Wine Talk

Snooth User: Richard Foxall

Counterfeit Wine Jury Verdict--Battle of the .01%

Posted by Richard Foxall, Apr 17, 2013.

So here's this interesting article (IMO) about the $12million verdict in one of Bill Koch's lawsuits against people who sold him counterfeit wine.  The book "The Billionaire's Vinegar" told the story of how Koch (estranged brother of those Koch brothers, and pronounced like the cola drink) bought bottles purportedly discovered in a basement in Paris that had once belonged to Thomas Jefferson--it's now universally accepted that Hardy Rodenstock faked those.  Turns out buying counterfeit wine is the albatross around Koch's neck, since he seems to have purchased some from Rudi K. and this Greenberg fellow.  Or maybe it's his hobby--buying counterfeit wine and then suing people for selling it to him is his new thing, apparently. Koch apparently spent fortunes because he wants to eradicate counterfeit wine selling from the world.  (Meanwhile, Bill Gates is getting a really good return on his investment in an attempt to eradicate polio and other preventable diseases.  But I don't collect polio stories the way I collect wine stories, so I'm posting here instead of some world health social networking site.)

Apparently the case turned in part on this: "Greenberg has maintained all along that he did not know any wines sold were fake and that it was Zachys’ responsibility to uncover any problem bottles. But Koch presented witnesses that said Greenberg was aware since 2002 that his cellar contained counterfeit wines. A former house manager testified that Greenberg told him he planned to resell them."  So you would think that one of the lessons here was not to say things like that in front of the help or, in the event that this wasn't actually said, to treat your employees in a way that they wouldn't later want to see you lose a lawsuit.  I'm making a guess based on my own experience as one of Mr. Koch's gardeners and his brothers' continuing politics that he won't be drawing that lesson.  Sadly for Mr. Greenberg, Mr. Koch is unlike the feds and wouldn't just accept a refund and no admission of wrongdoing.  I hope Mr. Koch's lawyers have a nice glass of (real) Champagne to celebrate their victory. 

Of course, what Koch will really take away is that he should be allowed to sue Zachy's and Christie's, even though he was deemed to have passed the statute of limitations in suing Christie's. BTW, at the bottom of that last link, there's a good comment about "The Billionaire's Vinaigrette." LMAO.


Reply by napagirl68, Apr 17, 2013.

LOL!  This is too funny.....  The best part was reading your gardener experience.

You have too much time on your hands, Foxy.

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