Wine expert settles in lawsuit about Jefferson wine hoax

Wine expert settles in lawsuit about Jefferson wine hoax

"The longest-running mystery in the modern wine world" adds another chapter today with news that octagenerian wine expert Michael Broadbent has settled his suit against Random House, which last year published The Billionaire’s Vinegar, Benjamin Wallace’s account of faked wine bottles that were said to belong to Thomas Jefferson. Wallace spoke at Monticello last June about his book and the faked wine, including a 1787 Chateau Lafite that was purchased at acution 24 years ago by the family of Malcolm Forbes for a record price of $156,450.

Broadbent enters into the picture as the wine expert for Christie’s, the auction house that sold the phony vin to Forbes and and later another bottle to American businessman Bill Koch. In his suit, Broadbent claimed defamation of character. According to, the website of Decanter magazine, which identifies Broadbent as its longest-running columnist, Random House "apologised unreservedly for making the allegations and accepted that they were untrue. It has given an undertaking not to repeat the allegations and paid Mr Broadbent undisclosed damages." 

Responding to the news today on, Wallace says, "It is unfortunate that Michael Broadbent has chosen to blame the messenger, and doubly so that he is blaming the messenger for something the messenger is not actually saying. I have never felt that Mr. Broadbent acted in bad faith, and contrary to his claims, I maintain that The Billionaire’s Vinegar does not suggest that he did."

On, Broadbent’s son Bartholomew today posted the press release from his father’s attorneys. Read it here and then comment yourself below.

Benjamin Wallace calls it "unfortunate" that Michael Broadbent "has chosen to blame the messenger" in the matter of the fake Jefferson wine bottles.

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