It was a business deal right out of a Hollywood movie. An investor in a Napa Valley winery ponied up $800,000 cash in an effort to make a fortune in fine wine. What he didn’t realize then was he was investing in his own murder.
“He shot me! He’s coming after me in his truck,” investor Emad Tawfilis shouted to a 9-1-1 dispatcher as he tried to outrun Robert Dahl through the California vineyard.
As California’s wine country begins to rebuild after wildfires that tore through it last fall, Tracy Smith and 48 HOURS investigate the unlikely showdown between Tawfilis and Dahl that gripped the region three years ago in “Grapes of Wrath,” to be broadcast Saturday, Jan. 6 (10:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network.
It’s a case that exposes the unusual relationship between Dahl, an entrepreneur drawn to the glamour of the Napa Valley wine scene, and Tawfilis, a wealthy Silicon Valley businessman willing to turn over his nest egg – in cash stuffed in a gym bag – to the entrepreneur with big plans.
“Money is intoxicating …and when you mix money and wine, I think you get intoxicated to the second or third power,” says Lew Perdue, a tech entrepreneur and wine writer.
Dahl and Tawfilis both wanted to be in the lucrative wine business. That didn’t work out as planned. The deal wasn’t as it seemed and led to mistrust and a lawsuit. What followed was a story about ambition, greed and stunning deception that unraveled in the same fields both men thought would make them richer.
What went wrong between these two millionaires? What led to murder in the vineyard?
48 HOURS: “Grapes of Wrath” is produced by Chuck Stevenson and Anthony Venditti. Greg Fisher and Michelle Fanucci are the development producers. Grayce Arlotta-Berner, Richard Barber and Jud Johnston are the editors. Peter Schweitzer is the senior producer. Nancy Kramer is the executive story editor. Susan Zirinsky is the senior executive producer.