Sheffield Doc/Fest Review: Sour Grapes

Wine has become big business. What was once a gentle hobby for the affluent has now become a huge global economy with hundreds of thousands of dollars changing hands for the rarest wines. With some auction houses specialising in this market, Burgundy often generates most money interest. Domaine Posnot is one of the most renowned wine producers in Burgundy and it was Laurent Posnot, the head vintner, who noticed something awry when some of their wines were up for auction in New York.

During the economic boom at the turn of the century, small clubs sprang up in New York and LA of super-rich business men who met-up to share their appreciation of wine. When a young Rudy Kurniawan joined, a mix of generosity and charisma led him to becoming a popular member. He soon started buying huge amounts of wine through an auction house, Acker, Merrall & Condit, later selling it off in the same manner. When Laurent Posnot noticed an irregularity, along with a former FBI agent and a billionaire collector they uncovered a multi-million dollar fraud.

Sour Grapes is brimming with full-bodied characters, intrigue and amusement. The fact that something like this can happen in this day and age is beyond me, with some people having a lot more money than sense. Directors Jerry Rothwell and Reuben Atlas highlight the rather shady trade in win which remains often shrouded given the reluctance of victims to alert the public to a problem in their cellar. Sour Grapes is a fascinating insight into the a rather mysterious and entitled world.

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