National Pinot Noir Day

August 8, 2022

Happy August 18th, also known as National Pinot Noir Day, to all wine lovers of the world. As we all know, a glass of red wine with dinner is a tradition in many households. However, for those nights that merit a little something special we often find ourselves looking to the top shelf for a higher quality bottle. For an expert collector this can mean spending almost $20 thousand for a vintage bottle of Pinot Noir.

Opening a limited-edition wine surely means a celebration is underway; but the celebration can quickly turn sour after realizing the bottle that you purchased is not all it seems to be.

The documentary Sour Grapes is based on this exact topic. The film details the story of Rudy Kurniawan and his case of wine fraud. Between 2004 and 2011 Mr. Kurniawan created an in-house operation to create fraudulent bottles of wine that were said to be legendary French vintage red wines. These wines were actually a blend between old commercial-grade wine from France with fresh American wine made from the same variety of grapes.

Due to Mr. Kurniawan having an exceptional ability to taste the subtle differences in wines, being able to recreate the flavor profile with a mixture of much cheaper wines proved to be nearly effortless. Mr. Kurniawan managed to fool even the most avid of wine collectors.

The case is known for being a rarity in that federal courts are not known to prosecute crimes that may seem “low level” compared to other federal crimes. Yet in the case of Rudy Kurniawan, managing to defraud wine enthusiasts to the tune of over $30 million increased interest significantly.

If you are a wine distributor and happened to have Mr. Kurniawan as an employee, only to find that your product has been stolen and replaced with counterfeit wines, the company reputation could easily take a massive hit. Along with the loss of reputation there is also a loss of product, which is why crime insurance coverage policies were created.

 

Rare Wine Dealer Sentenced in Counterfeiting Scheme. (2014, September 5). Federal Bureau of Investigation. Retrieved August 5, 2022, from https://www.fbi.gov/news/stories/rare-wine-dealer-sentenced-in-counterfeiting-scheme

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