In 2002, a young Indonesian Chinese named Rudy Kurniawan began to appear and bid in various wine auctions, who always held luxury banquets with fine wines. He became famous and won the title of “Dr. Conti” due to his exceptional wine palate…
這位彭索莊主堅稱拍賣會上的都是假酒；他說被拍賣的彭索紅酒酒標上寫著1929年，但酒莊要到1945年才開始獨立裝瓶，還有一些標着1945年到1971年的聖丹尼園酒，實際上第一次生產卻始於1982年！彭索更要求拍賣會幫他聯絡酒主魯迪，幾番交接後，彭索越來越懷疑魯迪是騙子。同一時間，一位買入不少魯迪紅酒的億萬富豪威廉科赫，亦找來專業私家偵探追查，最後更令聯邦調查局介入。 2012年3月，魯迪被在自己家中逮捕。警方在他家搜出一萬九千張全世界最昂貴葡萄酒的酒標、打印機、空瓶，以及混合了各種不同葡萄酒的“ 半製成品”。最終魯迪被判10年監禁，再賠償3億美元給害人，但據科赫聘請的私家偵探稱，魯迪涉及假酒的總額實際達過億美元。
The popularity of “Dr. Conti” rose sharply in a short period of time, and he also met many influential people, such as Arthur M. Sarkissian, the film producer of “Rush Hour 2” and John Kapon, the third-generation chairman of Acker, an American wine merchant. Kapon was ambitious to enter the wine auction market, hence the two hit it off.From 2003 to 2006, Kurniawan had unloaded wines worth an astonishing USD 35 million at the Acker auctions. However, their luck had almost entirely run out…
In April 2007, Kurniawan consigned several magnums of 1982 Château Le Pin at Christie’s.
When the winery knew it, it contacted the auction house and issued a statement clarifying that it had never produced such wines. Several similar incidents occurred afterwards. The following incident made a fatal blow to Kurniawan’s reputation.
One night in April 2008, Acker held a wine auction in a fine-dining restaurant in New York with a lively atmosphere with bidders as usual. During the auction of the Domaine Ponsot wines, a tall Frenchman shouted and claimed that he was Laurent Ponsot. and asked Acker to withdraw the wines.
The head of Domaine Ponsot insisted that the bottles were fake as the domaine had never made a Clos St. Denis prior to 1982. Hence it was impossible to have the vintages ranging from 1945 through 1971, with wine labels indicating 1929. After contacting with Kurniawan for several times, Ponsot believed Kurniawan was a wine swindler. At the same time, Bill Koch, a billionaire who bought a lot of wines from Kurniawan, also unleashed private detectives and even FBI to expose the fakes. Kurniawan was arrested in March 2012 in his mansion. The police found about 19,000 fake labels,printers, empty bottles and semi-finished wine mixtures. The wine counterfeiter was sentenced to 10 years in prison and ordered to pay USD 300 million in compensation.
The incident has subsided, but there are still mysteries left unsolved: some experts have suggested that the vast wine production by Kurniawan required at least 15,000 hours. Moreover, the wine sales from 2002 to 2006 ran smoothly under the eagle eye of numerous wine experts. Was there anyone assisting him?
These are probably questions never get answered, but one thing is certain – the sophisticated palate of Kurniawan. Since 2001, he has tasted more than 3,000 top wines in just 20 months, acing a blind tasting with 100% accuracy.The talented guy would get a great achievement if he didn’t go astray.