Royal Wine Merchants

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Nick Gangas
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Royal Wine Merchants

Post #1  Postby Nick Gangas » November 8th 2011, 8:32pm

Ok I know who these guys are. Does anybody have any experience buying wine from them. They are starting to pop up on Winesearcher alot lately.


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Joe D
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Re: Royal Wine Merchants

Post #2  Postby Joe D » November 8th 2011, 9:06pm

I've bought from them in the past.

No issues with the condition of bottles received.

I'm on their email list - once they advertised Jadot Beaune "Couchereux" but sent me "Chouacheux". I was annoyed but kept the wine anyway.

Had a shipping snafu - shipped in the summer to AZ - that was resolved promptly.

I ordered some 1999 Colin-Deleger from them at a good price (what an idiot!). I specifically asked what they thought of the wine and was assured "Daniel likes it". When the first 3 bottles were oxidized I asked them to take the remaining bottles back and they did.

All in all if they have something you want you should be OK buying from them.
J o eD u r n e l l
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Bill Klapp (deactivated)
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Re: Royal Wine Merchants

Post #3  Postby Bill Klapp (deactivated) » November 9th 2011, 5:11am

I picked up an interesting Royal offering on Wine-Searcher yesterday: the 1961 Jaboulet-Aine La Chapelle, which has been an $8,000-$11,000 NET auction wine for years, at $2,895. I suspect that you can also get a substantial discount for 10- and 50-case lots, if you don't mind waiting a few months for Hardy to make them. Either that, or perhaps a mid-BOTTLE fill...
Michael Lewis
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Re: Royal Wine Merchants

Post #4  Postby Michael Lewis » November 9th 2011, 7:52am

Ummm...paging David Zyl3rb3rg. Need your input in this thread.
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Jay Miller
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Re: Royal Wine Merchants

Post #5  Postby Jay Miller » November 9th 2011, 8:36am

I've had nothing but good experiences with them.
Ripe fruit isn't necessarily a flaw.
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Berry Crawford
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Re: Royal Wine Merchants

Post #6  Postby Berry Crawford » November 9th 2011, 8:55am

Were these the guys connected to the Harvey Rodenstock mess?
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Re: Royal Wine Merchants

Post #7  Postby D@v1dZ » November 9th 2011, 9:23am

They are very close to my office so I shop there often. I am aware of the history and I don't, and wouldn't, buy big-ticket wines from them. My purchases, which have generally been in the $30-75 range, have been very successful - the older wines are in good condition.
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L e o F r o k i c
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Re: Royal Wine Merchants

Post #8  Postby L e o F r o k i c » November 9th 2011, 9:28am

William L Koch seems so ... Uk8mmiGPQw

Case 9:11-cv-81197-DTKH Document 1 Entered on FLSD Docket 10/27/2011 Page 2 of 48Case 9:11-cv-81197-DTKH Document 1 Entered on FLSD Docket 10/27/2011 Page 2 of 48

Plaintiff William I. Koch ("Koch" or "Plaintiff'), on personal knowledge as to himself,
and on information and belief as to defendants Royal Wine Merchants, Ltd. ("Royal"), Daniel
Oliveros ("Oliveros"), and Jeff Sokolin ("Sokolin") (collectively, "Defendants") as and for his
Complaint alleges:
1. Rare bottles of wine command prices in the thousands of dollars, creating strong
incentives to counterfeit them. This has drawn sophisticated wine counterfeiters to the rare wine
market. For years, these counterfeiters have duped wine collectors worldwide into paying
millions of dollars for near worthless bottles of wine.
2. Wine counterfeiters employ a variety of techniques. One technique is to obtain an
authentic empty wine bottle, fill it with inauthentic wine, affix a counterfeit label that
misrepresents the nature, vintage, and age of the wine inside, and seal it with an old cork. A
counterfeit bottle of high quality can often fool even meticulous collectors. It is not uncommon
for wine to go bad from legitimate causes such as poor storage conditions. Therefore, if a bottle
does not taste right, collectors often view it simply as bad luck. Not until Plaintiffs recent
investigation has the problem of Royal's counterfeit wine become known to Plaintiff.
3. Royal, Oliveros, and Sokolin have been instrumental in importing, promoting, and
selling counterfeit rare wine to the American market. Koch's investigation has recently revealed
that from at least 1998 to 2008, Defendants knowingly purchased hundreds of bottles of
counterfeit wine and injected them into the marketplace. If real, the hundreds of counterfeit
bottles Defendants injected into the marketplace would have been worth more than eight million
4. Defendant Royal Wine Merchants is a corporation organized in New York St¿te
that operates a retail wine store in New York City. At least as recently as May 201I, Royal's
website claimed it had "been drinking and selling the great wines of the world for twenty years,"
and that its cellar was "filled with the greatest producers on earth."
(, last checked May 17,20rr).
5. Defendants Oliveros and Sokolin are, and have been at all times relevant to this
Complaint, the principals of Royal. The New York Department of State website indicates that
Sokolin is the Principal Executive Officer and Chief Executive Offrcer of Royal. Koch alleges
on information and belief that Oliveros is or has otherwise held himself out to be a principal of
Royal. Furthermore, Oliveros is and has been at all times relevant to this Complaint the chief
sales manager of Royal. On information and belief, at aIl times relevant to this Complaint,
Defendants Oliveros and Sokolin were each and both responsible for Royal's day to day
6. In the fine wine community, Defendants Sokolin and Oliveros are and were
known as the "sexy boys." They often described the wines they sold as "sexy juice." Defendants
Sokolin and Oliveros lived a lavish lifestyle, staying at ltxury hotels andthrowing extravagant
parties. They had a reputation for acquiring, promoting, and selling extremely rare and valuable
vintages of fine wine. As described in the online magazine Slate:
what really set the sexy boys apart was their seemingly limitless
stock of legendary old wines, many of them in supersize bottles-
quantities and formats that no one else could get their hands on.
They bombarded clients with faxes touting their latest finds:
multiple bottles of 196l Latour à Pomerol ("Kinky Juice!,'),
magnums of 1945 Mouton Rothschild ("our latest sexy purchðe"),
a double magnum of 1949 Cheval Blanc ("Perfect condition. Better
than l947lll Trust me!!!"). It seemed too good to be true.
Apparently, it was.
Mike Steinberger, what's in the Bottle?, SLnre, June 14,2010, available at
http : / / www . slate.
c oml idl 22 5 67 7 5 .
7. In the 1990s, Defendants Sokolin and Oliveros met and befriended Hardy
Rodenstock, a well-known German wine counterfeiter who has for decades been involved in the
tasting and promotion of rare vintages of wine. Since the mid 1980s, Rodenstock has created, or
directed others to create, numerous bottles of counterfeit wine that he claims to have
"discovered" in exotic locations or to have acquired from persons he will not reveal. Since 1998,
Rodenstock has introduced well over two thousand bottles of counterfeit rare wine into the
United St¿tes market.
8. Records of a wine importing, distributing, and brokering company located in New
York and of a third parfy custom broker and freight forwarder located in New Jersey
(collectively, "import records"), reveal that from at least 1998 to 2008, Defendants served as the
primary importer of Rodenstock's counterfeit wine to the United States. The import records
reveal that virtually all the wine Defendants imported from Rodenstock purported to come from
the finest French châteaux, to date from the most prized vintages, and to be bottled in the rarest
sized bottles. It tums out the wines were too fine, too prized, and too rare to be genuine.
Representatives some of the châteaux have revealed to Koch that certain vintages and bottle-
sizes Defendants imported were likely never produced at all, and others were never produced in
the volume Defendants imported them. Still others were produced in the volume that Defendants
imported, but not in sufficient quantities to make it realistic for Defendants to have imported the
volume they imported.
9. Defendants at all times relevant to this Complaint knew that the wine Rodenstock
delivered to them was counterfeit or likely counterfeit. Nevertheless, on information and belief,
after a reasonable opportunity for further investigation or discovery, Koch will likely have
evidentiary support to establish that Defendants entered into an agreement with Rodenstock-
whether tacit or implicit-to import, promote, and sell his counterfeit wine as genuine.
Defendants then carried out their agreement for more than ten years, from at least 1998 to at least
2008. During this period, Defendants imported and sold Rodenstock's wine into the American
markeþlace, turning a handsome profit, and injuring many unsuspecting victims, including
10. Koch has recently discovered that he purchased at least 32 bottles that Defendants
imported and sold into the United States markeþlace. Koch purchased the 32 bottles from
Defendants indirectly and through multiple transactions. Despite knowing that each bottle was
counterfeit or probably counterfeit at the time they imported and sold it, Defendants represented
that each of the 32 bottles was genuine.
11. The 32 bottles Koch purchased, because they are counterfeit, ffe worth
substantially less than Koch paid for them. Koch would not have purchased them if he knew or
suspected them to be counterfeit. Koch has suffered damages in an amount to be determined
at trial, but no less than $547,693, the amount Koch paid for the 32 counterfeit bottles. Koch
brings this suit against Defendants in order to be made whole, to demonstrate the culpability of
Defendants, and to enjoin Defendants from continuing to sell counterfeit wine to an unsuspecting
"Hey Justin -- yer a fookin' dork!" Bob Wood
My wife is ITB
philip vondra
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Location: NYC NY

Re: Royal Wine Merchants

Post #9  Postby philip vondra » November 9th 2011, 9:31am

I have bought a few bottles from them and in general everything was good, but I did have 2 corked mags. I told them about this and they basically said i was rather unlucky. I doubt I would buy from them again.
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Howard Horwitz
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Re: Royal Wine Merchants

Post #10  Postby Howard Horwitz » November 9th 2011, 11:37am

What I don't understand is why they get picked up on WineSearcher yet don't have a searchable database of their inventory online. It seems they are sharing their inventory data with Wine Searcher yet not with the public. Very strange and off putting for me.
Howard Horwitz
Paul McDermott
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Joined: November 16th 2011, 10:22pm

Re: Royal Wine Merchants

Post #11  Postby Paul McDermott » November 16th 2011, 10:46pm

Wine-Searcher allows merchants with no online inventory to submit their wine lists manually. You can verify this by having a look at their merchant listing page e.g.
Angus Duncan
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Joined: June 17th 2009, 1:28am

Re: Royal Wine Merchants

Post #12  Postby Angus Duncan » November 17th 2011, 11:18am

They got hold of my email address from somewhere and send me daily emails with partly hand-written notes and pricing details on them. I have always found this curious.
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Howard Horwitz
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Location: Los Angeles

Re: Royal Wine Merchants

Post #13  Postby Howard Horwitz » November 17th 2011, 11:48am

Paul McDermott wrote:Wine-Searcher allows merchants with no online inventory to submit their wine lists manually. You can verify this by having a look at their merchant listing page e.g.

Thank you for explaining. It makes my designation of this merchant as "excluded" within Wine Searcher easy to justify. And of course the daily emails go straight to the spam folder.
Howard Horwitz

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