Don’t worry I am not talking about the Twenty dollar red wine you might or might not be drinking right now, that’s most likely the real thing. What I am talking about is something that you probably shouldn’t be too worried about, but should be aware of anyway. The kinds of wines that I am talking about are those rare and exclusive bottles of wine that probably cost more than your car. Since these wines have very high prices and at the beginning had little to no security measures that would indicate if a good forgery is a forgery, people from all over the world has made an art of doing this.
Counterfeiting has been around for a long time, let it be money, works of art, and even consumables. Making forgeries of wines is nothing new, the reason for the sudden rose of their production is the technology now available today. They now make forgeries so well that only complete experts can actually determine if a bottle is legit or not, one billionaire even hiring an ex-FBI agent to investigate for him, though a bit too late as he had already paid for the Hundred Thousand Dollar Bottle.
Why buy old expensive wines? Well, it has become a sort of status symbol to the rich and wine enthusiasts. If you are rich, then you have to do something impressive with all that extra money, and many go for collections, some have historical memorabilia, some have rare books, and others rare and old wines. They can also be considered as investments as the fewer bottles in existence are left the higher the value of the bottle you own. For wine connoisseurs and enthusiasts, having a bottle of wine so rare is like owning the hope diamond, they love wine and they like it when fellow wine enthusiast are awed by their collection.
In the series “White Collar”, a TV series about a master art forger/thief now working for the FBI, there was a series arc where they faced an old nemesis of the protagonist, challenged him to create a forgery of the most valuable bottle of wines in the world. The show showed us how simple it was to pass most of the tests if you were a master forger, the first thing is getting the bottle, which empty ones are far less expensive and a bit more easier to find if you know where to look (black market), second is the cork which can easily be forged by looking for corks produced at a similar time, Labels are easy enough to create by getting stationary or paper from the same time it was made. And the contents can be any cheap wine as you will be sealing it in there, and no one would want to open a million dollar bottle of wine. All of the materials will cost a bit of money, but if you pass the entire test your investment will pay off.
That was just an episode from a TV series, but it showed us that there are people to go above and beyond to trick other people and make money through these counterfeits. In the real world, forgers don’t even bother to do something so complicated of a procedure as in the movies. So other than losing your hard earned money buying Counterfeit wines, your health could also be in danger.
The next time some guy tells you he can get you a bottle of Petrus, remember that you’re talking to him from the back of a van.