Don Cornwell may well be a wine fraudster’s worst nightmare — a highly motivated, highly educated, and extremely experienced collector who is tired of seeing people pay outrageous sums for fake wine and of auction houses that seem to have no qualms about selling it to them. Cornwell has been collecting burgundy for more than three decades. But he’s not just a wealthy lawyer with a taste for Pinot Noir. By night he’s the owner and editor of the Oxidized Burgundies Wiki Site, which is building a community database of experiences with prematurely oxidized white burgundies. And by day he has more than once been involved in legal cases about fake wines. He is also, not insignificantly, a widely admired taster.
Over the years Don has become something of an expert on fake wines, while at the same time becoming more and more angry at the fact that their sale seems to continue unabated. Last week, after looking through Spectrum’s catalogue for the upcoming auction, Cornwell noticed a familiar pattern — a series of wines including a number of old vintages of high value DRC and First Growth Bordeaux that have been favorites of wine counterfeiters in the past….
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