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The Billionaire's Vinegar: The Mystery…

The Billionaire's Vinegar: The Mystery of the World's Most… (2009)

by Benjamin Wallace

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This book started slowly and was rather dry, however as the main theme of the book emerged it was apparent that the dry backstory was necessary information. Overall, the book was a fascinating look into the world of old vintage wines and the people who collect and trade them. ( )
  debbie.menzel | Feb 6, 2014 |
An interesting book about wine and wine forgery. Well written. ( )
  jvgravy | Jan 19, 2014 |
more detail than I ever wanted to know! ( )
  LoisB | Sep 20, 2013 |
I really enjoyed the book, right until the very last chapter. I understand that maybe there was no further action, but the book just ended abruptly. Very disappointing. ( )
  liz.mabry | Sep 11, 2013 |
This book gives the reader a glimpse into the close world of antique wines and the collectors who covet them. In 1985 a very unusual find of an 1787 Lafitte wine with initials etched into the bottle that suggest it was owned by Thomas Jefferson, was put up for auction at Christie's and sold for a record price of$156,000 by Kip Forbes, son of Malcolm Forbes. This was the first of many extraordinary bottles of wine that were discovered and sold and for twenty years, millions of dollars were spent on rare bottles. One of the major discoverers of these wines was a German man named Hardy Rodenstock who said that they came from the cellar of a Venezuelan collector. Soon, like the boy who pointed out that the emperor had no clothes, people came to the realization that they had been duped and had bought many forged bottles of wine.

Since international law makes it difficult to nail an international swindler, it seems that he got away with it but the story of how so many experts and connoisseurs were fooled for such a long time is a lesson to be learned. ( )
  mamzel | May 5, 2013 |
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To my parents,

and in memory of Claire Wickham Woodroffe
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A hush had come over the West Room. Photographers' flashes strobed the standing-room-only crowd sliently, and the lone sound was the crisp voice of the auctioneer.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0307338789, Paperback)

“Part detective story, part wine history, this is one juicy tale, even for those with no interest in the fruit of the vine. . . . As delicious as a true vintage Lafite.” —BusinessWeek

The Billionaire’s Vinegar tells the true story of a 1787 Château Lafite Bordeaux—supposedly owned by Thomas Jefferson—that sold for $156,000 at auction and of the eccentrics whose lives intersected with it. Was it truly entombed in a Paris cellar for two hundred years? Or did it come from a secret Nazi bunker? Or from the moldy basement of a devilishly brilliant con artist? As Benjamin Wallace unravels the mystery, we meet a gallery of intriguing players—from the bicycle-riding British auctioneer who speaks of wines as if they are women to the obsessive wine collector who discovered the bottle. Suspenseful and thrillingly strange, this is the vintage tale of what could be the most elaborate con since the Hitler diaries. Updated for paperback with a new epilogue.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:23:04 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

It was the most expensive bottle of wine ever sold. In 1985, a 1787 bottle of Cha^teau Lafite Bordeaux--one of a cache unearthed in a bricked-up Paris cellar and supposedly owned by Thomas Jefferson--sold at auction for $156,000. The discoverer of the bottle was pop-band manager turned wine collector Hardy Rodenstock, who had a knack for finding extremely old and exquisite wines. But rumors soon arose. Why wouldn't Rodenstock reveal the exact location where it had been found? Was it part of a smuggled Nazi hoard? Or did his reticence conceal an even darker secret? Author Wallace also offers a history of wine, complete with vivid accounts of subterranean European laboratories where old vintages are dated and of Jefferson's colorful, wine-soaked days in France. This tale of what could be the most elaborate con since the Hitler diaries is also the debut of a new voice in narrative non-fiction.--From publisher description.… (more)

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