An Insider’s Guide to Counterfeiting Wine

Last week, the FBI arrested a 35-year-old millionaire wine dealer suspected of trying to sell $1.3 million in counterfeit wine. The high-profile case is just the latest illustration of the fraud that has spread across the wine world in the last few decades, affecting every corner from the booming Chinese market to the international auction circuit.

Given the prices collectors are willing to pay for high-end wine—bottles of the 1982 vintage of France’s grand crus, for example, can fetch between $2,000 and $5,000 depending on the trustworthiness of the provenance—selling counterfeit wine can be a lucrative business. Aspiring fraudsters need only a bit of know-how and a few hundred dollars of startup costs. Herewith, a rundown of some of their techniques.


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