Are you an oenophile, better known as a wine lover? Did you know that there is a sub-genre of movies all about wine? You should check out the following list of the 10 best movies about wine.
Perhaps the most well-known film about wine, Sideways received critical acclaim when released in 2004. The film tells the story of Miles (played by Paul Giamatti) and Jack (played by Thomas Haden Church) as they travel through California wine country. Directed by Alexander Payne, Sideways is comedic yet touches on the nature of friendship and love as the two protagonists navigate their way through midlife crises.
The Secret of Santa Vittoria
Made in 1969, The Secret of Santa Vittoria centers on the people of an Italian village occupied by the Nazis during World War II. The people of Santa Vittoria aim to hide 1 million bottles of wine from the Nazis to protect their only source of income. In addition to an outstanding performance by Anthony Quinn, the film offers viewers beautiful views of Italian wine country.
A Walk in the Clouds
Another period piece featuring Anthony Quinn, A Walk in the Clouds stars Keanu Reeves as Paul Sutton, a soldier recently returned home to California after serving in World War II. When Paul moves to Sacramento after his marriage fails, he meets Victoria (Aitana Sanchez-Gijon), a pregnant graduate student and the daughter of a family that owns a vineyard in Napa County. He learns that the father of Victoria’s baby, a university professor, has abandoned her, and so Paul chooses to help her by posing as her husband to avoid the judgment of her strict father (Giancarlo Giannini).
Also focusing on California wine, Bottle Shock tells the story of the famous 1976 event called The Judgment of Paris, where California wines outperformed the widely acclaimed wines of France, putting New World wines on the map. Bottle Shock not only gives viewers a glimpse of California’s winemaking in the 1970s but also offers a great performance by the late Alan Rickman.
A documentary released in 2012, Somm delves into the lives of four individuals aiming to achieve the title of Master Sommelier. This film offers a rare close-up look of the rigorous preparation necessary for the Master Sommelier Diploma Examination, which only 249 candidates have passed since its inception in 1969.
A Year in Burgundy
Another successful documentary about wine, A Year in Burgundy follows several French winemaking families in the famous wine region of Burgundy. This documentary outlines every step of the winemaking process over the course of an entire year, giving viewers a deeper understanding of why vintage is a relevant factor to consider when purchasing a bottle of wine.
Year of the Comet
Written by William Goldman, Year of the Comet is about a wine taster named Margaret Harwood (Penelope Ann Miller) who is sent to Scotland to assess a rare bottle of wine bottled during the time of the Great Comet of 1811. Harwood is accompanied by a bodyguard named Oliver, and together they must keep the bottle away from several greedy men who will stop at nothing to get their hands on it.
You Will Be My Son
Released in 2011, French film You Will Be My Son provides insight into the tension surrounding the inheritance of wine vineyards. The film focuses on vineyard owner Paul de Marseul (Niels Arestrup), who is reluctant to allow his son, Martin (Lorànt Deutsch), to take over the vineyard. Instead, he eventually chooses his vineyard manager’s son, who happens to be a friend of Martin. You Will Be My Son is ideal for film lovers who enjoy modern-day Greek tragedies.
A unique indie-style documentary, Mondovino (2004) discusses the effects of globalization on the wine industry. The film features interviews of individuals in the wine industry in France, Italy, and the United States, giving viewers a unique perspective on issues they face, from deforestation to political strife between small business owners and large corporations.
An Australian documentary narrated by Russell Crowe, Red Obsession discusses the demand for French Bordeaux in China. Specifically, the film focuses on China’s demand for Premier cru wine, the second-highest classified wine, and looks at how China’s insatiable appetite for these premier wines could affect winemakers.
While there are other films about wine, the 10 films described here represent the most influential productions in the wine genre. In addition to their value in terms of film quality, they may help you see wine in a different light and understand how it influences many aspects of life all over the world.