Top 10 wine movies
Wine has had a considerable presence on the silver screen, and here the drinks business counts down the top 10 wine movies.
Wine is back in the Hollywood spotlight as heartthrob Brad Pitt is to star in a film adaptation of The Billionaire’s Vinegar, a book by Benjamin Wallace on the fake Thomas Jefferson bottles affair.
Our list is not packed with romantic comedies, instead a few documentary films are in the mix as well as a mockumentary on the Californian winemaking scene.
If we have missed any out – tell us! Email us or tweet at us @teamdb
10. The Secret of Santa Vittoria (1969)
The Germans are given a few thousand bottles, but von Prüm knows there is a lot more. The two very different men then engage in a battle of wits.
9. This Earth is Mine (1959)
Jean Simmons stars as Elizabeth, an English cousin of the Rambeau family, who arrives in California in 1931 for a casual visit with her aunt and uncle, only to find her future pre-determined with a pre-arranged marriage to Andre Swann, a young cousin of another branch of the family.
But John Rambeau (Rock Hudson), disagrees with those plans and informs Elizabeth that she’s being married off to consolidate the family’s wine holdings.
The patriarch of the family, Phillipe (Claude Rains), wanting to keep the winemaking heritage of his family pure, refuses to deal with bootleggers eager for a ready-made supply of alcohol. John, however, is not so righteous, and arranges deals with Chicago gangsters for the valley’s wine supply.
In true dramatic fashion months, and years, of lies, blackmail and conflict follow, ending with the romantic union of John and Elizabeth, and their commitment to the Rambeau winemaking heritage.
8. Mondovino (2004)
With a title meaning “world of wine” in Italian, this documentary film explores globalisation and its impact on the world’s winemaking regions.
With large multinational wine producers around, can small single-estate wineries truly survive? American film maker Jonathan Nossiter explored the question in this very intimate look at the wine-making world.
The documentary film places large, multinational wine producers, in particular Robert Mondavi, up against the small, single estate wineries who boast about wines with individual character driven by their terroir.
7. The Muppet Movie (1979)
6. From Ground to Glass (2006)
5. Corked (2009)
Shot during harvest in 2005, the mockumentary follows a Californian winemaker, a billionaire, a clueless winery manager and an incompetent rich kid as they compete to win the fictional Golden Cluster trophy.
A lot of wine industry members – vintners, sommeliers, wine critics, wine marketers and fans – get a mention in the faux travel guide through the Northern Californian vineyards.
Donald Smythe (Ross Clendenen) set’s the tone for the film with his upscale snobbish comparisons of his Sonoma vineyards to European aristocratic wine makers.
4. French Kiss (1995)
3. A Good Year (2006)
This movie tests Russell Crowe’s winemaking skills. The character he plays – Max Skinner, a British investment broker – returns from the Square Mile to French wine country after the death of Uncle Harry (Albert Finney) and is tamed by the romantic routines of the vineyard and life in southern France.
Skinner inherits his uncle’s château and vineyard in Provence, where he spent much of his childhood and discovers a new laid-back lifestyle. This British romantic comedy is directed by Ridley Scott.
2. Bottle Shock (2009)
This is a comedy-slash-drama that follows a failing writer, wine-aficionado and depressed middle school English teacher living in San Diego, who takes his soon-to-be-married actor friend and college roommate, Jack Cole (Thomas Haden Church), on a road trip through Santa Ynez Valley wine country.
Written by Jim Taylor and Alexander Payne and directed by Payne the film has been adapted from Rex Pickett’s 2004 novel of the same name.
It is a classic wine film and one that enjoyed a positive reception from both the critics and lovers of American wines all over the world, sparking a wave of Pinot-philia among US consumers which is still being felt today.