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For some time now, wine lovers have been observing that empty bottles are probably not only auctioned for decoration purposes on eBay. How else can one explain three to four digit sums for an empty bottle of wine? It seems reasonable to assume that with these expensive empties, the word "recycling" takes on a new meaning. Namely the refilling of the bottles and the resulting deception of the consumer. This approach is also confirmed by Ray Jordan, an Australian wine journalist, who knows of empty 1982 Latour bottles that were bought for 1,000 Australian dollars (about 850 euro) and were re-filled - with cheap wine, of course - and resold as "bargains" to wine collectors in good faith. Achievable price for a real bottle of Latour 1982 in Australia and Hong Kong: 1,450 to 2,500 euro. But this is only one example that shows how much one has to trust the supplier when buying wine.

Counterfeiting ring uncovered in China

Whether an expensive wine is genuine% usually only becomes apparent after opening the bottle.
It seems to me that even more criminal is a process that is taking on larger and larger dimensions. In China, commercial agents are on their way to wine collectors to take orders for rarities of the 1982 vintage. Practically overnight, the desired amount of the ordered wine is produced. From the bottle to the capsule, everything is faked perfectly. Including the contents, of course. This is mostly inferior Bordeaux, which is adulterated together in the illegal laboratories. No wonder that there are more Lafite Rothschild or Pétrus 1982 on the market in China than ever produced in Bordeaux, as wine expert Jancis Robinson confirmed in an interview. The English-language news service ShanghaiDaily.com reports in its issue of August 16, 2012, that the Shanghai police arrested six persons who were producing fake Bordeaux wines. During the house search, 4,000 bottles of Lafite Rothschild with an estimated total value of the equivalent of 1.273 million euro were found. As early as in April this year, almost 2,500 fake bottles of Lafite Rothschild and Château Margaux were found in various hiding places. The police also confirmed that countless counterfeits were sold to customers in different Chinese provinces. Considering that there is also a lively wine trade on eBay in China and in the Asian region, one somehow gets a bad feeling when buying rarities. Due to the advanced globalization, it cannot be excluded that such bottles are also on the market in Europe. Often, they are only discovered when uncorking the wine, and many wine lovers refrain from reporting them to the authorities. Partly out of shame, but also out of ignorance, because how often does one drink Pétrus or Lafite 1982? If it was the first time, one has no comparison. If you have comparisons, bottle differences are a welcome excuse. And experts rarely sit in private wine rounds.

The top ten "decorative items

As my table clearly shows, the absolute "star" among empty bottles is the most famous winery in the world - Château Pétrus from Pomerol. However, at 3,010 euros for an empty bottle of Mouton Rothschild 2000 in the Imperial (6 liters), a Premier Grand Cru of the Left Bank holds a questionable record. The eBay member never responded to my numerous requests and in the meantime is active with hopefully genuine RayBan glasses. Empty wooden crates of famous châteaux also fetch top prices. Yes, wood is expensive!

The price for an empty box is also interesting. The gift box without a bottle of Rémy Martin's cult cognac was knocked down at 121 euros. That someone here owns the full bottle and the combination bottle plus case fetches a much higher price at auction is certain. But let's assume it was meant to be a nice gift. Unfortunately not to me!

Empty bottles on eBay
Title on eBay Price (€) Date of sale Item number
Mouton Rothschild 2000 Imperial display bottle 6 L 3.010,00 29.09.2011 200652982483
1982 Château Pétrus Deco Bottle * 1961 Château Pétrus Deco Bottle 574,99 13.06.2012 270994585535
1982 Château Pétrus Deco Bottle Double Magnum 3 L 227,77 08.08.2012 271029692036
Château Mouton Rothschild 2000 0,75 L Dummy 200,00 27.05.2012 130699949001
Romanée-Conti 1990 191,00 17.06.2012 251083618105
1982 Château Pétrus double magnum 3 L 157,00 27.08.2012 271040300548
1982 Château Pétrus Deco Bottle Magnum 1,5 L 147,00 31.08.2012 271042779660
Remy Martin Louis XIII Cognac Box, gift case, empty 121,00 29.04.2012 130683152455
Wine box from Château Pétrus 2005 original new famous 104,00 05.05.2012 261014402683
Ardbeg 17 years !!!! Empty bottle!!! 101,99 02.09.2012 160872681111

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