Wednesday, March 7, 2012

A $3,500 wine for < $4 bucks

The French have long had a love affair with wine, but this incident may just take the gateau for fraud in a French supermarket.  Recently a young woman near Bordeaux was caught switching the bar codes on one of France’s priciest wines (Château Pétrus) from $3,300 USD to a mere $3.50.  She was immediately arrested.  The large supermarket chain now has placed all of their expensive bottles in a locked cabinet that can only be accessed via the store manager.

This isn’t the first time that scammers have tried to pull a fast-one with the highly esteemed Château Pétrus. A couple of years ago the wine world came to a grinding halt when it was discovered that one of the prominent auction houses had allegedly sold bogus Pétrus.  Billionaire wine collector Bill Koch (who has a 40,000 bottle collection of the world’s top wines), has filed a law suit over counterfeit  wines he was sold that supposedly belonged to Thomas Jefferson.

Several years ago my husband and I were gifted with a bottle of Château Pétrus from one of our clients who lives in Russia.  He's a man with a great sense of humor---and he roared with laughter when he told us that he had printed the Pétrus label from the internet and placed it on a $20 bottle of California cab.  It looked very real.  We still have the bottle and often show it to oenophiles as a buyer beware story.

Fake Louis Vuitton, fake Chanel, fake Gucci…now fake vino.  What's next?

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