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Interesting Snippet

2011 March 4
by Mike

So I was at the barbershop this morning, and the woman cutting my hair asked what I do for a living. I told her I drink wine and pontificate about it. For some reason, she was curious to know what the most expensive bottle of wine ever sold was. I told her about the so-called Thomas Jefferson bottle that Malcolm Forbes purchased in 1985, which brought Hardy Rodenstock to prominence and set in motion the wine fraud imbroglio. She erupted in laughter when I said that Forbes paid $156,000 for the wine, which is now almost universally assumed to have been a fake. It wasn’t the money that floored her, it was the credulity—she couldn’t believe that someone as wealthy and presumably intelligent as Forbes had been so easily duped. “If you are that gullible, maybe you shouldn’t have that much money,” she said between roars of laughter. “Or you should just give it to me!” She didn’t stop chuckling for the rest of the time that I was in the chair (which explains why I now have a hideously uneven haircut and will be wearing a baseball cap for the next week). I suggested that she pick up a copy of Ben Wallace’s The Billionaire’s Vinegar; it has 300 pages of this stuff and will keep her in stitches for months. She wrote down the title and said she would try to buy the book this weekend. Moral of the story? While it would be great to see the people who made and sold counterfeit wines brought to justice, this is not an issue that arouses much sympathy in the court of public opinion.

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