One of America's Richest Men, Billionaire William Koch, Has Lost Nearly $20 Million In A Fake Wine Fight

Some of the most expensive vinegars in the world… billionaire William Koch spent $300,000 on fake Bordeaux wines. Photo: Getty

Last year reclusive US billionaire and wine lover William Koch sued Internet entrepreneur Eric Greenburg over two cases of fake Bordeaux wine he paid $300,000 for at auction, but later claimed “tasted like vinegar”.

(While Business Insider knows the feeling, we’ve never spent that much on 24 bottles of wine).

Those bottles included some of France’s most famous wine names, including an 1811 Chateau Lafite, 1864 and 1865 Chateau Latour and a magnum of 1921 Chateau Petrus from 1921.

In April 2013, Koch won a surprising $12 million in punitive damages after a jury found Greenburg had deliberately defrauded people with the bogus wines, although the Silicon Valley guru denied he knew they were fakes.

But then few people ever open bottles of wine worth that much money.

But in a surprising turn of events in New York overnight, after Greenberg appealed the “exorbitant” verdict, US District Judge Paul Oetken reducing the original damages to a measly $212,699.

Koch had already received more than $700,000 in damages from the auctioneer, Zachys Wine Auctions, but before you think he’s now $600,000 up on the deal, Oetken disallowed Koch’s attempt to get Greenburg to pay his laywer’s tab of $7.9 million.

That means he’s $20 million worse off than a couple of weeks ago. It’s enough to drive a man to drink.

Koch has other lawsuits outstanding from buying fake wine.

Pour a glass of red from the cask and read the details from The Guardian here.

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