True wine connoisseurs pride themselves on being able to pick out the smallest details when it comes to their wine. Are they all that they’re cracked up to be?
The short answer is no. Even the most experienced connoisseur, the ones that can truly do amazing things with their nose and taste buds, fail to tell the difference between a $10,000 bottle of wine and a $50 bottle. The difference between wine sommelier and a connoisseur is that the latter will fall for the label. In 2012, FBI agents raided a home that was being used for the selling of counterfeit wine—hundreds of labels from the highest quality wines were being used to trick connoisseurs into purchasing these exhaustingly expensive bottles. Throughout the years, the responsible parties sold at least $50 million worth of counterfeit wine.
The issue is that no one in the world has the palate to know what all of these old wines taste like. Wine is a living thing and changes over time. So there isn’t a set taste for one specific bottle.
What can you do? The best way to spot a fake is by checking out the label and the cork for any inconsistencies. See if the wines were actually produced the year on the label. It’s easier to spot the fakes with newer and finer wine bottles because of anti-counterfeit technology in the labels and bottles.
If you’ve been duped, the best action you can take is to alert the police. Frank Martell, director of fine and rare wine for Heritage Auctions, says that most wine collectors want to keep counterfeiting a secret. Their ego can’t handle the hit of being told they were fooled, and this is why counterfeit wine continues its circulation among auction houses and private collectors.
To protect your wine from any liability issues, you need a proper insurance policy. For all of your insurance coverage questions, please contact your team at Hoffman Brown Company in Sherman Oaks, California. We are happy to be of service!