Sour Grapes, Interesting Documentary on Wine Fraud
The story is one of Rudy Kurniawan, a Chinese/Indonesian immigrant, who quickly becomes a player in the wine auction business. He acquires a huge cellar very valuable wines, very quickly, and has a following that includes Hollywood types and other California rich guys. He gets big fast, and seems like a wunderkind of the high-priced vintage wine set. By all accounts, he had an amazing palate, and truly loved wines. But, he also was creating fraudulent bottles of vintage wines, and selling them. Creating recipes based on blends of other wines, and 'laundering' them through auction houses, initially through Acker Merrall & Condit in New York.
Rudy had accomplices, of various kinds, from various walks of life. The New York wine shop, and now a giant in the wine auction business, Acker Merrall & Condit, seems to have gotten off scot-free in the whole imbroglio, in spite of raking in massive profits. The ethics there are sketchy, and it's not that Rudy didn't get what he deserved, but for those professing to have expertise in this world, and making the money they made, to have gotten no punishment seems more than a little unjust.
I liked it, and I learned a lot about it. One of the players is Bill Koch, who underwrites much of the detective work that gets to the bottom of the fraud. Fun to see an elite billionaire with a wine cellar worth more than some third world countries.
I recommend it, I learned about wines, and it was one of those stories of real world intrigue, one that proved real life can be stranger that fiction.
See more at SourGrapesFilm.com.