There can’t be many people who haven’t fantasised about emptying a vintage bottle of vino, refilling it with cornershop plonk, serving it up to a glass-swishing expert and laughing as they start singing its praises.
While he presumably wasn’t in it for the lols, that’s pretty much what the man at the centre of ‘Sour Grapes’ did. In 2013, wine collector Rudy Kurniawan went to prison for selling millions of dollars’ worth of counterfeit ultra-fine wine at auction – but not before enjoying a good five years ripping off super-rich wine snobs.
Perhaps wise to the fact that super-rich wine snobs who describe fermented grape juice as though it’s the tears of Christ don’t especially garner sympathy, the film also foregrounds the honest, hard-working winemakers whose products Kurniawan knocked off. Most prominent among them is the detective-like Laurent Ponsot, who looks and sounds exactly like a fourth-generation Burgundy winemaker should.
The details of how Kurniawan was eventually found out may be fairly unsatisfying, and there’s space here for more depth about how he managed to pull the whole thing off and the ensuing trial, but it’s still a corking story, told with a good amount of sparkle.