Isn’t it amazing how many bottles of “200-year-old” Chateau d’Yquem keep popping up? Julian LeCraw didn’t think so.

Mr. LeCraw claimed in a recent lawsuit in Atlanta that the Chateau d’Yquem and 14 other rare bottles he bought were nothing more than “worthless glass containing unknown fluids.” The collector, who paid hundreds of thousands of dollars for the bottles in 2006 and 2007, is suing the seller, the Antique Wine Company, based in London, for $25 million.

“He really enjoyed buying these wines, which are really like pieces of art,” said Mr. LeCraw’s lawyer, Shea Sullivan. “Mr. LeCraw didn’t believe in a million years that he was being sold fake wine….”

“As the wine has gotten more expensive, more people have taken interest in copying it,” said Mark Solomon, fine wine director at Leland Little Auction & Estate Sales and a co-founder of Truebottle.com, a site that helps consumers spot counterfeits.

“Some of these counterfeits are very good, and they’re getting better and better,” Mr. Solomon added. “Upon taste, it’s generally easier to tell. But unfortunately, when you taste a wine, you’ve already purchased it….”

Ms. Downey concluded that some of the labels on the bottles he had purchased from the Antique Wine Company, supposedly centuries old, had been printed by computer, according to the lawsuit. It said she also found irregularities in the glue, the corks, the shape and color of the bottles, and the color of the wine.

Officials who later studied the bottle agreed that the wine was a fake, along with another bottle from that vineyard that Mr. LeCraw had purchased from the Antique Wine Company. Another vineyard, the Château Lafite Rothschild, declared 12 other bottles “faux, faux, faux,” according to the lawsuit.

As Wine Fetches Staggering Sums, Fakery Claims Rise [NYT]

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Comments (9)

  1. Posted by guest | April 24, 2014 at 12:42 PM

    Maybe he should have investigated this before he bought the stuff.

  2. Posted by BNP HR | April 24, 2014 at 1:28 PM

    If you spend 91K on a bottle of wine than you are just an a-hole. A very rich a-hole, but an A++ toolbox nonetheless

    Other than that I have zero concerns.

  3. Posted by Thurston Howell III | April 24, 2014 at 1:44 PM

    You mean when there are people out there who are pretentious/stupid/insane enough to pay six figures for an old bottle of fermented grape juice, it provides incentive to other people to produce fakes?!?

    I'm shocked.

    Now about those $150 million paintings…..

  4. Posted by Damien H. | April 24, 2014 at 1:58 PM

    Watch it there, Mister.

  5. Posted by Guest | April 24, 2014 at 2:08 PM

    Bet this douche's house is full of Axe products

  6. Posted by Guest Roasted | April 24, 2014 at 2:13 PM

    I bet YOU douche with Axe products!

    BOOM ROASTED!

  7. Posted by Guest | April 24, 2014 at 2:24 PM

    Yeah, but douching with Axe helped me do your mom in the ass.

  8. Posted by Everyone Else | April 24, 2014 at 2:33 PM

    STFU, both of you.

  9. Posted by HighFrequencyHater | April 25, 2014 at 12:37 PM

    Artificially low interest rates and people seeing positive carry in "rare" things. It's essentially what Goldman did with aluminum warehouses, albeit they can actually sell it fwd and arb the spread.

    I've been seeing this left and right, check the Haggerty classic german car index (100%+ yoy), 60s automatic watches are up 3x in the last decade, small country's GDP for shiny baloon dogs etc. Gonna be fun when rates catch up the perceived carry rate.