New documentary explores links between US and Bordeaux wines
Production company E-Studi’Oz is set to launch a documentary investigating the historical links between the US, Bordeaux and its wines, centring around Thomas Jefferson’s role in bringing the two wine regions into a longstanding relationship.
Eastbound Westbound, a winemaker’s story from Bordeaux and California to root the contemporary relationship between the Bordeaux and US wine regions in the 18th century, putting US Ambassador to Paris and third US President Thomas Jefferson at the forefront of the story.
Just under half (43%) of Bordeaux wines are now exported, including 16% to North America, making the US the second destination by volume at 26 million bottles (2020 figures, CIVB sources). The documentary seeks to ask: what was the situation in 1787?
Frédéric Lot, documentary producer and co-founder of E-Studi’Oz, explained Jefferson’s relevance to the history of the cross-continental relationship. He said: “Starting the Eastbound-Westbound series with the viticultural relationship between the ‘old continent’ and the ‘new world’, through the lens of Bordeaux and California, was our first challenge, if not our priority.
“We needed an ambassador, a significant historical figure – whose mark is still evident today – embodying this mutual respect between Bordeaux and the United States on the issue of wine: Thomas Jefferson, the historical personality so esteemed in the United States and to whom Bor-deaux is still indebted today.”
To better demonstrate Jefferson’s legacy, the relationship between the two winegrowing continents is illustrated through portraits of wine families from varied backgrounds.
The cinematic project, started in 2020, was supported by four Bordeaux wine families. HRH Prince Robert of Luxembourg (Château Haut-Brion and La Mission Haut-Brion in Pessac-Léognan, and Quintus in Saint-Émilion), Alfred, Justine and Noé Tesseron (Château Pontet-Canet in Pauillac and Pym-Rae in Napa Valley), Claire and Gonzague Lurton (Château Haut-Bages Liberal in Pauillac, Château Dufort-Vivens in Margaux and Acaibo in Sonoma) and Denise Adams (Château Fonplégade in Saint-Émilion and Adamus in Napa Valley) play a key role in the documentary.
American wine merchant and former wine journalist Jeffrey Davies leads the contemporary narrative of the documentary.
Julien Couson, the film’s director, said of the release: “The documentary is built around an investigation unraveling the historical links that have existed for nearly 250 years with, at the centre, the place of Bordeaux wines and Bordeaux owners relative to the United States and the attraction of France for American families that have settled in the Bordeaux wine region.
Lot and Gérard Spatafora, the documentary’s producers and co-founders of E-Studi’Oz, are in the process of presenting the film to content buyers for their 2022 schedules.
Spatafora described the release as a “first episode”, with aims to develop other topics, “covering other regions in the coming months”.
Watch the trailer: https://