Just over a year ago, Guardian author Ed Cumming wrote an article entitled The Great Wine Fraud which detailed and chronicled the incredible journey of wine counterfeiter Rudy Kurniawan. Rudy, who was known as Dr. Conti due to a prolific ability to identify, buy and sell so much Domaine de la Romanée-Conti of Burgundy, was arrested in 2012 and sentenced to ten years in prison in 2014. He was the first person ever sentenced to prison for wine fraud. Sadly, we don’t think he’ll be the last. The Great Wine Fraud Part Two seems to be happening on the internet as evidenced by this exceptional piece in Wine Industry Insight. The company in question, Wines Til Sold Out (WTSO), is an online extension of two liquor stores started by two brothers in south New Jersey. They’re a juggernaut of wine liquidation and full disclosure, I’ve purchased some European offerings from their website. However, for several years I’ve read their domestic offerings with a raised eyebrow of suspicion. There were often labels I’ve never heard of with points and reviews from allegedly famous critics, also who we’ve never heard of, and always accompanied by a brand-destroying discount. It usually seemed too good to be true. And as it turns out, we were right.The wines featured on Cellar Angels are only slightly reduced in price for several reasons. We believe in the small winery, the grower and the winemaker working tirelessly to produce a product we think is the greatest on Earth. Slashing their price would discredit those efforts. Since every transaction on our website generates much needed funds to a charity the purchaser selects, a lower price results in smaller generated proceeds. And finally, we’re not a wine clearance center.We’re here to change worlds. Your world, the charity’s world and the winery’s world. The wines are delivered direct from the winery to you—no middleman, no counterfeits. We do it by providing access to the best wines from Napa and Sonoma rarely available outside the winery. And why do we do this? Well yes, wine is awesome and we love it. But more importantly because we believe there are so many people providing so much kindness and care to individuals less fortunate, and we wanted to help them. And what better method to raise a spirit than raising a glass!
by Martin Cody – CEO, Cellar Angels