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Thursday, June 13, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Wine Lover Says He Was Conned On Bogus Bottles

MANHATTAN (CN) - Zachys Wine & Liquor Store auctioned off counterfeit wine it acquired from Eric Greenberg, claims William Koch, who says he spent $3.7 million on wine at Zachys' 2005 auction. Koch claims he bought the bogus wine from Zachys Wine Auctions after Greenberg knew, and Zachys knew or should have known, that some of it was fake.

Koch claims that Greenberg, who had "one of the largest wine cellars in the United States," asked Sotheby's to auction off some of his tens of thousands of bottles in or around 2002. He claims Sotheby's sent the head of its international wine department, Serena Sutcliffe, to evaluate Greenberg's bottles, and that "Sutcliffe told Greenberg that a significant number of the bottles in his cellar were counterfeit and that Sotheby's was not interested in auctioning counterfeit or questionable wine. Sutcliffe's conclusion that Greenberg's cellar contained counterfeit wine was thereafter corroborated by another wine expert, William Edgerton."

Koch claims that "Despite knowing that he owned counterfeit wine, in 2005 - and perhaps at other times as well - Greenberg auctioned part of his wine collection through Zachys, including counterfeits." He claims Zachys sold the wine recklessly or negligently.

Koch claims he paid $29,172 for a bottle of Chateau Lafite 1811, from Greenberg's cellar, at Zachys' Oct. 28, 2005 auction, and that it was fake.

He claims he paid $33,150 for a bottle of Chateau Lafite Rothschild 1870, also fake.

He claims he paid $29,500 for a bottle of Chateau Petrus 1921, also fake.

He says he paid $18,564 for a bottle of Chateau Lafite Rothschild 1870, also fake.

He claims he paid $18,564 for a magnum of Chateau Lafleur 1921, also fake.

He says he paid $17,238 for a magnum of Chateau Petrus 1928, also fake.

He says he bought two bottles of Chateau Latour, for $2,873 apiece, and that one is fake.

And so on.

Koch demands punitive damages. He is represented in Federal Court by Shawn Regan with Hunton & Williams.

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