In Vino Duplicitas

In Vino Duplicitas

The Rise and Fall of A Wine Forger Extraordinaire

Book - 2017
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"An engrossing account of wine fraud and forgery . . . Hellman clearly knows his stuff."-- The Wall Street Journal

"[Hellman] presents . . . the macho, competitive, one-upmanship world of the collectors, an atmosphere that perhaps contributed to their gullibility in the high-rolling economy of the early 2000s."-- The New York Times

"Heady, intoxicating . . . shines a light on the esoteric and intriguing world of ultrarare, ultrafine wines."-- Foreword , starred review

" In Vino Duplicitas is a cautionary tale of how we can let the romance of wine get the better of us. . . . None of us are immune."-- Washington Post

Few gain entry to the privileged world of ultrafine wines, where billionaires flock to exclusive auction houses to vie for the scarce surviving bottles from truly legendary years. But Rudy Kurniawan, an unknown twentysomething from Indonesia, was blessed with two gifts that opened doors: a virtuoso palate for wine tasting, and access to a seemingly limitless (if mysterious) supply of the world's most coveted wines.

After bursting onto the scene in 2002, Kurniawan quickly became the leading purveyor of rare wines to the American elite. But in April 2008, his lots of Domaine Ponsot Clos Saint-Denis red burgundy--dating as far back as 1945--were abruptly pulled from auction. The problem? The winemaker was certain that this particular burgundy was first produced only in 1982.

Journalist Peter Hellman was there, and he would closely investigate as a singular cast of characters--including a Kansas-born billionaire and self-proclaimed "hoarder," a dignified Burgundian winemaker, a wine-loving young prosecutor, and a crusty FBI agent who prepared for the case by reading French Wine for Dummies --worked to unravel the biggest con in wine history. Whether driven by the love of wine or of justice, all were asking the same question: Was the mild-mannered Kurniawan himself a dupe? Or had one young man--with little experience and few connections--ensnared the world's top winemakers, sellers, and drinkers in a web of deceit?
Publisher: New York :, The Experiment,, 2017, ©2017.
ISBN: 9781615193929
Branch Call Number: 364. 163 KUR H
Characteristics: xxiv, 246 pages, 8 unnumbered pages of plates : colour illustrations ; 24 cm


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Mar 16, 2018

Enjoyed the book, but it doesn't really address the political issue of the inflation of "needs" of a certain stratum of our society.

Sep 21, 2017

Always fun to read these true stories about these vacuous wealthy people who have far more money than brain cells. You know their priorities are different than yours when you read that they would not testify against this man ( or they minimized their losses) so they wouldn't look like fools to their rich friends. The only thing that would have made this book better would have been a cast of characters - I admit I had trouble keeping track of who was who! And a note to one of the other reviewers: these auction houses knew - they just didn't care because they were getting paid LOTS of money for this stuff and they knew their clientele - no one would admit to being duped out of their millions! (And as an aside, I think mom was in on it).

Bunny_Watson716 Sep 08, 2017

You may, as I did, find it hard to feel sorry for people who spend millions of dollars on wine and who get duped, but the story of Rudy Kurniawan and his excellent wine forgery skills makes for an interesting read. What I found particularly interesting were the interactions with major auction houses, who were selling these counterfeit wines, seemingly unaware.

StevenOClark Aug 28, 2017

This is yet another crazy - but true - story. It must be getting harder by the day to be a fiction writer. I had no idea that wine counterfeiting was a thing, but so it seems. I must
admit to a shade of schadenfreude as Peter Hellman spins the incredible tale of Rudy Kurniawan and how he bilks the idle rich for millions of dollars with his phony wines.

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