The New York Times pops the cork on the shocking practice of counterfeiting superexpensive wines (requires registration).

With single bottles of wine soaring in value up to thousands (or tens of thousands) of dollars, the practice of slapping a counterfeit label on a bottle of plonk is becoming more than a hobby. For the sneakiest and boldest of the counterfeiters, it’s a way of life.

The Times nails down the macro perspective by mentioning that about $131 million worth of wine was auctioned off in New York state in 2006 alone.

And, surprisingly, the article shifts some of the blame for bogus wines to the producers themselves.

In the 19th century Burgundy producers were known to beef up a bad vintage with a little wine from the Rhone or even from Algeria. Today, some wine producers may take older bottles, which have lost wine to evaporation, and top them off with a more recent vintage of the same wine, effectively freshening up the bottle.

Makes me glad that I stick to beer and Scotch.

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