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Maureen Downey on Wine Fraud

This show was published 19 November 2021


In last 10-15 years there has been a rise in organised crime in wine fraud as criminals have seen the high reward, low risk associated with counterfeiting wine - the penalty is small (a fine rather than jail sentence) which means wine fraud is increasing. These sophisticated and well-funded gangs are not only faking high end fine wines but lower priced entry level brands such as Yellow Tail and using the internet for both to sell the wines online before disappearing without being caught.

Maureen names fraudster Marc Lazar who was caught in the USA, Rudy Kurniawan, Hardy Rodenstock and their methods, but the current trend is for operations that are highly funded and use the same methods of production as the actual producers do. Same glass, same anti-fraud labels, same outer cases etc. which makes the fakes much more difficult to detect.

Through her Chai Consulting firm, Maureen has created a blockchain solution for producers so that buyers of fine wines can see a certificate of authenticity to make an informed decision. You can see the line of provenance for a certain wine which is encrypted and secure. Maureen is training people in authentication throughout the world and has a team of certified authenticators that she works with.

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