Films about wine to enjoy at home
Author: Derek Walklate
I was surprised how many films there are relating to wine and I must confess that I need to watch more. Over the next few weeks (and there is no better time than during a national lockdown) I will watch as many wine movies as possible and have listed these at the end of this blog if you want to make a start before me.
However, I’m going to review 3 films about wine I’ve recently watched and the first in my review is one I’ve watched a number of times and is probably my favourite.
Sideways was released in 2004 and stars Paul Giamatti (12 Years a Slave, Saving Mr Banks, Cinderella Man etc.) and features Sandra Oh (Killing Eve). The film won a number of awards including Golden Globe awards for Best Motion Picture and Best Screenplay. The film is part road movie, part drama and part comedy. It tells the story of introverted writer Miles and his soon-to-be-married extrovert friend Jack (Thomas Haden Church) who take a road trip through the Californian wine region. Whilst mild mannered Miles is looking to sample the best of wines and bond with Jack; Jack is in search of his last fling before marriage. It’s a very engaging film with wonderful and amusing dialogue.
It is thought that the film saw demand for Pinot Noir increase by 16%. Likewise, the sale of Merlot fell dramatically based on Miles proclaiming I’m leaving, I am not drinking any ****** Merlot (due to the fact it was his ex-wife’s favourite wine!).
A Good Year
Last week I watched A Good Year (2006) starring Russell Crowe and Marianne Cotillard. The film was directed by Hollywood god Ridley Scott based loosely on the novel of the same name. It is the story of London based investment banker who is bequeathed a chateau and vineyard in Provence. It is classed as a romantic comedy but the comedy is so light you don’t notice it. I must admit that with such strong actors and director, I certainly expected more. It’s what I would call a generic Sunday afternoon film and whilst it’s not great it is pleasant enough.
My American friends have been pushing me to watch the film Bottle Shock (2008) for a while so I finally got round to watching this film yesterday. It is the true story of a 1976 wine competition termed the Judgement of Paris when Californian wine defeated French wine in a blind taste test.
The film stars Chris Pine (in a dodgy wig) and the late great Alan Rickman and gets far better reviews in the US than it did in Europe as expected. It’s worth watching for the Napa Valley landscape alone which is staggeringly beautiful. Bottle Shock ambles along (slowly in parts) and has some good scenes but knowing that the story is true does raise it to another level.
More films about wine to check out
I’d recommend opening a bottle of Stanlake Park’s Pinot Noir and sitting back to enjoy one of the above films - many wine country movies are available in Netflix, too. I’m going to do the same and pick one of the following films that I should have seen but haven’t and if you have any wine movies favourite please let me know :-
- The Secret of Santa Vittoria (1969)
- A Heavenly vintage (2009)
- You Will Be My Son (2011)
- Somm Into the Bottle (2015)
- Somm 3 (2018)
- Wine Country (2019)
- Uncorked (2020)