Elite UWS Wine Store Slapped With $100K Fine for Selling Fake Booze

Acker Wines, which has been in business for a whopping 203 years, has racked up a slew of accolades since its inception in 1820.

The family-run establishment, located at 160 West 72nd Street (between Columbus and Amsterdam avenues), is billed as the “oldest wine shop in America” and has gained quite a reputation as a global wine auction house catering to the world’s wealthiest vino aficionados.


Their reign is not without controversy, however. In May 2021, Acker Wines was accused of selling counterfeit bourbon. An Inside Edition report uncovered that fraudulent bottles of Colonel E.H. Taylor Four Grain, which are produced at the Buffalo Trace Distillery in Frankfurt, Kentucky and retail for $1,000, were sold at the Upper West Side storefront. Now, they’re paying a hefty fine to the tune of $100,000 to settle the charges once and for all.

Acker released a statement to ILTUWS at the time, explaining, “A few months before we were contacted by Inside Edition, we became aware of a possible authentication issue with a select bottling of Colonel E.H. Taylor Four Grain Bourbon that we obtained from a private collector. After an immediate investigation into the authenticity of the bottles, we removed all of the bottles from our shelves and ceased all business with the providing collector. We immediately contacted and refunded all of the customers who had purchased bottles before our recall, save for one buyer who declined to provide his contact information. We now believe this was the bottle behind the Inside Edition story.”

Two years later, the New York Post revealed details from a monthly commissioners meeting of the New York State Liquor Authority (which occurred on February 1). Allegedly, the employees who purchased the unauthorized liquor from a private collector were aware it likely wasn’t authentic. Based on the complicated alcohol laws of New York, no individual may purchase from a private collection unless a licensed business is involved — but it’s nearly impossible to prove if the people in question were acting on behalf of the company or independently. John Kapon, Acker’s head honcho and a bona fide celebrity in the wine world, is taking full responsibility, and according to Acker’s lawyer, Kevin Danow, anyone involved in the initial incident is still employed by the business.


The Post also notes that fines from the NYSLA tend to ring in between $2,000 and $10,000, suggesting that Kapon’s willingness to pony up the much more substantial sum may have been his attempt to ensure no license was lost. We’ve reached out to Acker Wines for comment.


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