Ponsot making progress on fake wines!

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The best part of this is Jancis’s description of Acker Merrall as “one of New York’s most energetic fine wine auctioneers.”

He can come up with $400k pretty easily, he just needs to do a few more runs of Clos de la Roche, a la Las Rocas or Sierra Carche.

Interesting story. No idea who the villain is, but I will say that I couldn’t imagine spending $50 on an older bottle of wine without knowing more about the seller than a phone number. I guess some people are more trusting than I am.

It seems pretty clear that Jancis thinks she knows who the villain is. To repeat Ponsot’s accusation that
someone gave him fake telephone numbers (in a publication in the UK, where libel law makes it easy to sue) is fairly strong stuff.

Cole – I was struck by the same thing. The story hedges a little – it never says the numbers or names were fakes – but the implication is fairly strong.

Its absolutely fascinating. Its been percolating now for some time and will gain traction over time. The suspicious phone numbers was very interesting.

Are you guys implying that RK himself is part of the counterfeiting operation?

That might be the biggest story in the wine world since the Austria/Antifreeze fiasco.

Nathan,
The way I read the article, made me think the same

RK is considered a suspect in this case, clearly. Whether he is guilty, I do not know have any first hand knowledge to that, but I do know that the authorities are involved in the counterfeiting scandals thanks to Bill Koch, and this Ponsot one is a big deal.

Disclosure: Rudy bought a lot of wine from numerous retail operations in the United States, including mine.

I assume that fraud investigators wonder who stood to benefit most; without knowing anything about the case, I would assume that a seller of an allegedly false item who did not buy it through a traditional channel (i.e., a known shop or auction house) would be a top suspect.

Does anyone know about Rudy’s background before he appeared on the wine scene and can anyone verify any information other than anecdotal?

There are people who post here who I am sure have that information but I am sure they wouldn’t feel comfortable airing it on a public forum.

Welcome Jeff, good to see you posting…

Of course not. Who here would know that?

It will be interesting to see where the authorities’ investigation leads.

Thanks for the welcome Daniel. Things are always more interesting when you practice the first ammendment.

Max, I understand many people would feel uncomfortable airing dirty laundry in public. Some of these people might still have dealings or interaction with Rudy. I was just wondering about rudimentary facts, like is Rudy Kurniawan his real name?

Jeff,

From what I have heard, that is not his real name but I don’t know him, never sold him any wine or ever interacted with him on a social level so everything I do know is through other people ITB who know him.

I know that Laurent will continue on this track to find answers…and I support him 100%…this is not a good situation for wine, burgundy, auctions, or collectors.

I hadn’t heard that, but apparently it at least isn’t his family name. From a 2006 LA Times article:
" He won’t disclose the identify of his family or the source of their fortune. His father, he says, gave him an Indonesian surname that is different from the family’s Chinese name to allow him to maintain his autonomy///CHINESE by heritage but born in Jakarta, Indonesia, Kurniawan is the youngest son of a family that, he says, owns businesses in China and Indonesia. His father died six years ago, and his oldest brother is now in charge of the family’s affairs, he says. “My family is very private,” he notes"

Shall we just say it’s surprising that someone who is so careful would spend hundreds of thousands (one would assume) on wines without having more contact info than some spurious phone numbers? I also find it surprising that an auction house wouldn’t have asked for detailed provenance on such expensive bottles. But I guess I’m naive.

I just read an interesting note on the Squires board by John Kapon of a 59 Ponsot Clos St. DenisVV, dated 4-12-08.