Wine and movies: a beautiful combination. Here are the five movies that helped us to discover
the joys of wine, or fall in love with it all over again!
A feature-length documentary released in 2004, Mondovino is a fascinating insight into the wine industry and its historic role in creating aristocratic dynasties and aggravating the class conflict. The workings and core ethics of small vineyards are set against the processes and imperatives of mass production in the context of a discussion about the commercialization of the wine industry and what this means for its future.
Written and directed by John Nossiter, this film was nominated at the Cannes Film Festival in 2004 and at the Cesar Awards in France in 2005. The movie itself took four years to film and was shot entirely on a handheld Sony video camcorder – footage largely comprises scenes shot by Nossiter himself while narrating. Film critics reacted largely positively to the movie, and it caused a significant stir in the French industry upon release.
Wine enthusiasts, especially, will appreciate this foray into the world of all things grape.
This critically-acclaimed, Oscar-winning film from 2005 follows two middle-aged men who decide to take a road trip together through California’s wine country. One of the men is imminently getting married and, for both, there is a sense of apathy and disappointment in the course their lives have taken. Sideways won an Oscar in the category of Best Writing Adapted from a Screenplay and was nominated in the categories of Best Supporting Actress, Best Support Actor, Best Picture and Best Director,
Funny and thought-provoking, the friends work their way through wine tastings across the region, running into various ‘situations’ along the way. The film has been widely praised as a brilliantly observed and compassionate take on how we cope with aging and the stories we tell ourselves about our own lives.
A great deal of wine is consumed, of course, over the course of the film; the characters enjoy bottles of pinot noir, chardonnay, sauvignon blanc, and syrah – to name a few.
A Good Year
This movie was released in 2006 and stars Russell Crowe and Marion Cotillard; it tells the story of an investment broker who, upon inheriting his uncle’s chateau and vineyard in France, journeys to Provence, https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/40190.A_Good_Year, and begins work on renovating the estate with a view to selling once the work has been completed. The film was directed by Ridley Scott, who, himself, owned a house in Provence for fifteen years, and it picked up the Satellite award for Cinematography and received a Critics’ Choice Award nomination for Best Young Actor.
If the film inspires you with its depiction of boutique wines and lovingly crafted vintages, then a wine club like this one https://www.top10.com/wine-clubs/reviews/firstleaf could be the perfect way for you to try out some wines that you’ve never come across before, or explore the varietals of a new region, as the characters in the film do. This particular wine club will send you regular consignments and then uses your feedback to provide you with bottles that perfectly match your taste. You can choose to receive six bottles of wine every one, three, or six months.
Red Obsession is a documentary from 2013 that charts the impact of the new Chinese mega-rich on the wine industry of Bordeaux. The film depicts how the UK and US have largely moved away from buying vintages from Bordeaux, and how the new, huge demand from the Chinese market for the region’s wines has pushed bottle prices to unbelievable highs – and explores just how sustainable this situation is and whether such a ‘bubble’ is beneficial or otherwise to the wine industry.
The film won in the Best Feature-Length Documentary and Best Direction in a Documentary categories at the Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts Awards (AACTA) and was also nominated for the Best Documentary Feature at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2013.
Based on a true story, this 2008 movie premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and follows a sommelier based in Paris called Steven Spurrier, who travels to the Napa Valley in 1976 to find the best vintages to take back with him to France, where it will feature in a blind taste test. This test became known as ‘The Judgement of Paris’ and resulted in (spoiler alert) Californian wine triumphing over French vintages, in a result that was a shock to all concerned.
The late Alan Rickman played Spurrier in the film, for which he won in the Best Actor category at the 2008 Seattle International Film Festival. And if you’re wondering what the term ‘bottle shock’ means? It refers to how the flavors of a bottle of wine can change if shaken during travel – occasionally, this can have a beneficial effect, but usually, it is detrimental to the quality.
The real-life Steven Spurrier later suggested that the film’s portrayal of events was highly inaccurate…although at the time, he was working on another movie project concerned with depicting the so-called ‘Judgement of Paris.’