Update 16.12.2013(15.12.2013)billn


It takes bad news to get wine on the front pages (okay, near the front pages!) of many periodicals – but here is such a case. In this selection of reports you will note that many of those periodicals are important US news-gatherers-disseminators – but then the trial is in New York and has the odd NY billionaire testifying! It makes a great angle for newspapers that a billionaire can be defrauded by a young, foreigner, illegally living in the US.

Actually, far from bad news, I think this is great news. Forgers have had an easy a life in wine circles. It really should be time for some payback! Anyone can get away with forging Bordeaux it seems, but eventually it is Burgundy that trips people up. Hopefully Kurniawan will eventually sing like a canary, because most of the producers involved don’t believe he had the knowledge to work alone…

Whilst its 160 pages (plus…) length, its breadth and its meanderings now make it largely un-navigable, you should know that the mother-thread for all that is Kurniawan, is housed here on WineBerserkers. Doubtless, you can add half a dozen other reports to those bulleted above, but Don Cornwell’s occasional (and quite full) reports from the trial, are to be found (towards the end) of the linked WineBerserkers thread – like this – they are not to be missed.

Agree? Disagree? Anything you'd like to add?

There are 4 responses to “kurniawan-a-go-go…”

  1. Don Cornwell16th December 2013 at 9:35 pmPermalinkReply


    The following links should help with the navigation on the Berserker’s thread coverage on UNITED STATES v KURNIAWAN —

    Day 1, Monday, December 9:: Partial transcript of Opening Arguments somehow obtained by Decanter (illegally said Judge Berman the following day): http://www.decanter.com/specials/584620/replay-rudy-kurniawan-trial-replay-yesterday-in-the-courtroom

    Day 2, Tuesday, December 10: Government witnesses Barbara Chu (Fine
    Art Capital), Truly Hardy (auction house Acker Merrall & Condit), and James Wynne (FBI). Summary of testimony by Don Cornwell: http://www.wineberserkers.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=1323253#p1323253

    Day 3, Wednesday, December 11: Government witnesses James Wynne (FBI) and Trenton Schmatz (FBI). Summary of testimony by Don Cornwell: http://www.wineberserkers.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=1324108#p1324108
    And a later update/supplement: http://www.wineberserkers.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=1324864#p1324864

    Day 4, Thursday, December 12: Government witnesses Trenton Schmatz (FBI), Laurent Ponsot (Domaine Ponsot), Christophe Roumier (Domaine Georges Roumier) and Aubert de Villaine (Domaine Romanée Conti), Susan Twellman (assistant and business associate of wine collector/restaurateur David Doyle) and Brian Kalliel (sommelier at Melisse Restaurant in Los Angeles.) Summary of testimony (Part I) by Don Cornwell: http://www.wineberserkers.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=1326040#p1326040
    Part II: http://www.wineberserkers.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=1326510#p1326510

    Day 5, Friday, December 13: Government witnesses William “Bill” Koch (Chairman of Oxbow Industries and wine collector), David Parker (owner of Benchmark Wines, Brentwood Wine Auctions, and Wine Market Journal), Antonio Castanos (a wine broker/wholesaler and owner of a small chain of LA area restaurants called Guido’s) and Douglas Barzelay (retired NY corporate attorney and part time wine broker living in South Hampton New York.) Summary of testimony (Part I) by Don Cornwell:
    Part II: http://www.wineberserkers.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=1327193#p1327193

    • billn18th December 2013 at 11:18 pmPermalinkReply

      Beyond the call of duty Don – many thanks!

  2. Mark Bernstein19th December 2013 at 7:07 pmPermalinkReply

    Well now Rudy has been rightly convicted of fraud and hand wringers everywhere decry the terrible damage he did to the wine industry. But those who were scammed and those bemoaning the horror of this man’s conduct have little or nothing to do with the vast majority of us who love to drink wine and especially Burgundy. Instead it reminds me of a very old story about a who sells a truck load of sardines for $.10 a can, whereupon the sardines are re-sold & re-sold until they are $5.00 a can and the buyer decides to eats some only to find out they suck, so he complains only to be told that those sardines are for buying and selling, not for eating. Those whose interest in Burgundy is posing in a selfie with their trophy bottle deserve a phony bottle. After all it’s a match for them.

  3. claude.kolm@gmail.com19th December 2013 at 9:03 pmPermalinkReply

    I have to disagree with you, Mark. Rudy dramatically raised the prices for wines from a number of top domaines and top appellations. At the domaine level, the price increases, although less so than for the top wines from those domaines, filtered all the way down to the village level wines (there’s a magnum of 2010 Roumier Chambolle-Musigny sitting on the shelf of a local retailer for $350 — such a deal!); these increases (as in the case of the Roumier magnum) often are not cellar-door increases, but rather secondary market increases.

  4. Rick Dalia20th December 2013 at 12:01 amPermalinkReply

    Mark, I’ll disagree with you on another point as well. I’m not wealthy, though can lead a comfortable life drinking the mid-level Burgundies that I love and collect. Say, though, that just once I’d like to take my Christmas bonus and splurge on an old DRC at auction. Well these days with the volume of counterfeit wines on the market, I’m not willing to take that risk. I’m not interested in hoisting a trophy. I’m a wine drinker and this affair has affected me too.

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