In keeping with the premium wine theme of Eagles Nest’s Vacation Cottage, we stock the DVD library with selected wine movies and educational wine videos for our GUESTS – So they can get into a “Wine frame of mind” by viewing these movies on the wide screen TV.
Please comment/share regarding other good wine DVDs you know of…
Bottle Shock (2008)
This is a comic drama. “Bottle Shock,” focuses on a significant (but obscure for the non-wine consuming American pubic) event that occurred in 1976 – a European wine competition that shockingly ranked a Napa Valley wine above French counterparts. The movie received mixed reviews for it’s often stereotypical depictions of the wine industry and its unnecessarily schlocky depiction of the early years of the Napa wine industry. E.g. below tasting room hosted out of a cheap camping trailer…
The independent film is loosely based on the famous 1976 blind tasting in Paris in which two California wines came out on top, much to the chagrin of the expert — and very French — wine tasters.
Directed by husband-wife filmmaking team of Randall Miller and Jody Savin, the film stars Alan Rickman as British-born, Paris-based wine merchant Steven Spurrier, who organized the tasting; Bill Pullman as Jim Barrett, the beleaguered owner of Chateau Montelena (which won for its 1973 Alexander Valley Chardonnay); and Chris Pine as Jim’s long-haired son Bo Barrett.
Finally available for pre-release ordering click here (regular price after Nov 13, 2009), Merlove is an independent documentary celebrating Merlot wine in response to the movie Sideways that is making it’s way around the country at wine events and popular wine destinations. From the website: “Have the courage to embark on your own wine adventure. Merlove will help you learn more about wine, but it is your own experience that will guide your personal journey. As you try new wines you will gain love and appreciation for the gifts that wine can bring. Like anything in life, wine can be enjoyed and enhanced by sharing it with others. The bottom line is good wine is good wine and bad wine is bad wine, but that should not stop the adventure.
The message of Merlove is that no single grape varietal should be singled out as superior or inferior to others. Enjoy as we interweave documentary style film making with the animation of a bottle of Merlot wine named “Merlove” who must find a way to fill itself with love when aimlessly tossed into the ocean of mediocre Merlot wine. Merlove is now available on DVD.
A Good Year (2006)
This movie was nowhere near as acclaimed as Sideways: some people might have a hard time saying A Good Year was a good movie. Still, it captured the essence of the wine industry from the inside out. Set in southeastern France, this movie features Max Skinner (Russell Crowe), a seemingly heartless investor who inherits a large vineyard from his uncle. Thanks to wine, women, and the weather, Max evolves from a sullen man into one who can appreciate the little, and big, things in life.
While A Good Year did not appear to have a direct impact on wine sales like Sideways did, it is fair to say that the scenery of Provence didn’t hurt tourism. Filmed at Chateau La Canorgue during the 2005 harvest, the shots of the vineyards are truly enough to make anyone start searching for both their passport and their berets.
If ever there were a movie the wine industry should toast, it is this one. This movie tells the tale of Miles, a washed up (San Diego) English teacher, and Jack, an engaged actor (Hollywood) , who travel to the Santa Ynez Valley for a week long wine tour. Miles wants merely to drink wine, while Jack wants to meet women before he says, “I do.” When they meet Maya and Stephanie, a waitress and a winery employee, their hopes of finding wine leads them to find something greater.
Sideways was a critically acclaimed film, winning an Academy Award, two Golden Globes, and a Screen Actors Guild Award. Not only did it launch the careers of several unknown actors and actresses, but it also lit a fire under the wine industry. In fact, it is rumored that the sales of Pinot Noir – thanks to a speech Miles gives portraying his love for this grape – saw a twenty percent rise after the movie’s release. On the flip side, Merlot, which Miles detests throughout the film, saw sales drop.
Unlike the other movies and shows listed, Mondovino is a documentary, a true tale revealing how mass globalization impacts the wine industry. Translated to mean “World of Wine,” this film not only displays the influence that people like Robert Parker and Michel Rolland have on dictating what wine is and is not good, but it shows the struggles of both the small and large wineries in their voyage for the vine.
Written and directed by Jonathan Nossiter, a trained sommelier, Mondovino was well received by both critics and the general population. Nominated for a Golden Palm Award and Cesar Award, it was featured at a large number of notable film festivals. Leaving no grape leaf unturned, Mondovino involved travel to vineyards everywhere from California to France to Brazil.
No trailer video is available on the Internet.
A Walk in the Clouds (1995)
This older DVD is a special find/hidden treasure with a romantic story line. Yes it of course includes a few vineyard/winery scenes. The story which explores family values, includes inter-family confilict, father son-in-law tensions and romantic love.
Character Paul Sutton a WWII soldier played by Keanu Reeves, comes home to California, meets a woman named Victoria played by Aitana Sanchez-Gijon on a train in a somewhat awkward comedic scene. After hearing Victoria’s plight, Paul agrees to pose as Victoria’s husband and meet her family to cover her illegitimate pregnancy from a departed lover. Paul (Reeves) joins Victoria in visiting her family at their large winery/vineyard.
The vineyard scene include Victoria in the vineyards as she and the rest of the family enact a traditional celebration to promote the health of the harvest. An otherwise routine grape crushing scene was portrayed in the movie as a sensuous event.
While this movie is a relative unknown. It included good acting on the part of Keanu Reeves. The father son-in-law conflict with Victoria’s father, Alberto, (Giancarlo Giannini) was well played. Other actors included Anthony Quinn as the family patriarch Don Pedro, Victoria’s grandfather. Don Pedro buffers the conflict between Alberto and Paul. See the movie trailer here.
Falcon Crest (1981-1990)
A a very popular prime time TV soap opera series that ran for a very respectable nine years/seasons but is only recently being released on DVD. This series was popular both domestically and in Europe.
Falcon Crest followed the lives of the Channings and the Giobertis, two feuding wine families who lived in the Tuscany Valley (a fictional town set up to resemble Napa Valley). Involving love affairs, interpersonal conflict, death, and even an evil neo-Nazi cartel, this was a series offered sensationalism. We still have a bottle of Falcon Crest wine somewhere… long since gone bad.
Written specifically about the wine industry, Falcon Crest featured sets located on actual vineyards and showcased the lives of those working in wineries. It not only succeeded in bringing wine to the television screen. This is not yet available in DVD in the USA/Canada but was released in Germany in 2009
Some educational/wine appreciation videos in the Cottage library include:
• PBS Series Uncorked Wine Made Simple
• Jancis Robinson’s Wine Course
• Enjoying Wines with Mark Phillips
• Graham Kerr Lifestyles: Food, Wine, Heart, & Health
• An Introductory Guide to Wine
• Wines of Northern Italy
• Wines of Central and Southern Italy
• Wine for Dummies
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