Academy Award winner Matthew McConaughey will return to the realm of playing real people with The Billionaire’s Vinegar – a dramatization of real events, based on the 2008 book The Billionaire’s Vinegar: The Mystery Of The World’s Most Expensive Bottle Of Wine, by Benjamin Wallace. The story details the controversy surrounding Hardy Rodenstock, a collection of fraudulent wine, a billionaire, and Thomas Jefferson.
Rodenstock – a former band manager and publisher – had a reputation for sourcing and collecting extremely old and rare wines. By Rodenstock’s account, the saga began in 1985, when he received a phone call from Paris offering him a wine collection that had been found in an old building. The labels indicated that they hailed from the late eighteenth century, and they were engraved with the initials, “Th. J.” Taking possession of the wines, Rodenstock then sold them on, setting the world record for most expensive single bottle of wine ever sold at auction.
By 2005, billionaire Bill Koch had purchased several of the ‘Jefferson wines’ and prepared to exhibit them at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. Ahead of the display, the museum requested evidence of the authenticity of the bottles, and the process that followed uncovered the fact that the wines were, in fact, fraudulent. A lengthy legal battle between Rodenstock and Koch ensued.
The adapted screenplay for The Billionaire’s Vinegar comes from Michael Brandt and Derek Haas (3:10 To Yuma) and numbers Jason Blumenthal and Will Smith among its producers. A director has yet to be assigned, but with Matthew McConaughey firmly on board, the momentum behind this project will undoubtedly increase rapidly. The actor has made excellent choices in roles in recent years, with the mix of television (True Detective), independent film (The Dallas Buyers Club) and Hollywood blockbusters (Interstellar), demonstrating that his interest is in quality material, regardless of the medium. His involvement is a clear indication that this film is one to watch out for.