Vanquish Montrachet (pic: Vanquish)

Vanquish Montrachet (pic: Vanquish)

We have rounded up some of the most controversial DRC lots offered at auctions including flagrant fakes and some close-calls.

1. 2002 & 2002 Romanee Conti

Sotheby's - France Nov. 2, 2021_______Acker Auction HK Nov. 6, 2021_____Acker Auction HK Sept. 25, 2021_____Sotheby's Auction HK October 3, 2020 (pic: Don Cornwell)
Sotheby’s – France Nov. 2, 2021, Acker Auction HK Nov. 6, 2021, Acker Auction HK Sept. 25, 2021, Sotheby’s Auction HK October 3, 2020 (pic: Don Cornwell via

Most recently in November, auction house Acker Merrall & Conduit has withdrawn two bottles of Domaine de la Romanée-Conti offered in two separate Hong Kong auctions due to their authenticity concerns.

At its September 25 sale in Hong Kong, Acker sold a 6 liter 2002 DRC Romanee Conti for HK$3,087,600 (US$398,400), which set a new world record at the time. Then Acker offered another 6 liter bottle of 2000 DRC at the November 6 auction.

According to, the total production volume of 2000 and 2002 Romanee Conti were 6,286 and 5,548 bottles respectively.

In terms of the wine’s tasting experience, the respected wine critic Jancis Robinson has rated the 2000 vintage with 19 marks out of 20 as the aroma “takes you to another dimension than simple fruit”. She has also given out 19 marks out for the 2002 vintage and described it as “very direct attack, very refreshing and frank”.

Unfortunately, both DRC bottles offered by Acker may not be the above-mentioned divine wines as they were alleged by the LA-based lawyer and wine fraud expert Don Cornwell to be “clearly counterfeit”. 

It may be hard for buyers or collectors to tell at once, but Cornwell found “a series of identical defects” regarding neck labels, wax capsules and printing alignments on both Acker’s bottles after comparing with Sotheby’s offers of the same size vintages in Joseph Lau’s sale in Hong Kong and another sale in France.

The lawyer wrote on an online forum that, “Both of the Acker 6 Liter bottles had short wax capsules of mixed brown and violet color (with obvious dark mottling from the mixed wax) with a flat finish instead of the 3 plus inch long violet colored glossy wax finish on the original DRC 6 liter bottles from the 2000 and 2002 vintages.”

Although the timeline of Acker’s follow-up actions is not fully clear, the auction house said the 2002 DRC sale has been rescinded and the 2000 DRC has been withdrawn from auction when approached by Vino Joy News.

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