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Wine film sparks fresh row

Published:  23 July, 2008

British merchant threatens to sue the makers of new film Bottle Shock.

Spurrier is believed to have written to Randall Miller, the director of Bottle Shock, threatening legal action unless references to himself and his former businesses - Les Caves de la Madeleine and L'Academie du Vin - are removed from the film.

Connoisseurs were stunned in 1976 when US wines won in both the red and white categories. It marked an end to the superiority of French wines and put New World wines on the map.

Spurrier said: "There is hardly a word that is true in the script and many pure inventions as far as I am concerned. It's deeply insulting.

They are depicting me as an impossibly effete snob. The idea of Alan Rickman playing me is most bizarre and about as far from historical truth as one can get. He's a really nice guy, but I was a very young 34 at the time."

Producers of The Judgement of Paris are lining up Hugh Grant or Jude Law for the role.

Spurrier said that he plans to contact the surviving 1976 tasters to warn them about Bottle Shock.

Nadine Jolson, a spokesman for Bottle Shock, claimed the real reason for the threats is concern that The Judgement of Paris might be overshadowed, in the same way that the film Infamous was overshadowed by its rival Capote last year.

She said filming on Bottle Shock will not stop and none of the names will be changed. "We're talking about the same historic event, but nobody owns the rights to that," she said, adding that their script was written in 2004, two years before Taber finished his book about the event.