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Man buys nearly 125,000 bottles of wine at auction for $100

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Man buys nearly 125,000 bottles of wine at auction for $100

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. - Ken Jacques just bought nearly 125,000 bottles of wine for $100. That's less than a penny a dozen.

And this isn't cheap wine, either. It sells for $9 to $15 a bottle at your local store.

It all started when the 46-year-old San Luis Obispo wine distributor was sued. That led to a countersuit, which led to a six-figure monetary award for him, which led to a bizarre auction that ultimately found Jacques bidding alone.

Here's how it went down.

James Estate Winery in 2002 signed Jacques' company, Evaki Inc., to market its Australian products in the United States.

But a few months later, James Estate stopped paying Evaki's consulting fee, filed a lawsuit and claimed that his company was doing a poor job marketing its wine.

Next, according to a San Luis Obispo judge, James Estate sent letters to Evaki's clients, falsely saying Evaki was being prosecuted for stealing money.

Superior Court Judge Douglas Hilton sided with Evaki and Jacques, ruling that the Australian wine company should pay the local firm $399,000 for libel and breach of contract.

The wine company said it didn't have the money to pay it. But then Jacques' attorney, Jeffry Radding, learned the winery had more than 10,000 cases of wine sitting in a Sonoma, Calif., warehouse. So the judge ordered a wine auction to help James Estate pay off its judgment. Jacques and three others showed up for it in December.

One man arrived late, so he was out. The second prospective bidder was a representative from James Estate hoping to push up the bidding amount or buy back the wine, according to Jacques. When the man's liquor license didn't check out, the sheriff's staff escorted him from the warehouse.

That left Jacques and another bidder, a multimillionaire well known in the wine industry.

"He looked at me and checked me out like we were playing poker," Jacques said. "I anticipated we'd have a couple buyers there to purchase everything for $100,000 to $150,000."

Jacques threw down $100, and when the millionaire didn't bid, Jacques won.

"I could have easily bid just a dollar," Jacques said, in retrospect. "But that just didn't seem right - it was too sweet of a deal."

I bet he has a lot of new friends.


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Comments (9)

Talk about lucky that guy m... (Below threshold)
Rob Hackney:

Talk about lucky that guy must be happy as a pig in Sh*t.

Damn! Why didn't I know abo... (Below threshold)

Damn! Why didn't I know about this auction!?

Ah but some Aussie wine is ... (Below threshold)

Ah but some Aussie wine is crap...
The New Zelands are pretty good though...The Sauvignon Blancs from the Marlborough region are exceptional.
Australian wines? Not so much for me...I'd have laid down the dollar.
Still....my poor little 30 bottle cooler would have been happy even if I didn't partake. I have lots of friends who couldn't tell the difference between colored water and a good bottle of wine. Hell, they'll drink anything. Serve then the cheap and save the good!!

I bet his liver is quaking ... (Below threshold)

I bet his liver is quaking in fear...

- He's going to need one he... (Below threshold)

- He's going to need one hellofa cork screw....

Correct me if I'm wrong but... (Below threshold)
Bud Tugley:

Correct me if I'm wrong but, since James Estate originally owed 399K to him, he not only got the wine for $100 but also is still owed 398,900.00 from the James Estate. Sweet Deal!

Gotta love this country.

The upshot is, he not only ... (Below threshold)

The upshot is, he not only gets the wine but they still owe him the money.

The only way this would be better is if they were French.

I'm opening a bottle of (Aussie) merlot to celebrate.

i am a young argentinian wh... (Below threshold)
iggi marco:

i am a young argentinian who loves wine.....All i have to say is holy mother of god!!!!!!!, and i am not religious

well...religious, not religious...wine lover, or not i find myself lost in this world with this kinds of things happening.

All I have to say is good j... (Below threshold)

All I have to say is good job. Way to go after those dishonest business men... ya know






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