Burgundy vines, including premiers crus, previously owned by convicted wine fraudster Rudy Kurniawan have been sold off by the US government to raise money for his victims.

  • Rudy Kurniawan Burgundy vineyard stake sold by officials to de Montille family
  • Kurniawan had joined a consortium to help fund the original vineyard purchase

Etienne de Montille confirmed to Decanter.com that he and his family have bought Kurniawan’s former stake in the Burgundy vineyard venture for around $726,000.

De Montille paid the US government for the vineyard stake. Officials seized Kurniawan’s property after his conviction and subsequent 10-year prison sentence for making and selling fakes of some of the world’s finest wines.

Kurniawan’s penchant for fast cars and luxury watches has been well-documented, but his part-ownership of Burgundy vineyards was not such common knowledge.

In 2006, Kurniawan joined a consortium, including de Montille and known as Etienne & Partners, to help finance the purchase of 42ha of Burgundy vineyards, including Beaune premiers crus. One highly regarded vineyard is Vosne-Romanée Aux Malconsorts. The vines were bought from the Thomas-Moillard estate and Kurniawan took a stake of nearly 23%.

Burgundy was a speciality for Kurniawan, who was known as ‘Dr Conti’ because of his penchant for Domaine de la Romanée-Conti wines.

At one point, Kurniwan lied to fine wine collectors by telling them that he had a special cellar full of rare Burgundy, according to FBI testimony heard during his trial in December 2013.

In reality, Kurniawan was secretly concocting sophisticated counterfeits in his Los Angeles kitchen and printing out labels on a home computer.

Late last year, US officials crushed counterfeits found in Kurniawan’s private cellar. Genuine wines found in the cellar were sold off.

There has never been any suggestion that Kurniawan’s vineyard business partners in Burgundy knew of, or were involved in, his mass wine fraud operation in California.

In December 2015, Kurniawan lost an appeal against his conviction.