Film review: Sour Grapes
The wine world has seen a handful of scandals over the past decade, involving everything from fake bottles that claimed to have originated from Thomas Jefferson’s personal collection, to someone attempting to poison the most precious vines in the world as a way to extort money from one of the world’s top vineyards.
We will soon see the film adaptation of Benjamin Wallace’s book, The Billionaire’s Vinegar, hit theaters staring Matthew McConaughey. This story centers around the scandal involving several bottles of fraudulent bottles supposedly owned by Thomas Jefferson.
Right after the book was published on that scandal, another one was already brewing that is the subject on a new documentary, Sour Grapes, that’s currently available for streaming on Netflix.
Sour Grapes is an introspective look at the widespread fraud that rocked wine auction houses in the late 2000’s centering around a mysterious character, Rudy Kurniawan, who was believed to have descended from Indonesian wealth.
Mr. Kurniawan, who is included in the film with an abundance of archival footage, spends an exorbitant amount of money on fine wines, attracting the attention of many of the top wine collectors, celebrities and premier wine merchants. While Mr Kurniawan consistently shares some of the most prized wines in the world with his newfound friends in the upper echelons of the wine trade, rumors begin to surface about his background, which still remains a mystery to those closest to him.
I don’t want to share much more of the story here, as it’s remarkable to watch it unfold on the screen, even if you are familiar with the outcome because of the inclusion of so much archival footage. The film pulls you into the time and place when the events are unfolding, and includes interviews with many of the people involved in the story.
I found this to be a brilliant documentary, a well told story, bolstered by the original video, a great musical score, and an investigative element that reached conclusions that may even surprise those most familiar with the story.
If you’re like me and enjoy wine documentaries, than this one is a no brainer. We wrote a piece that covers a few other must watch wine films here.
Have you seen Sour Grapes? What did you think about the movie or the story about Mr. Kurniawan? Let us know in the comments below.