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13 Movies for Wine Fans

and unWined’s Top 3 Staff Picks

As much as we appreciate seeing art and culture in painting we also enjoy other forms of artistic expression. Film happens to be one of our favorite past times is general, but in keeping with unWined Painting tradition we wish to share with you some of our favorite films related to wine (as of course wine is also a passion of ours). These include documentaries, non-fiction, and fiction films. Be sure to read on for interesting trivia about each film!

So kick back, grab a bottle of your favorite wine and some snacks, and enjoy some of the most well known films related to wine and wine making!

unWined’s Top 3 Favorite Wine Themed Movies

1. Blood Into Wine (2010)

“Take a look inside the life of one of Rock music’s most mysterious and interesting figures. With winemaking in his blood, multiplatinum recording artist Maynard James Keenan sets out to bring notariety to Arizona’s burgeoning wine regions.”

Trivia: Maynard James Keenan, often referred to by his initials MJK, is an American musician, record producer, winemaker, and actor, best known as the vocalist for Grammy Award-winning American progressive metal band Tool.”


2. Bottle Shock (2008)

“Paris-based wine expert Steven Spurrier heads to California in search of cheap wine that he can use for a blind taste test in the French capital. Stumbling upon the Napa Valley, the stuck-up Englishman is shocked to discover a winery turning out top-notch chardonnay. Determined to make a name for himself, he sets about getting the booze back to Paris.”

Trivia: The real Jim Barrett, owner of Chateau Montelena, appears in the film as a vineyard owner who pours a wine sample for Alan Rickman. Mike Grgich, the real-life winemaker at Chateau Montelena (and the man who was most responsible for the award-winning 1973 Montelena Chardonnay), appears in several scenes at the chateau, standing next to Bill Pullman as he takes a wine sample from a barrel.


3. The Secret of Santa Vittoria (1969)

“In Santa Vittoria, an Italian town renowned for its vineyards, the residents discover that the occupying Nazi troops plan to take all their wine for themselves. Determined to keep as many bottles as they can, the citizens, led by Mayor Italo Bombolini (Anthony Quinn), try to appease the Germans by offering them a generous number of cases and hiding the rest. Unfortunately, the Nazi leader, Captain Von Prum (Hardy Kruger), realizes that there is more wine, and becomes intent on finding it.”

Trivia: The secret, as in this movie’s title, The Secret of Santa Vittoria, was that Italian villagers during Nazi German occupied Italy during World War II were able to keep secret from them one million bottles of wine which were hidden underground.


The Runner-Ups

A Year in Champagne (2014)

“With renowned wine importer Martine Saunier as our guide, we get a rare glimpse behind the scenes into the real Champagne through six houses, from small independent makers to the illustrious houses of Gosset and Bollinger.”

Trivia: A Year in Champagne is the second film in a  remarkable wine trilogy, following the award-winning documentary A Year in Burgundy.


Red Obsession (2013)

“The great chateaux of Bordeaux struggle to accommodate the voracious appetite for their rare, expensive wines, which have become a powerful status symbol in booming China.”

Trivia: Kenji Fujishima of Slant Magazine awarded the film three out of four stars, commenting that it “may well inspire one to a higher appreciation of wine while also bringing about a greater awareness of the market forces that turn even the highest art into commodities”.

As of 7 September 2013, based on 16 reviews collected by review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film had received a 100% approval rating from critics, with an average score of 7.4/10.


Somm (2013)

“Four wine stewards prepare to take the Master Sommelier Exam, one of the world’s most-difficult tests, presided over by the notoriously secretive Court of Master Sommeliers.”

Trivia: The Court of Master Sommeliers is one of the world’s most prestigious, secretive, and exclusive organizations. Since its inception almost 40 years ago, less than 200 candidates have reached the exalted Master level. The exam covers every nuance of the world of wine, spirits and cigars.


A Heavenly Vintage (2009)

“An angel (Gaspard Ulliel) helps a 19th-century French peasant (Jérémie Renier) realize his dream of becoming a master winemaker.”

Trivia: It is loosely based on the novel The Vintner’s Luck by New Zealander Elizabeth Knox. The film had its international premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival on 12 September 2009.


Merlove (2008)

“A documentary celebrating Merlot wine in response to the movie Sideways. 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.”


A Good Year (2006)

“A British investment broker inherits his uncle’s chateau and vineyard in Provence, where he spent much of his childhood. He discovers a new laid-back lifestyle as he tries to renovate the estate to be sold.”

Trivia: Director Ridley Scott came up with the basic story that author Peter Mayle wrote in the book on which this film’s based upon. When the book was published, Mayle’s ideas were actually very different from Scott’s original premise. Scott then decided to film the story as he envisioned it from the very beginning.


Wine for the Confused (TV Movie 2004)

“Wine for the Confused is a documentary hosted by John Cleese. It is a light-hearted introduction to wine for novices. Cleese guides viewers through the basics of wine types and grape varieties, wine making, wine tasting and terminology, buying and storing wines, through direct narrative and interviews with wine makers and wine sellers.”

Trivia: The film duration is 92 minutes and includes visits to wineries in California. The film concludes with a large group conducting a blind wine tasting. One of the tasting results was the fact that most tasters could not distinguish between red wine and white wine. Another was that most tasters rated an inexpensive wine equal in taste to an expensive prestige wine, and both of these out scored the rest of the mid-priced and high-priced wines in the blind test.


Sideways (2004)

“Struggling writer and wine enthusiast Miles (Paul Giamatti) takes his engaged friend, Jack (Thomas Haden Church), on a trip to wine country for a last single-guy bonding experience. While Miles wants to relax and enjoy the wine, Jack is in search of a fling before his wedding. Soon Jack is sleeping with Stephanie (Sandra Oh), while her friend Maya (Virginia Madsen) connects with Miles. When Miles lets slip that Jack is getting married, both women are furious, sending the trip into disarray.”

Trivia: This is the first film to win best screenplay from all five “major” critic groups (National Board Of Review, New York, Los Angeles, Broadcast and National Society Critics), the Golden Globes, the WGA and, ultimately, the Academy Awards.


Mondovino (2004)

“With wine more readily available than ever before, a battle over its very soul is being waged. Using the dark, rich Bordeaux as the current standard-bearer, the film traverses several countries and continents to examine how the production of wine has created aristocratic dynasties and class conflicts. Small vineyards are contrasted with production on a grand scale, and wine experts from Sardinia, Napa Valley, Argentina and other places argue over whether wine creation has grown too commercial.”

Trivia: The film gave filmmaker Jonathan Nossiter a chance to utilize his knowledge as a trained sommelier from his time working at Balthazar in New York as well as an opportunity to visit some of the great wine regions of the world.


French Kiss (1995)

“When Kate (Meg Ryan) learns that her fiance, Charlie (Timothy Hutton), has become smitten with a young Parisian woman, she boards a plane for France. She is seated next to Luc (Kevin Kline), a small-time crook who uses her to smuggle a stolen necklace, leading Luc to the hotel where she’s staying to confront Charlie. As Kate and Luc get to know each other, their sarcastic rapport grows warmer, and Kate must decide where her heart truly lies as Charlie tries to win her back.”

Trivia: Kevin Kline had a professor to coach him with the French to speak it as a Frenchman. He studied French during his Jr. High/High school years and a year in college. He didn’t learn to speak it until he went to Alliance Française in New York.


Enjoy some of these films while sipping on your favorite wine! Be intrigued by the story lines that revolve around this historic beverage. Enjoy the fiction stories that are written and inspire the imagination and take in the learning and knowledge that these documentaries present.

For other events to enjoy while sipping on that favorite wine check out unWined’s Event Calendar!

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