Wine fraud sleuth Don Cornwell flicks it again

Wine fraud sleuth Don Cornwell flicks it again

Those who watch the film Sour Grapes - highly recommended on Netflix! - has seen, may know him: Don Cornwell, the quirky California lawyer who became a wine detective and has made fighting wine fraud his life's work. - TEXT MILAN VELD | IMAGE WINEFIELD'S AUCTIONEERS / ALBERTINE DIJKEMA

Every wine auction house and every wine auction worldwide can count on his attention. After years of increasing wine fraud, Cornwell was one of the first to pick up the gauntlet. As a young lawyer, he first encountered wine fraud in Los Angeles in 1986 when the manager of a local wine shop led him into the shop's cellar. The owner had regularly turned cases of 1983 Bordeaux into cases from 1982. In Bordeaux, 1983 was a pretty good year, but 1982 is legendary. By having his own 1982 labels printed, the owner added a fortune to the value of the wines.

'There are few people in the world who really know what aged wines taste like'


The wine auction market generated over half a billion dollars last year, up 20 per cent from 2010. Enthusiastic wine collectors have made New York, London and Hong Kong the auction capitals of the world. Private sales are likely to turn over even more money. All this is happening despite the fact that many of the old and rare wines on the market are almost certainly adulterated according to vintners and researchers such as Cornwell, who has become one of the world's leading wine sleuths in the years since he entered the cellar of that Los Angeles wine shop.



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