The best (and sometimes not great) Wine movies

Sideways

FermentedGrape.com Rating

5 star rating

My all time favourite wine movie from 2004, Starring Paul Giamatti (Miles) and Thomas Haden Church (Jack), put it on your wish list. The film made Merlot a demon and Pinot Noir a star!

Youtube classic clip, the Merlot moment

Miles is a failed writer living a meagre existence in San Diego as an English teacher. With his career seemingly fading and the fate of a book hinging on a publisher's decision, Miles is depressed with himself and what he hasn't achieved. Jack is a television actor whom some recognise but not many do, as if he were a minor actor who got a taste of success. With his best friend Miles, the two embark on a road trip through California's wine country. Miles wants to give his friend a nice sendoff before married life, while Jack simply wants to have a fling beforehand. As they're both nearing middle age with not much to show for it, the two will explore the vineyards while ultimately searching for their identities.

A week before the marriage of his great friend, the decadent actor Jack, the bitter frustrated writer divorced oenologist English teacher Miles Raymond travels with him to the wine country of California to spend a week together. While Miles intends to drink wine and play golf, Jack indeed intends to score and get laid with as many women as possible. While hosted in the Windmill Inn, they meet the waitress Maya and the attendant Stephanie, and they spend some time together, visiting different wine makers and and Miles and Maya disclosing their inner secrets and falling in love for each other.

Miles Raymond, a failed writer and divorcé who teaches junior high school English takes his best friend, former hot actor Jack, on a weeklong drive up to California's wine country. There they explore the nature of their failures and question their relationships. Jack, about to get married, has an affair with a woman and wonders whether he should call off his wedding. Miles questions whether or not he made the right choice while trying to form a relationship with the woman's best friend, a fellow oenophile who is a waitress at a restaurant that he frequents often when visiting that part of the country.

See more at IMDB

Somm

FermentedGrape.com Rating

5 star image rating

Somm is a great documentary. It certainly inspired me and made me realise how much I have left to learn about the grape and how obsessive people become to become a Master Sommelier. It is written and directed by Jason Wise.

It follows six fellows who are prepping for the Master Sommelier exam. Less than 200 candidates have passed this test since it began in 1969; it has one of the lowest pass rates of any exam in the world.

To become a Master Sommelier would seem to need a photographic memory with an ability to memorise thousands of Flash Cards, a massively understanding partner since they will come second best for months and the blind-tasting is incredible.

See more at IMDB

Merlove

merlove.jpeg

Director :

Rudolf N. McClain, Released 2008

A documentary celebrating Merlot wine in response to the movie Sideways. 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 filmmaking 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. We want people to know that Merlot is ready to be loved again by all and remember that every vintage has a new story to tell...

See more at IMDB

Blood into wine

blood.png

Blood into Wine is a documentary about the Northern Arizona wine industry focusing on Maynard James Keenan and Eric Glomski and their Caduceus brand wine. Released 2010.

See more at IMDB

Mondovino

mondo.png

Released November 2004

Mondovino is a dense, rich, and complex documentary on the power struggles and major players of the "wine world" elite. It depicts the endless struggle of the old world versus the new global capitalist order. On one hand we have the older, aging, independent grape-growers and wine makers of Burgundy and Tuscany. They have a philosophy of wine as a symbol of civilization. It's not simply a commodity to them. The production and consumption of wine is a religious experience between man and the earth.

On the other side of the "war" are the major wine-producing conglomerates, such as the Mondavi family of Napa Valley or the producers of Ornelliai wine in Italy. No, these aren't bad people. They simply have a different philosophy on wine production, and they eagerly embrace the new technologies and innovations in wine fermentation, such as the "New Oak" barrels that speed up production. They also hire Michel Rollan, a world-famous "wine consultant," who tells people how they can better the quality of their wine through different production processes. But the smaller, more independent wineries see "wine consultants" as harmful to diversity, because they worry that consultants seek to make all wine the same. Just because one consultant likes or doesn't like a wine, does not mean that every pallet will agree.

Mondovino also shows the dark histories of many of the world's most powerful wine producers. Some of the most successful wine makers in France collaborated with Nazi Germany in World War II, and most of the major wine producers in Italy supported Fascism and Mussolini. There are still racist and elitist undertones in much of the wine world today. Mondovino carefully weaves together the web of land, power, politics, and wine.

This film is a lot a great bottle of wine. It's complex, multifaceted, and can't be rushed. I'm not going to lie -- Mondovino is not a short movie. It's over two hours long. But like a great wine gets better with age, so to does this movie get better as time progresses.

If you've ever wanted to know more about wine and the people who make it, this film is a great resource to learn from. "Wine people" are going to love it. But for the average Joe who just wants a good time at the theater, this probably is not the best selection for him. It's not entertaining as much as it's educational, and if you're not in the mood, you're not going to feel it. Just like how you can't enjoy a savoury glass of Pinot Noir if all you want is a beer.

See more at IMDB

Red obsession

red.png

Directed by David RoachWarwick Ross, Narrated by Russell Crowe, released August 2013

For centuries, Bordeaux has assumed a mythical status in the world of fine wine as a leitmotif of wealth, power and influence, but its prosperity has always been linked to the capricious nature of markets and the shifting fortunes of global economies. Now change is coming to Bordeaux, with traditional customers like the US and the UK falling away, as China's new rich push prices to stratospheric levels. The demand is unprecedented, but the product is finite and this new client wants it all. Will the China market be the bubble that never bursts or the biggest threat yet to Bordeaux's centuries old reputation?

See more at IMDB

American Wine Story

Director David Baker Released 2014

There are plenty of obsessions in the world, but few endeavors attract as much devotion as wine. American Wine Story is a documentary about oenological aficionados who have taken their obsessions to the extreme, chasing their dreams with a bottle in one hand and a corkscrew in the other.

After an upstart winemaker’s untimely death, his sister steps in to try to save his fledgling winery for his eight-year-old son: American Wine Story blends this with other tales of risk and reinvention for those who are born again into the wine industry. This feature documentary is about about the transformative power of a humble beverage to fuel passion and reshape lives. Following dozens of winemakers and aficionados from all across the country to learn what drives them, and also trace some American wine history in the process, this is a film that aims to leave all audiences with a dash of inspiration to follow their own American Dreams, or at least pause and consider the story behind the bottle the next time they pull a cork.

See more at IMDB

Vino Veritas

vino ver.jpg

Director Sarah Knight, released 2013

This comedy takes its title from the Latin proverb, which literally translated: "in wine, the truth," suggests that people reveal their truest feelings under the influence of alcohol.

See more at IMDB

Corked

corked.jpg

Directed by Ross ClenendenPaul Hawley. Released 2009

"CORKED" ...is a funny tale told by documentary filmmakers of four distinctly different wineries and their intertwined fate in Northern California wine country. A prestigious celebrity wine critic is coming to the area and everyone is trying to make sure their wine ends up on his golden palate. A diverse group of characters inhabits this region, ranging from a fiercely independent "one man show" to an established 'family' winery where the word family is a registered trademark. An eccentric "rich kid" attempts to make his mark in his fathers newly acquired vineyard and "two marketing" executives are determined to tap into new markets with an edgy high-concept label. We follow this group through the toils of harvest, and their quest for recognition leading to the Golden Harvest Gala!

See more at IMDB

 Bottle Shock

bottle shock.jpg

Director Randall Miller, released 2008

The story of the early days of California wine making featuring the now infamous, blind Paris wine tasting of 1976 that has come to be known as "Judgment of Paris" organised by Steven Spurrier. Spurrier is said to hate the movie because of the way he is portrayed by Alan Rickman. Not great in my opinion.

See more at IMDB