Movies and Wine

Happy New Year!

Frigid temperatures, rain or snow make for perfect movie-watching weather. Being that I live in New York, recent winter storms left me confined to the walls of my apartment. I’ve taken this opportunity to revisit my favorite wine-related movies (you can understand why).  I thought I’d share this list with you—in case you’re also house-bound in this weather.

First is always the 2004 independent hit “Sideways,” which made Pinot Noir the cognoscenti’s grape of choice. This film did wonders for the Pinot Noir industry (unlike its unfortunate impact on Merlot). In addition, it has a feeling of familiarity since it takes place on the Central Coast.

“Sideways” resonated with so many wine-drinkers. I’ve met clients at tastings who proudly tell me they enjoyed Pinot before the whole “Sideways” movement. They were, they say, already big fans of both Burgundy and California Pinot Noir. They knew all about the grape like how Pinot Noir is notoriously difficult to grow, that it’s sensitive to disease and to the slightest anomaly in the weather. Above all, they knew it was special and “expensive”.

The “Sideways” movement came but did not leave us, watching it on Netflix is one of my guilty pleasures.

I also enjoy the 2012 documentary “Somm.” It shows the passion and dedication required by candidates working to pass the Master Sommelier exam. Identifying obscure wines, recognizing their vintage and provenance is incredibly challenging. It requires amazing olfactory memory and knowledge of the many wine regions around the world. I recommend this film particularly if you’re interested in the wine industry. It also gives you an appreciation for the work each Master Sommelier of Wine goes through.

I checked Google and it suggested some other films focusing on wine-growing regions in France and Italy. I watched “A Year in Champagne” and appreciated the documentary’s examination of growing and making sparkling wine. It brought the excitement of harvest back to me—even though it’s now winter. The movie also gives an accurate portrayal of “élevage” – a behind-the-scenes education of all the work and dedication required to create perfect champagne from grape to bottle.

Google also had some good suggestions for 2017 where wine is vital to the plot. “Darkest Hour” is a stand-out. It features a magnificent performance by Gary Oldham as Winston Churchill on the eve of World War II. Churchill loved his alcohol; he was a renowned wine drinker and wordsmith.

Churchill’s wine aphorisms are now justly famous. Here are two of my favorites:

“When I was younger I made it a rule never to take strong drink before lunch. It is now my rule never to do so before breakfast.”

“Remember gentleman, it’s not just France we’re fighting for, it’s Champagne!”

“Molly’s Game,” starring Jessica Chastain and Idris Elba, is my final recommendation. This exciting film about high-stakes poker would not be complete without a lot of drinking—though here it’s more cocktail-based. Molly’s poker games operate amid a world of sophistication, glamour, wealth and exclusivity.

If you’re like me and need to channel your inner “Sideways,” try to find time to watch at least one of these movies. I recommend sipping on a glass of your own while enjoying the movies.  You too may create priceless quotations while your verbal juices flow!

Enjoy every moment and let us know your favorite movies.

Thank you.

A votre santé –


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