Wine movies anyone can enjoy

by Patty Templeton

“A loaf of bread, a jug of wine, and thou,” said Persian poet Omar Khayyám. Don’t have a thou? Turn on the oven, make pizza bagels, and have a TV party instead. Here are 10 wine flicks for a swank-ass, solitary movie night.

Documentaries“A Year in Champagne”In a region scarred by continual war, in a climate that is on the very edge of what’s possible for winemaking, champagne is made. “A Year in Champagne” explores the history of the bubbliest, fizziest wine through visiting the six most renowned houses that produce it.

Pair with: Champagne and awe at how ancient wine history gets.

“Barolo Boys: The Story of a Revolution”A group of rebel winemakers next-leveled wine in northwest Italy during the ’80s and ’90s. Barolo has been known for centuries as the King of Red Wines, but the Barolo of today has been controversially modernized – “Barolo Boys” tells that story.

Pair with: Barolo and an after-movie listening of “Rebel Yell,” by Billy Idol.

“Blood into Wine”Tool is one of the most badass, innovative metal bands of all time, fronted by a dude named Maynard James Keenan. MJK, not being satisfied with owning the rock world, started Caduceus Cellars, a winery in Jerome, Arizona. Guest starring Patton Oswalt, Milla Jovovich and others, “Blood into Wine” showcases what happens when a metal god makes wine.

Pair with: Rosé and an all-night-long “A Perfect Circle” listening party.

“Red Obsession”“It’s more than a manufactured or agricultural product. It’s something closer to a miracle,” a wine industry veteran said of Bordeaux in “Red Obsession.” How do you produce miracles at an expanding rate? French winemakers struggle to create traditional-style Bordeaux to meet world demand.

Pair with: Bordeaux and the knowledge that you will never be able to afford a 1961 vintage.


There are only 236 people in the world that are Master Sommeliers. “Somm” follows four up-and-comers who attempt to ace the hardest test you’ve never heard of. Several years after this doc, “Somm: Into the Bottle” was released. It dives into the backstory and BS of wine culture. Both are well worth watching.

Pair with: Malvasia and relief over not being tested over wine.

“Sour Grapes”Oh, shit, son! Wine fraud exists! “Sour Grapes” is the story of Rudy Kurniawan, a wine counterfeiter, and the wine aficionados he fooled. Kurniawan sold more than $35 million in fakeass oldschool booze to mega-rich winos. How did Kurniawan get caught? How many of his fraudulent vintages are still circulating? You want a mystery with a likeable villain, watch this.

Pair with: Any red blend and googling “Rudy Kurniawan” for an intriguing wormhole of high-end fraud.

“Wine for the Confused”Most folks know John Cleese through his hilarious work with Monty Python. He’s also a wine-lover. In this 90-minute documentary, Cleese expounds a humorous wine 101 while he travels across California wine country.

Pair with: Riesling and a re-watch of “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” – because it’s awesome and so is Cleese.

Films“A Heavenly Vintage”Time to get your saucy costume drama romance on. A peasant winemaker tries to make the perfect vintage, you know, while sexing it up in the vineyard and seducing a baroness.

Pair with: Burgundy and a trip to the bookstore for Elizabeth Knox’s magical realist book, “The Vitner’s Luck” that the movie was based on.

“Bottle Shock”OMG, Alan Rickman, you are glorious in this comedic drama based on the 1976 battle between California and French winemakers. Napa Valley wasn’t always famous for wine. It took the blind taste testing at the “Judgement of Paris” to bring fame to American vineyards. This movie is effing rad.

Pair with: Chardonnay and tears for the 2016 death of Rickman.

“Sideways”A depressed writer and his nobody-actor friend road trip through Santa Barbara wine country to celebrate an upcoming wedding. Paul Giamatti shines in this wry comedic drama about aging, love, wine, and accepting who you are while striving for something more.

Pair with: Pinot Noir and excessive journaling on goals so life doesn’t pass you by.

Patty TempletonDGO Staff writer


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