One of my favorite movies on wine is the 2016 documentary, Sour Grapes. Sour Grapes which tells that story of con artist and wine forger Rudy Kurniawan. Kurniawan is suspected of making tens of thousands of bottles of fake wins and selling them at auctions to the wealthy, who despite their “exquisite” taste, could not tell the difference between Rudy’s wines and the real thing.
I will be the first to admit that I have a lot to learn about wine but the idea that someone was able to pass off fakes to people who pride themselves on their knowledge of wine and taste fascinates me.
So how did Kurniawan pull off his scam? According to the documentary, when investigators came into the home that Kurniawan stayed they found it was filled with empty bottles and printed labels of various high-end wine companies and vineyards. How the scammed worked, Rudy would take empty bottles from events he attended or bought, take them home and after cleaning and relabeling if necessary he would refill them with the cheaper wine and then pass them off as the more expensive wines on the label.
Rudy was able to pull off his scam for a few years before being brought to justice. Rudy is currently serving a ten-year prison sentence in California. This documentary has several twists and turns that make for a quick but engrossing look into the world of high-end wine and wine auctions and the potential threats lurking in the shadows.