If your idea of a great evening is good movie and a glass of fine wine, here are five movies that feature wine as a supporting character. Even a sommelier would recommend these films.
Sideways, a 2004 dramedy, follows two middle-aged friends on a week long road trip through wine country. Miles is a wine aficionado and a divorced English teacher who drinks too much. He just wants a good life. His friend, Jack, is an actor whose upcoming wedding has him looking for one last fling. The film won an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay and was nominated for four more. It’s set in the Santa Barbara County wine country. What more can you ask for?
Bottle Shock is based on a 1976 blind testing in Paris. The outcome of that event may be a matter of historical record, but no spoilers here. Not everyone knows their blind testing history. Even with the ending pre-written, the film manages to have some suspense. Filmed in the Napa and Sonoma valleys, you’ll find yourself just where you want to be – in a front row seat for the event that changed the California wine industry.
This Earth Is Mine takes a look at the winemaking industry during prohibition as it follows the Rambeau family, a winemaking dynasty. This 1959 drama has just about everything, including gangsters, bootleggers, betrayal, shoot-outs and wildfires. It was important to the plot of the film that the actors, Rock Hudson and Jean Simmons, knew proper vineyard procedures, so locals were brought in to instruct them. Again, the setting is Napa Valley, but over a half century ago.
A Walk in the Clouds is set in the vineyards of Norther California just after World War II. If you’re in the mood for unadulterated romance, this is the movie for you. Keanu Reeves as Paul and Aitana Sanchez-Gijon as Victoria are the pair that unwittingly gets thrown into each other’s very complicated lives. Anthony Quinn is the all-knowing patriarch, Don Pedro Aragon. This 1995 film doesn’t necessarily hold up to logic and cynicism, but it doesn’t have to. It’s pure romance.
Corked takes a poke at the ceremony and formality of wine country as a 90-minute mockumentary examining the “wine country state of mind.” The co-writers/directors both have family histories with close ties to the wine industry, and wanted to have fun creating characters like the ones they grew up watching. They have fun, but also touch on some real issues like condescending wine writers and the relationship between the fieldworkers and the vineyard owners. Corked is an insider’s view of the wine industry through a comic lens.
This short list may help you chose your movie, but you have to chose your own wine.