Kurniawan film goes into production

A documentary about the life of recently convicted wine fraudster Rudy Kurniawan has gone into production.

According to Screen Daily, the film, due to be called Sour Grapes, is scheduled for completion at the end of the year.

The film is being directed by Jerry Rothwell, whose credits include Deep Water – a documentary about the disastrous 1968 round-the-world yacht race starring Tilda Swinton, and Heavy Load, about a year in the life of a punk band.

Jerry Rothwell

Jerry Rothwell

It is set to chart the rise and fall of the Indonesian-born wine collector, from starting out as a young collector to the years before his arrest, when he was known as “Dr. Conti” and had a penchant for expensive watches and fast cars.

UK-based documentary distributor Dogwoof has been signed up to handle pre-sales for the film, which marks the third partnership between Dogwoof and Met Film Production following Town of Runners and Village at the End of the World.

Rothwell attended Kurniawan’s trial in New York last December, where he was found guilty on multiple counts of fraud worth over US$1m.

During the trial, the court heard how Kurniawan turned the kitchen of his LA home into a “wine factory” where he made empty wine bottles look like old rare bottles, filled them with cheap wine and sold them for thousands of dollars.

In an FBI search of his home, agents found counterfeit labels for wines dating as far back as 1899, including labels for all the Bordeaux first growths as well as Burgundies such as Domaine Ponsot and Domaine de la Romanée-Conti.

They also found hundreds of used corks, rubber stamps for vintage dates, foil capsules and hardened wax which, when heated, could seal the mouths of bottles.

Kurniawan is to be sentenced on 24 April and faces up to 40 years in prison.

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