Of Billionaires, Ambiguous Bottles & the Big Screen

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By Courtney Cochran

oldwinebottle.jpgWhen oil magnate William Koch bought four bottles of wine purported to once belong to Thomas Jefferson - and found in a bricked-up cellar in Paris, no less, where the ex-President spent time as an ambassador to France - he thought he was buying a piece of history.  Not long after the purchase, however, the charismatic billionaire launched into an exhaustive self-funded investigation into the authenticity of the bottles, which he had become convinced were fakes.  The lawsuit Koch eventually filed (and which was recently thrown out of court) made headlines worldwide and grabbed the attention of history buffs, wine collectors and consumers alike with its scintillating story of deception, huge sums of money and larger-than-life players.

Now, it looks as though Koch's story may be told on the big screen, too.  Decanter reports that two Hollywood outfits have separately purchased rights to the tale as it's told in a soon-to-be-released book about the affair, The Billionaire's Vinegar by Benjamin Wallace, and in a recent New Yorker article about the scandal.  Whether either party will eventually make a film from the rights they've purchased is unknown, but the undeniable appeal of the story coupled with the recent success of other wine-related films (think Sideways, Mondovino) certainly bodes well. 

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