Social distancing and quarantining is affecting everyone and the struggle to find something to take our minds off the current situation is ongoing.
There are only so many binge-worthy shows out there and downloading all the new releases gets expensive. We’ve compiled a list of movies that will not only entertain but also give you lighthearted insight into the world of wine and the people in it. From wine collectors and sommeliers to rock stars and forgers, there’s something for everyone. Most, if not all, are available on Netflix, Prime Video or YouTube.
Narrated by Russell Crowe, the film takes us on an extraordinary journey from Bordeaux to Beijing. We get a glimpse into the passion and art of the vineyard and then dive into the notorious counterfeit wine markets of the Far East. Through interviews with wine journalists and chateaux proprietors we learn about the business, its’ ups and downs, the competitions and the wine-mania in China, cutthroat wine auctions in Hong Kong and the sex toy entrepreneur whose wine collection is worth 60 million US dollars.
Bottle Shock — 2008
This American comedy-drama tells the story of the now infamous wine tasting of 1976, known as the “Judgement of Paris,” when California wine defeated French wine in a blind tasting. The wine, made by Chateau Montelena, became a symbol of the burgeoning California wine scene and how the state became one of the premier winegrowing regions in the world.
While there is discussion in the wine world about some liberties taken by the writers in adapting this true father-son story for the big screen it is entertaining and well worth the watch.
Sour Grapes — 2016
An American crime documentary about wine fraudster Rudy Kurniawan, a rich Indonesian wine collector who spent millions of dollars on wine and also sold countless bottles of fake wine. It tells the story of how he collected empty bottles and refilled them with cheaper wine and then forged the labels landing him in prison as the first person committed of this kind of crime. The Hollywood Reporter stated the filmmakers “thoroughly and concisely detailed the progression of Kurniawan’s fraud in a style that merges an Antiques Roadshow-style fascination with rare wines with a Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous-type fixation on the spending habits of the overly affluent.”
SOMM — 2013
This documentary film follows the attempts of four candidates to pass the extremely difficult Master of Sommelier examination, a test with one of the lowest pass rates in the world. The film takes us through each of their roads to the test including late night study sessions, emotional breakdowns, stress filled study sessions and relationship turmoil with friends and family. The film is considered an entrée into in a little-known world and if you have been in the wine business you know you have met someone who easily could have been one of these four.
Blood Into Wine – 2010
A documentary that dives into the unique world of American singer-song writer Maynard James Keenan who launched Caduceus Cellars in Jerome, Arizona with business partner Eric Glomski. The film explores how this Grammy winning metal band vocalists embarks on a journey to transform a stretch of desert into a vineyard and bring the Northern Arizona wine industry to the forefront. Through a series of interviews and home movies we see how this unique story came to be.
A Year in Port — 2016
This movie is a third in a series following renowned wine importer Martine Saunier. The previous films in the trilogy; “A Year in Burgundy” and “A year in Champagne” were well received by both the wine community and film buffs in general. In A Year in Port she guides the viewer through the unique world that blends British and Portuguese traditions into a little microcosm in Portugal’s Duoro Valley. There is the expected behind the scenes winemaking tour, but also a focus on the day-to-day activities of the wealthy families that run this industry and the rituals that have been passed down through generations. The movie has received some criticism for being more like a Lifestyle of the Rich and Famous, but it is sure to entertain when viewing with a glass of port in hand.