Confessions of a Wine Counterfeiter

Faked world-class wines are in the news enough these days that I can decisively call them trendy. They’ve already got a book and their own Hollywood movie on the way. But I didn’t know just how chic counterfeit wine was until I found out that my friend Lettie Teague (who happens to be the executive wine editor of Food & Wine Magazine) recently spent some time faking a bottle of 1982 Château Mouton Rothschild for a dinner party.

Of course, like many of Teague’s most interesting wine-related exploits, this latest adventure was done in the service of a story, which appears in the October issue of Food & Wine. It’s worth a read, if only for the chuckle you might get at how bent out of shape some of her friends get when she reveals that the 100 point wine that some of them loved wasn’t quite what they thought it was.

Teague goes to a moderate amount of effort to fake her wine, enlisting the help of a winemaker friend in Washington state, but she missed out on the real fun as far as I’m concerned. She bought a real bottle of the stuff, so she didn’t get a chance to doctor up a bottle with a fake label and spend hours “distressing” her new creation to make it look authentic. Half the fun would have been figuring out how to fade the ink and where to abrade the paper, not to mention figuring out how to grow a little mold under the capsule.

Despite skipping some of the parts of the counterfeiting process that I would have been most excited about, the story is a fun read. Check it out.

Thanks to my friend Jack at Fork & Bottle for the tip.