In her recent blog post, British wine critic Jancis Robinson chronicles her encounters with René Dehn, an international wine fraudster from Denmark who was recycling and refilling old bottles. It’s a fascinating narrative that spans three countries, like something out of a James Bond film.
Robinson first encountered Dehn at a tasting event just outside Copenhagen in 2009 where nothing was obviously amiss. However, things turned fishy in 2010, when Robinson was invited for another wine event hosted by Dehn, this time in Bern, Switzerland. Although Robinson grew suspicious about Dehn’s credentials after the event, she “was reassured by the fact that Dehn claimed now to be an investor in Fine, the Scandinavian fine-wine specialist magazine.”
But, Pekka Nuikki, the Finnish editor of Fine, has since debunked this claim. “René Dehn and his partner were both members of our FINE Club in 2009-2010. And, unfortunately, I have heard that they have used that membership to give the wrong impression about the way they have been involved with Fine,” explains Nuikki.
The last time Robinson encountered Dehn was in Hong Kong. “Dehn by this point must have thought I was a real mug because it was quite clear that many of these wines were not at all as they should be. It was all decidedly embarrassing,” writes Robinson, who has since cut all ties with him.
Be careful at your next high-priced, fine-wine event. Who knows where René Dehn and his fake wines will be popping up next. Also, if you happen to read Danish, check out this full exposé on Dehn. [Jancis Robinson]