October 10, 1917: Dinsmoor Webb was born in the Californian city of Victorville. Webb was a member of the faculty at University of California Davis in the Department of Chemistry as well as the Departments of Viticulture and Enology from the years 1948 to 1981. His research focused on extracting and determining the identities of trace pigment and aroma components found in grapes and wines. He was very interested in wine. The length of the collection is two linear feet, and it begins in 1929 and ends in 2002. The years covered range from 1929 through 2002.
October 10, 1930: On this day, Elisabeth Kuhn, later Elisabeth Gies, was born. In 1949, she was named the first German Wine Queen.
October 10, 1976: On this day, Rudy Kurniawan was born. Kurniawan, also known as “Dr. Conti”—so-called for his frequent Domaine de la Romanée-Conti trades— is a convicted wine counterfeiter. He came to the United States by way of Jakarta, Indonesia in the 1990s and established himself as a collector and distributor of fine wines. Kurniawan became a fixture in the American wine collector and auction scene until he was arrested by the FBI following mounting evidence of fraud. He served seven years in federal prison before being released on November 6, 2020. He sold millions of dollars worth of fake bottles between 2004 and 2012, the majority of which went through auction houses like Acker Merrall & Condit, which alone made $35 million off of Kurniawan’s bottles in just two auctions. Jerry Mooney, Kurniawan’s lawyer, answered inquiries after his client’s release on his employment as a tasting consultant. Mooney guessed that if the forger was honest about his conduct, he could be able to resume his profession. Some fear that Kurniawan would get back into wine while he is being held in a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention facility awaiting deportation. For a thorough account of Kurniawan’s rise and fall in the esteem of the field of wine collection, see this article from New York magazine.
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