Fake Wines: Do You Really Know What You're Drinking Tonight?


Fake Wines: Do You Really Know What You're Drinking Tonight?

Fakes became part of the wine business shortly after the first bottle was sold. (It was refilled with purple juice no doubt and passed off to unsuspecting customers.) Is there any better product for counterfeiting? Some consumers are so intimidated by wine (especially with august labels) that they don't trust their own palate when it tells them that the stuff is crap.

So perhaps it's no surprise that after discovering the rare wines he bought were fake, American collector Russell Frye sued the German dealer who sold them to him. These wines were supposed to be bottles from Thomas Jefferson's own cellar unearthed in Paris in the 1980s. Motivated by his experience, Frye has launched www.wineauthentication.com, a web site that gives wine collectors, retailers, auctions houses, consultants and distributors information to help avoid buying, selling or unknowingly owning counterfeit wine. It also offers news on the latest anti-counterfeiting technologies and techniques, as well as a forum for discussion of related issues. Apparently, counterfeiting of large format bottles is more common than the standard 750 ml or half bottles. I found Frye's list of the most frequently counterfeited wines interesting:

* Cheval Blanc 1921
* Cheval Blanc 1947
* Lafite 1787 Thomas Jefferson (single bottle format)
* Lafite 1870
* Lafleur 1947
* Lafleur 1950
* Latour a Pomerol 1961
* Margaux 1900
* Petrus 1921
* Petrus 1947

Ever come across a fake? Ever wondered if the wine you were drinking was the real stuff? Do you think that this is just an issue in the rarified world of wine auctions and expensive wines, or could it also have an impact in the more affordable category?


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