Caught last five minutes of CNBC program on Rudy Kurniawan wine fraud

During the half time of the Nebraska-Georgia bowl game, I switched over to CNBC to see if they had any commentary on the stock market futures following the Senate vote in regards to the fiscal cliff. I caught the tail end of a program on the subject heading. I hadn’t realized that Rudy worked with a sommelier who provided him with empty bottles and labels of prestigious wines which were then matched to California wines with similar flavor profiles. The program commented on the opportunities for wine fraud in the Asian market, especially China, where many are new to fine wines and might be more readily deceived by couterfeit bottles. Makes me glad that I’m not going after “trophy” bottles.

Was it the “ripping off the rich” episode?

Video is here CNBC tonight @ 7:00 Central - WINE TALK - WineBerserkers

I saw the show, too. I was previously unaware that there was a market for empty bottles on ebay.

Any thoughts on the ethics of selling empty bottles? The lady on the TV show said that any reputable sommelier should destroy used labels and/or bottles. Is there any legitimate market for empties or is it all about fraud?

It was probably the “ripping off the rich” episode. I didn’t see the introduction and only caught about five minutes at the end but they did also mention clothing that was knockoffs on Louis Vuitton.

This was the episode, but it was really on counterfeit products in general and protection of intellectual property. Wine was a good example. A couple of scenes in the show were noteworthy: a brief shot of the Don Cornwell post at the top of this board, although it wasn’t identified as such, and a shot of Rudy bidding at one of the Hospice du Rhone auctions. Who knows, he was among us. Another good moment was when they popped a Petrus suspected to be fake and it passed muster with the taster, who remarked “that was a $200 pour.”

i know some folks that like to keep display bottles, but lightly cut the labels with a razor blade. This makes re-using the bottle or soaking off the labels (if the bottle were to be stolen) much harder.