In vino veritas, so the old Latin adage goes.
But there isn't always truth in the wine you might be drinking. That's what billionaire businessman William Koch found out -- the hard way. Wine fraud is big business
In 1988, William Koch bought a number of rare bottles of wine alleged to be Thomas Jefferson's, found in walled-up wine cellars in Paris. Koch paid $500,000 for the bottles, which he bought from German wine merchant Hardy Rodenstock through an auction at Christie's.
After lending his collection for an exhibit at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts in 2005, Koch learned that the supposed Jefferson bottles were fakes. The engraved "T.H.J." initials on the bottles were way ahead of their alleged time, done with tools not even introduced until after Jefferson had died. The real thing: 200-year-old wine
While this might be one of the most well-known cases of wine fraud, it certainly isn't the only one.
Now wineries around the country are taking steps to protect the integrity of their wines by using new technology from companies likeand that help detect counterfeit wine.
Counterfeiting costs U.S. businesses between $200 billion and $250 billion a year, according to the FBI. An estimated 5% of rare wines sold on the secondary market are counterfeit, according to Wine Spectator magazine. This problem has become a business opportunity for Kodak and H-P. New technology protects winemakers
Counterfeiting is "a huge problem in the industry," Kodak spokesman Dennis Kercher said. "Billions of dollars of revenue goes into counterfeiters' pockets. Wine is a big business."
Particularly for boutique wineries that count numerous collectors among their buyers, the investment in security technology pays off in branding.
"We want our customers to get a great experience every time they open one of our bottles," said Shari Staglin of Staglin Family Vineyards, which uses Kodak's technology on its Staglin Family Vineyard Cabernet, at $150 the most collectible of its wines. The security technology is "the only way we can assure it."
The two most prominent players in the industry are taking different approaches.
Kodak is working with wine label printer Tapp