Tuesday, May 15, 2012


Wine Jail

How would you fake wine, anyway? You could blend two vintages, say a bottle of ’81 Pétrus (average auction price: $1,194) and a bottle of ’83 Pétrus ($1,288), to make two bottles of ’82 Pétrus ($4,763 each). It would be the right wine and taste the right age; even if it didn’t taste exactly like ’82, it wouldn’t taste exactly like ’81 or ’83 either. Close enough. With lesser wines that didn’t historically brand their corks with the winemaker or vintage, you could simply relabel the bottle as something much more expensive, by laser-printing a new label or soaking an authentic old one off an empty bottle. More riskily, you could tamper with a blank cork, inking it with the winemaker or vintage of your choice.

In case you missed it, New York magazine's feature on mysterious wine counterfeiter Rudy Kurniawan is an excellent if somewhat horrifying read.

[Pats trusty bottle* of $10 pinot grigio.]

* Box.


crime, wine, booze

49 Comments / Post A Comment

The Lady of Shalott



@The Lady of Shalott It'd be better if we could combine wine jail and cat jail. Picture it, on a snowy winter's night - you, sitting curled up on the sofa with a box and a straw, purring kittehs warming your feet.


@Ophelia Man, I would do whatever it takes, committing so many crimes, to get into that jail.


I'll take those counterfeits if those guys are too snooty to drink them...


RIGHT. This is why I'll never stray from the love of my life, Franzia Chilled Red.


@tessamae THIS is why I'll never pay $1000 for something that can't provide me with shelter.

(Seriously, I love food and drinks, but I have never liked anything so much that it was worth that much money to me!)


@tessamae my wine of choice is Trader Joe's Two Buck Chuck. It does me good and I can get a freaking case of it for about $30.


@Scandyhoovian Yep, love me some Two Buck Chuck. That's for when I'm feeling fancy and want a wine that is actually named after the grape it's derived from.

Plus, it's not like I really taste/care what I'm drinking after the 3rd glass anyway.


This is so like that time I asked my friend to mix up some sangria with the Yellow Tail, but the asshole used Sutter Home instead and completely ruined the bouquet.


I don't know if this says bad things about me, but I was horrified - HORRIFIED - to discover how little effort went into forging proper labels.

Being underage when some states (like good old reliable NJ) had non-barcode IDs could be actually forged, we were...quite good at it. Down to the part where we knew how to create proper numbering systems so that your eyecolor matched in both places they have it on the document.

In high school, another employee at a movie theatre I worked at gave us a giant stack of ticket blanks, and I would just create real-looking tickets for movies that hadn't been out in theatres in years (my overwhelming guilt prevented me from using them to actually steal). I can't even watch "Catch Me If You Can", because...I dunno, I just love forgery.

It's the most beautiful crime there is. And like I said, I'd never do it, because I was raised catholic and can't handle doing bad things, but man oh man, making something fake that seems real is basically the most enjoyable activity on earth.

Ahhhhhh stupid computers and barcodes. You ruined everything.


@leon.saintjean In high school and college, I used to do a lot of art/scenic design, and my big thing was doing reproductions of famous paintings to use as set pieces. ...I love the idea of being an art forger, although I don't think I have the skill to really mimic Picasso up close.


@leon.saintjean Forgery is still alive and well in many places! Maybe not prestigious places, but still. I have a friend who is running the Rovers unit for our largest local anime convention, and they've had to add more and more special inks and intentional typos to the badges over the years because people get really creative with forging them. Seems like more trouble than it's worth, to me.


@frigwiggin I went to a small liberal arts school in the middle of nowhere where crime was essentially non-existent, so the school's Public Safety was very over-zealous with parking tickets. Some of my graphic designer friends forged completely realistic parking tickets, and had fun placing them on official school vehicles, and watching the officers get confused.


@leon.saintjean I remember when I went to college and showed someone my license, and he said, "Oh, no wonder everyone has fake IDs from Jersey."


@leon.saintjean I recently fell down an internet black hole reading about fake handbags and such. It's truly incredible how sophisticated those can become, and how the internet has provided an easy medium in which to sell them to unwitting consumers who can't typically authenticate them before buying them.
The whole thing is fascinating on several levels.


Does fake wine still get you drunk? Because if it does, I don't see what the problem is here.


@cmcm but does it get you $4000 drunk, or only $1000 drunk? Because $1000 drunk is for peasants.


Even Jesus used to forge wine. At parties!


@atipofthehat "You could blend two vintages, say a bottle of heinously contaminated water and a bottle of heinously contaminated water, to make two bottles of BEST WINE EVA."


"I'm tasting sticks...and rope?"


"Thank you!"

Toby Jug

"One's like rocks, and one's like dirt."
"Okay, yes maybe I taste dirt..."


"Are science fiction and heart mutually exclusive? One word: Cocoon."


What a coincidence--I just yesterday listened to a Cathrynne Valente story on Escape Pod yesterday about illegal biohazardous space wine. It was a lot more interesting than you'd think.


This is a great place to plug my new radio serial, SPACE BOOTLEGGERS:

"You'll never catch us alive, coppers!"


"All right, come out of there, Malone! We got ya surrounded!"

"Oh, ya has, has ya? Maybe you forgot a little something called multidirectional movement, flatfoot! This is space, chums! I'm up up and outta here!"


"Never you mind, boyo. We'll meet again - next week in SPACE BOOTLEGGERS"


@melis Oh boy oh boy, I hope Malone is voiced by old stitched-together audio clips of Orson Welles.


*a foil bag of space wine drifts gently toward Mugsy & O'Halloran*

"Courtesy of the Moon-Based Moonshine Gang, Johnnies! With compliments from Malone and the boys upstairs! We call it Merlow-gravity!"


"Now, now, boyo. You'll get your chance. No need to get all bent out of shape over it. Besides, it was a good year for Merlot and a bag like this don't come cheap."




What if someone is soaking the labels off empty Hairpin Estates '12 posts, slapping them on outdated Jezebel content, and fooling us all?



I better auction off my '11 screencap of "Women Laughing Alone With Spiders" before word gets out.


@melis This sounds like a job for Sparks Nevada, Marshal on Mars...

Lenora Jane

All I am thinking of is that episode of Black Books now


@Lenora Jane Aren't we all.

"What's that you're eating?"

"Some sort of delicious biscuit."

"It's a coaster."


@Lenora Jane No one is willing to admit that wine doesn't actually have a taste.


@frigwiggin They'd all laugh at me if they knew what I was trying to do...to create a new strain of super-wine in a half an hour with a fraction of nature's resources and a FOOL for an assistant. "Bernard Black, he's mad," they'd say. "He's insane. He's dangerous." Well, I'll show them! I'll show them all!


@Lenora Jane I just watched that episode last night! I was wondering if anyone would mention it.

Atheist Watermelon

@Lenora Jane yesssssss


@muralgirl I think it's probably my favorite episode. "This is like... a... a farmyard... of wine." "It's like looking into the eye of a duck." "And sucking all the fluid from its beak."


@Lenora Jane

"Old wine... is good wine..."
"Yes... but expensive wine is good wine also."
"But the older the wine... the gooder it is."
"Yes... but by the same token, the more expensive the wine... the gooder it is also."

Atheist Watermelon

@mlle.gateau yeah, by the time i got to "bernard! Look! I'm a prostitute robot from the future!" part of that episode, i had to pause it so that I could finish my hysterical laughing fit...


"And you really had to wonder about the bottles of 1923 Roumier Bonnes-Mares included in the sale. The domain was founded in 1924. But Burgundy’s a crazy place, where even cynics could snatch possibility from the jaws of implausibility: Maybe the family that sold the vineyard to Roumier had included the previous year’s harvest, and it had been bottled under the Roumier name."

Man, these guys wanted to be conned.


Always, always keep your cat jails and your wine jails separate people.


The question is, would you rather be sentenced to life in wine jail or life in cat jail? It's a tough choice, but I choose CAT JAIL.


@werewolfbarmitzvah, no way - wine jail for me all the way. Kitties are wickedly cute, but they won't make me sexier, funnier or more popular, and wine will. It will also make me drunk. So, sorry kitties, you'll just have to pet yourselves, because I'm headed for WINE JAIL.


I have been really into stories about people downward spiraling into massive amounts of debt and illegal activities because it makes my student loans and apparent complete inability to file my taxes seem paltry by comparison.


I'm currently singing Donna Summer's "Dim All The Lights" to the lyrics "Drink All The Wine".

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