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The wine man with the nose of a blood hound

December 19th, 2013

The Man Who Duped Millionaires Into Paying Big Bucks For Fake Wine : The Salt : NPR.

He was the man with “the nose of a blood hound,” as one wine critic once put it.Rudy Kurniawan was once the toast of the fine-wine world, renowned for his ability to find some of the rarest — and priciest — wines in the world.

He was also, prosecutors allege, a fraud who duped some of the country’s wealthiest wine purchasers with counterfeit bottles of wine that he manufactured in his home laboratory.And on Wednesday, a Manhattan jury agreed, finding Kurniawan guilty of fraud in connection with selling counterfeit wines and of defrauding a finance company.

The sensational trial began Dec. 9 in a Manhattan federal court. Prosecutors have argued that Kurniawan used his exceptional palate to blend together younger wines with older French wines of poor vintage. He then slapped counterfeit labels on the bottles, prosecutors say, and passed them off as some of the rarest wines on Earth. When these bottles turned up at auctions, the excitement of coming across them often overshadowed bidders’ skepticism of whether they were the real thing.

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