Our intent in this working paper is to explore the extent of stealing, counterfeiting, and smuggling of wine without exploring in depth the extent to which such illegal practices specifically influence the price and quality of the wine that American consumers are purchasing. Our attention focuses primarily on bottled wine produced in the United States or imported.
As long as there are large ill-gotten gains to be had from stealing, counterfeiting, and smuggling, there will be persons willing to pursue those gains even at the risk of fines, jail time, and public disgrace. Just as hackers are able to penetrate the most secured and encrypted data bases, thieves, counterfeiters, and smugglers will find ways around even the most sophisticated detection and anti-fraud technology. The issue is not how to stop them but how best to limit the damage they do. We suggest nine ways to limit the ill-gotten gains of thieves, counterfeiters, and smugglers.