Insure Your Wine

Wine Fraud and Arson Detailed In New Book

By in theft, Wine Insurance Comments Off on Wine Fraud and Arson Detailed In New Book

Investing in rare and fine wine can be a great way to enjoy wine while realizing a potential return. Like all investing, however, it doesn’t come without its risks. In a recent article for the New York Post, Larry Getlen, writes about two of the biggest crimes committed against the fine and rare wine industry, both of which are detailed in a new book by Frances Dinkelspiel.9781250033222

Outlined in Dinkelspiel’s new book, “Tangled Vines” and in the New York Post article, are the stories of Mark Anderson and Rudy Kurniawan, each of whom severely hurt the fine and rare wine industry in their own ways.

In 2005 Anderson, who had been illegally selling his clients’ rare wines for years, set fire inside of the massive Wines Central warehouse in California, where he rented a 2,500-square-foot bin to store his clients’ wine collections. The warehouse held over 4.5 million bottles of fine and rare wines which were stacked on pallets, stretching some forty feet high and the length of two football fields.

Over a quarter of a billion dollars worth of wine was destroyed in the fire and it took firefighters up to 8 hours to get the fire under control. Anderson was ultimately sentenced to 27 years in prison and ordered to pay $70.3 million in restitution, but even these harsh punishments wouldn’t help some of the small wineries who had most or their entire inventories stored at the warehouse. Many of them discovered that their insurance would not cover the damages because wine in a warehouse was considered “in transit.”

In addition to Anderson’s arson charges, a man named Rudy Kurniawan affected the fine wine industry, but in a different way – fraud. Kurniawan, who quickly became the wunderkind of the wine world, was at one point spending up to one million dollars a month to collect coveted wines and was said to have the greatest cellar in America.

Kurniawan began setting records at fine wine auctions, bringing in millions of dollars at each one. The problem was that many of these bottles were fraudulent and his operation was later discovered.

Even though Kurniawan’s fraud was eventually found out, it still inflicted real damage to collectors and the industry as a whole as collectors became more and more suspicious of the authenticity of many of the wines up for auction. Global auction sales of rare and fine wine dropped 19% in 2012 and another 13% in 2013. Some believed this was a direct result of the fraud committed by Kurniawan.

These two stories are the very extreme of what could happen to wine collectors and their collections, but they still offer sound lessons. Many collectors store their wine in off site storage facilities like Wines Central. And while wine storage facilities typically have systems in place to protect the collections they store, such as sprinklers, back-up generators and even humidity controls, it’s impossible to plan for events like arson or fraud.

While there is certainly some level of protection on these wine collections, most don’t realize the significant gaps in their insurance coverage. Having a comprehensive wine collection insurance policy can give peace of mind to wine collector or wineries.

A policy from Insure Your Wine will provide protection from drain or sewer back-up, while wine is in transit, from hurricanes or floods and much more. Learn more about our wine insurance services at


Read the entire New York Post article at




Still On The Hunt For The French Laundry Thief

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920x920Last Christmas dozens of bottles worth an estimated $300,000 were stolen from famed restaurant, French Laundry. One month later, the collection, with the exception of 4 bottles, were recovered in NC. But, the thief still remains at large.

According to the sheriff’s department the recovery was brokered through a lawyer who was less than helpful. None of the three sheriffs that flew to NC to recover the collection were able to meet with the person who gave up the collection.

Despite the strange way the collection was recovered the sheriff’s department is still determined to find the culprit. “This is still a priority for our agency,” said sheriff’s Capt. Doug Pike. There have been musing around Napa Valley that the theft was an inside job, “That is one of the theories that we have contemplated as well,” Pike said, according to a SF Chronicle article. Interestingly, the alarm was not armed the night before the theft took place.

One piece of the puzzle not mentioned in any of the articles is if the collection was returned in the same condition in which it left French Laundry. As collectors know slight changes to temperature and the vibrations of a nationwide move can wreak havoc on a wine’s value. For example, if the vibrations of the move caused air to seep into the bottle and loosen the cork the wine could spoil and lose its value.

This is why having a wine insurance policy from Insure Your is a smart move. While such a policy will not fend off possible thieves, it will protect you from theft as well as damage during transit in the unfortunate case that your collection is compromised. Having a policy to protect your investment can not only give you peace of mind, but can allow you to relax and enjoy your collection.



Famous Wine Merchant Loses Thousands of Dollars in Wine Due to Theft

By in theft, Wine Insurance Comments Off on Famous Wine Merchant Loses Thousands of Dollars in Wine Due to Theft

1+BBRweb+1Berry Bros. & Rudd (BB & R), the famous wine merchant to the Royals, lost crates full of “luxury” bottles of wine due to theft. Burglars cut a hole in the side of BB & R’s warehouse and stole some of the finest wines the wine merchant had on hand.

Cutting a hole into the wall of a warehouse seems dramatic, but for burglars the pay off can be worth it. Overall, the burglar’s haul is estimated at £100,000 (close to $155,445). One bottle was estimated to be worth £5,000 (or $7,772.25).

There is no doubt that BB & R have insurance policies in place that protects them from such an event, but the robbery goes to show the lengths in which robbers will go to score high-end bottles of wine.

For the collector, this becomes a cautionary tale as thieves and burglars become more advanced in their tactics they may be able to identify individual collectors that may have high worth bottles of wine in their collections.

Ensuring that your cellar and collection are covered from theft and damage is key to protecting your wine collection investment. Not only are you protecting your collection from burglary but from the damage and destruction that can be caused from a botched heist. Burglars and vandals may leave your collection susceptible to changes in temperature, humidity and many other damaging factors.

A wine insurance policy for will give you peace of mind and protect your collection from theft. A comprehensive wine insurance policy will also protect your collection from extreme temperature fluctuations, the backup of sewers and drains, and much more. Read our policy coverage, here.






Early Record Set for Single-Owner Wine Sale

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UntitledSotheby’s set an early 2015 record with the sale of a single-owner wine sale for HK$56 million (about 7.225 million USD). Not only was this the highest grossing sale of 2015, so far, it also set some other high bars.

  • 6th largest sale in Sotheby’s history
  • 4th largest single-owner wine sale
  • Leading sale of the year globally

Sotheby’s achieved a 100% sale of the collection with 50% of the lot exceeding their estimates. Burgundy represented around 75% of the total value of the wine collection. One of the key components of the collection were 800 bottles of Champagne which Robert Sleigh referred to as, “one of the best collections of Champagne to ever come to Asia.”

Not all collectors are as lucky as the collector that sold his collection in HK. Some collectors fall victim to many of the crucial concerns with storing wine. For example, if a portion of the collection had not been stored on its side the corks could become dry and let in air, spoiling the wine and their price at auction.

Wine insurance is another factor when investing in wine. Not having proper protection leaves the collection subject to spoilage from temperature fluctuations, or humidity changes or even theft, as seen at The French Laundry. Find out more about protecting your collection at our policy details page. If you would like to apply for a quote please fill out the following application.

Wine Community Applauding the Return of Burglarized Wine from the French Laundry

By in theft, Wine Insurance Comments Off on Wine Community Applauding the Return of Burglarized Wine from the French Laundry

On December 25th 2014 one of the country’s premiere restaurants, the French Laundry, was burglarized of close to $300,000 in fine wines.  At the time of the robbery, the restaurant was empty and the wine cellar alarm had not been set.


Now almost a month later, the cache of fine wines were found some 3,000 miles away in Greensboro, NC.

How the wines got 3,000 miles away still remains a mystery, but if they were transported across the county in non-refrigerated trucks, the chances they were damaged is high.

Red wine should typically be stored and kept at a temperature of 55 degrees. If the temperature of the wine is raised, even for a moderate amount of time, into the high 70s or low 80s it could be damaged beyond the point of a future sale.

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Premier Restaurant is Robbed of Over $300,000 in Fine Wine

By in theft, Wine Insurance Comments Off on Premier Restaurant is Robbed of Over $300,000 in Fine Wine

FrenchLaundryMany wine collectors are scratching their heads at the news that one of the best restaurants in America, the French Laundry, could have been burglarized.  Chef Thomas Keller maintains a staff of over 120 people, and the French Laundry operates nearly round the clock. Despite the high level of security, someone managed to make off with over $300,000 of gems from the French Laundry cellar on Christmas Day, when the restaurant was closed for renovation.  This should be a wakeup call to all collectors since most cellars are even more vulnerable.

In the case of French Laundry, the wine thief had a nose for high-end wine, bypassing hundreds of bottles of lesser vintages to nab the priciest wines in the collection. In the process, the thief made off with 76 bottles including some French Burgundy treasures, Screaming Eagle, and most notably, Domaine de la Romaneé-Conti, which sells for more than $10,000 a bottle internationally.

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