Maureen Downey, DWS, CWE, FWS - Owner, Founder, and Managing Partner of Chai Consulting LLC and WineFraud.com (2005-Present)
Maureen Downey, DWS, CWE, FWS, is an Independent, globally recognized Wine and Spirits Expert and published author specializing in appraisals, valuation, authentication, collection creation and curation as well as liquidation, including consignment oversight, of fine and rare wine and spirits. With 25 years of experience, she is the foremost authority on wine authentication, counterfeit wine, and wine and spirits fraud in the world. Expert witness experience involving counterfeit bottles, loss due to fire, hurricane and electrical outage, divorce and estate needs, and insurance claims.
Ms. Downey directs an international team managing private wine collections, advising retailers / resellers in risk mitigation and best practices, creating and managing restaurant wine programs, and training teams and individuals in wine and spirits authentication. She offers wine and spirits bottle authentication services all over the world with Chai Vault certification – blockchain secured proof of authenticity and provenance – or detailed reporting to assist swift remuneration of bad purchases.
Ms. Downey is the owner of Winefraud.com, the first of its kind online resource assisting individuals and trade professionals to combat wine and spirits fraud including avoiding the purchase or sale of counterfeit bottles. She advises the world’s top collectors, auction houses, wine merchants, restaurants, and hotels, as well as the FBI and US Department of Justice (DOJ).
Litigation Support - Maureen Downey and Chai Consulting have been instrumental in winery and wine collection loss claims, criminal and civil litigation, as well as private appraisals for insurance, tax, and estate needs.
Ms. Downey has been very active working with wineries, restaurants, vendors, private collectors, insurance companies and attorneys in the past years with all the wildfires in California’s wine country. Notable cases include the Premier Cru bankruptcy and fraud resulting in US$70million in undelivered wine, The French Laundry wine theft, the Rudy Kurniawan case, Koch v. Greenberg, Gundlach v. Soutirage, JJ’s v. Time Warner Cable, as well as the successful conviction of several wine fraudsters and counterfeit victims.
Services are provided to attorneys representing plaintiff and defendant, private individuals, wineries, and insurance companies involving:
Winery Loss due to Fire / Natural Disaster
Wine Damage from Electrical Outages
Wine Collection Loss (Theft, Fire, Improper Shipping, Storage)
Fraud Prevention / Counterfeit Bottles
Wine Shipping and Handling
Divorce Asset Division
Winery Formation and Dissolution Disputes
Estate Planning and Collection Liquidation
Authentication and Renumeration for Bad Purchases
Degrees / Certifications:
Diploma in Wines & Spirits from the Wine & Spirit Education Trust in London, England
Certified Wine Educator - Distinction of Merit for achieving second-highest score globally