MICHAEL EGAN FINE WINE EXPERT | EXPERT EN GRANDS CRUS
MICHAEL EGAN | WINE EXPERT
I am an expert in fine and rare wines with more than thirty five years of experience. From 1981 to 2005 I worked in the wine department at Sotheby's, becoming a director. I moved to Bordeaux in 2005 and since then I have been authenticating private and commercial wine collections around the world. Thanks to many years spent inspecting old and rare wines in European cellars for auction, where in many instances the wines had lain undisturbed since original purchase shortly after bottling, I am in the fortunate position to know what a genuine bottle should look like, hence my speciality in detecting counterfeit bottles.
I provide various services as required by the client. They range from inspecting the wine and producing a basic report right through to full litigation. However, on a more usual basis, I give my opinion on bottles that my clients already have or are looking to purchase. I also locate genuine bottles for purchasers. I give presentations to corporate wine clients, wine buyers and wine sommeliers on careful stock management and purchasing with the emphasis on the problem of counterfeit wine.
I have been the principal expert for the plaintiff in the two major wine counterfeiting trials that have occured concerning fine wine:
Koch v. Greenberg and United States v. Kurniawan, both of which occured in 2013.
In the Koch v. Greenberg trial, my role as principal expert witness included examination of the wines in question, the provision of a comprehensive report for use at trial, two full days at deposition and a day in the witness box at triall. The jury found in favour of Mr Koch and awarded damages against Mr Greenberg.
In the United States v. Kurniawan trial, I was employed by the United States Department of Justice to examine the counterfeiting evidence seized by the FBI and to link it to counterfeit bottles sold or offered for sale by Kurniawan. I was the principal expert witness at trial, during which I gave a detailed presentation to the jury as to how Kurniawan produced his fake bottles. I also underwent cross examination by the defendant's Council. The jury found Mr Kurniawan guilty and he is undergoing a ten year prison sentence and has been ordered to pay more than 28 million US dollars in restitution.
Mr Kurniawan's assets were seized by the US government, including his wine collection. In the Summer of 2015, the United States Marshall Service tasked me to inspect the most valuable bottles from his collection prior to auctioning them. I removed 199 counterfeit items out of the 724 that I inspected. All the counterfeit bottles were marked "COUNTERFEIT" and were publicly destroyed.
In December 2015 I was the expert witness for the renowned Norwegian chef, Geier Skeie in his court case against the wine collector Olaf Lomsdalen. Mr Lomsdalen had sold him old and valuable bottles, many of which where discovered on inspection to be out of condition and thus unsaleable. Thanks to my testimony concerning these bottles, a significant price adjustment was granted in favour of Mr Skeie.
My expertise has been used in other litigation on behalf of the plaintiff, all of which reached settlement prior to trial, this included Russell Frye v. The Wine Library in 2006 and WIlliam Koch v. Royal WIne Merchants in 2014. My reports have also been used in insurance investigations and litigation.
I am an assigned expert with the Compagnie Nationale des Experts MCTH in Paris and the Compagnie des Experts de Justice de Bordeaux. In January 2015 I was accepted as a registered expert at the Bordeaux Appeal Court.