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The issue of fake wines started to become headline news a few years ago when the so-called Thomas Jefferson bottles, several old bottles of Bordeaux, claimed to have belonged to Thomas Jefferson were offered by a German wine collector named Hardy Rodenstock. Bill Koch, the brother of the notorious Charles and David Koch, bought four of these bottles in the late 1980s. Whe he learned in 2005 that there was a high probability that these were fake, he sued Rodenstock and launched a multi-million-dollar campaign to combat a flood tide of counterfeits.

1. Who were some of the famous people in Kurniawan’s circle of wine friends?
2. What are the variety of ways mentioned in the article to counterfeit wine?
3. What actions by Kurniawan seemed like “red flags” of fraud?
4. How was Kurniawan able to supply such convincing fakes?
5. What was Kurnianwan’s biggest mistake?
6. According to one expert noted in the article, what percentage of pre-1980 Burgundies being sold at auction are fake?

Steinberger, M. (2012). A Vintage Crime. Vanity Fair, July (Retrievable online at