The greatest wine fraudster in history, Rudy Kurniawan, conned fine wine lovers out of tens of millions of dollars by producing copycat counterfeit wine, of the world’s rarest Grand Cru wines in his Los Angeles kitchen.
Runtime: 85 mins
With pockets full of cash, charisma and a preternatural memory for vintages, an unassuming young Rudy Kurniawan earns the reputation of a wine savant, surrounding himself with some of high society’s most fervent wine connoisseurs. But when Bill Koch, a top US collector, and, Laurent Ponsot, a Burgundian wine producer, discover suspicious bottles, a humorous and suspenseful investigation begins into one of the most ingenious cons of our time.
This feature length film unfolds Rudy’s story though the eyes of his friends, his fellow wine enthusiasts and his French adversary. It draws on a colorful cast of characters from New York socialites to celebrity wine buffs. An FBI sting takes us into the complex world of Bourgogne wines, made in small quantities by wine makers who view their products as a form of art. But all art has a close kinship with illusion, and Kurniawan had himself mastered an art-form as he turned from connoisseur to conman.
The Hollywood Reporter stated the filmmakers “thoroughly and concisely detailed the progression of Kurniawan’s fraud in a style that merges an Antiques Roadshow-style fascination with rare wines with a Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous-type fixation on the spending habits of the overly affluent.”
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Directors: Reuben Atlas & Jerry Rothwell
Bill Koch – businessman and collector
Brad Goldstein – Bill Koch’s spokesperson
Corie Brown – food and wine writer, Zester Daily
David Fredston – private equity investor, Sole Source Capital
Don Cornwell – lawyer and burgundy wine expert
Eddie Tansil – wanted Indonesian embezzler (archive footage), Kurniawan’s uncle.
James Wynne – FBI agent specialized in counterfeit goods (as Jim Wynne)
Jason Hernandez – prosecutor in the Rudy Kurniawan case
Jay McInerney – novelist and wine columnist
Jefery Levy – Jef Levy
Jerome Mooney – Rudy Kurniawan’s defense attorney (as Jerry Mooney)
John Kapon – wine merchant and auctioneer (archive footage)
Laurent Ponsot – wine producer in Burgundy, France
Maureen Downey – wine consultant
Rajat Parr – sommelier
Rudy Kurniawan – convicted wine counterfeiter (archive footage)
Vincent Veridiamo – Rudy Kurniawan’s defense attorney