CHICAGO (CN) – Chicago Wine and Julienne Importing Co. sold counterfeit wine for as much as $100,000 a bottle – specifically, a bottle of “1787 Branne-Mouton formerly owned by Thomas Jefferson … allegedly to be part of a cache of similarly marked bottles recently discovered in a bricked-up cellar in Paris,” the buyer, William Koch, claims in Cook County Court. Koch claims the defendants obtained the bogus bottle from Hardy Rodenstock, the subject of a Sept. 3, 2007 story in The New Yorker that suggests Rodenstock is a talented counterfeiter of old wines.
This bottle appears to be the very one that is at the center of The New Yorker story. A central element of Koch’s claim is that the “Th.J.” initials on the bottle – and three other bottles he bought elsewhere ‘ “were engraved by an electric power tool or tools with a flexible shaft that did not exists in the 1700s.”
Koch claims that “Chicago Wine and other sellers sold him numerous bottles of counterfeit wine in past years, a significant number of which were imported by Julienne.”
Koch is represented by Robert Harris with Stein, Ray & Harris.