Wine Counterfeiter Goes to Trial, Wine Experts Expected to Testify

Wine Spectator reports that the first person in the U.S. to ever be tried for counterfeiting wine began his trial in a federal courtroom in Manhattan earlier today. Rudy Kurniawan is accused of both dealing and producing fake wine that has sold for millions at auction and in direct dealings with collectors since 2002. During his peak, Kurniawan “specialized” in Burgundy and bought up to $1 million worth of wine per month. The case should make for an intriguing show as wine experts and high profile names (including Aubert de Villaine of Domaine de la Romanée-Conti) are brought in to testify. Kurniawan has been in jail since 2012 when the FBI discovered a counterfeiting workshop in his Los Angeles home. The defense will argue that Kurniawan is a scapegoat for a more widespread problem within wine collecting. As Spectator notes, “It’s true that revelations at the trial could reveal ugly truths about counterfeits being sold at auction. Collectors are far more vigilant today, but experts say counterfeits remain a problem.”