 to 1919 and 1989.  

France 2 labels 1855 as an 'arnaque' 

Investor of the year:
Jean-Pierre Meyers
who finally decided that the reputation of Internet wine company 1855 was too toxic and withdrew his money.

‘Arnaque’ share of the year:

  – over the past few months its value has oscillated between 0.02€ and 0.03€. Will it fall further in 2013? Does 0.01€ beckon?

Not even a bat's squeak award 
Union des Grands Crus de Bordeaux for having remained dumb and mute despite 1855 continuing to trash its members’ reputation and that of en primeur in general. Will Olivier Bernard, the newly elected president, follow the lead recently set by Philippe Castéja and the Conseil des Grands Crus Classés en 1855?

Solicitor’s letter of the year:
Mischon de Reya sent on behalf of Elite Advisers, custodians of the Nobles Crus Wine Fund (December 17th 2012) – who ‘have general concerns as to the nature and tone of your articles’.

Best cycling commentary
French commentary on Mark Cavendish's brilliant sprint win in Brive.

Looking to the future
Good luck to Natalie MacLean’s new website – The Purloined Review (EAP – att) – to be launched early in the New Year.

Hilarious harassment claim of the year: 
Pancho Campo's claim that I had harassed his family, which was made in an ‘interview' published in The Drinks Business (26th September 2012)

Do you feel you were unfairly victimised in the so-called Campogate affair?

‘What do you think? This started back in 2009, when blogger [Jim] Budd called me regarding the Interpol issue. At first I did not think anything of it, but then he began to demand answers to his questions, or else he would assume that the accusations against me were true. Quite frankly, I did not feel obliged to answer to him. I guess he never forgave me for ignoring him, so then his obsession got out of hand, to the point he has harassed some of my collaborators, my closest relatives and some of their business associates who have nothing to do with wine, quite disturbing because he has done this non stop for more than 3 years.’ 

This is Pancho Campo (sin MW) at his inventive best. If there was indeed harassment of Campo’s closest relatives I unreservedly condemn this. 

Naturally The Drinks Business didn't bother to contact me before publishing this tripe. I have had very little contact with any of Campo’s relatives or business associates. In early September 2009 I spoke very briefly on the phone once to Melissa Butler, Campo’s wife, when trying to contact Campo for a comment on the Interpol red notice story that Adam Lechmere and I would run on (4th September 2012). 

I also emailed James Butler, Campo's father-in-law, in November 2009 regarding the short lived CIE Marbella ­ Centre for International Education of Marbella. Butler was president, which claimed to have affiliations with universities in the United States as well as Middlesex University. CIE did have indeed have affiliations with American Universities arranged by Butler as stated but not with Middlesex, although the University had held some inconclusive discussions with Campo.

Publicity material for the CIE Marbella

Wine courses offered by The Wine Academy including Christie's Wine Course

Campo was also preparing to claim that his Wine Academy could offer Christies Wine Courses. Totally untrue as he had been very firmly told by Irmgard Pickering, managing director of Christie’s Education, that Christie's Education do not outsource their courses and he wasn't going to be an exception.

A call from Pancho Campo to Interpol cleared his name!! 

There were other gems in the 'interview':

Managing to overturn the Interpol Red Notice:
PC: ‘Once we found out about the situation only in 2009, I contacted headquarters in Lyon, sent the papers they requested and my name was removed immediately. It was so clear that I didn't need a lawyer.’ 

These are brazen lies from Pancho Campo (sin MW). He must have been aware he could safely say whatever came into his head completely secure in the knowledge that his faithful scribe, editor of The Drinks Business, would not be doing any fact checking. 

Campo certainly knew by sometime in March 2009 that he was wanted by Interpol as he was stopped and questioned for a number of hours when he passed through Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport. After this Campo couldn't travel to the USA for fear of being arrested, so had to send others to run his Spanish wine educational programme. In late September/early October 2009 Campo nominally stepped down from running Wine FutureRioja ( His name was not finally removed from the Interpol wanted list until the second half of July 2010.

Rather than a simple phone call it is more likely that getting his name off the Interpol list cost Campo a considerable sum in lawyers’ fees.  

In The Drinks Business ‘interview’ Campo also claimed that Harold Heckle and I somehow manipulated the emails. Why Pancho imagines that we would need to alter the highly incriminating email he sent from Tuscany is beyond me.

Previous contenders for this harassment award have included the feisty entrepreneur Stephen Cleeve who claimed through his media lawyers that I was harassing him and breaching his privacy.   

Memories of the Olympics
In this Olympic year it is good to be able look back 20 years to the Barcelona Olympics and to enjoy footage of one of Chile’s great and authentic sporting heroes. Unfortunately it would appear that this video helped to persuade Miguel Torres that he should have nothing to do with the much-vaunted Future Economy Barcelona 2012, disappointingly had to be cancelled ignominiously a few days before it was due to take place. 



J Boyce said...

The Don Cornwell thread is amazing and his post -- #61 -- on this page is jaw droppingly good.

Cheers, Boyce

Jim's Loire said...

Many thanks for this and for the link. Jim