Old vintage Bordeaux and Burgundy wines cost outrageous amounts of money and are quite tempting targets for frauds.
In winemaking, vintage refers to vines from a specific year. Old Bordeaux and Burgundy wines are both extremely pricey.
In 2006, eight magnums of 1947 Chateau Lafleur were sold at an auction. Indonesian businessman Rudy Kurniawan owned the lot. In 2007, his cellar was considered the world’s greatest.
In 2006, he netted $35 million in wine sales. However, in 2008 at a wine conference in California, an interesting detail came up: Chateau Lafleur produced only 5 magnums of wine in 1947.
More fraudulent activities concerning the wine connoisseur came up soon after.
In 2012, Rudy was arrested. When the police searched his house, they discovered large amounts of counterfeit wine labels. Additionally, there was a number of inexpensive California wines dressed up as exclusive Bordeaux and Burgundy vintages.
The price he paid as the world’s largest wine fraud included 10 years in prison, confiscation of his property and $28.4 million in damages.
Investing in wines can be very profitable but profits attract clever fraudsters. Watch out for these when choosing your investment instruments, and drink only good wines. It’s worth it, sometimes.