Discovering and reviewing the best movies about wine is definitely a benefit I was not expecting from having an extended period of time at home. Lockdown has given me the opportunity to revisit some old favourites and to discover some new ones. Wine is an ever-popular subject with moviemakers so there are lots to choose from. I thought I would share my findings with you with a quick review of the best ones as well as details about where you can find them. The great thing about watching a movie about wine is that you’re always expanding your wine knowledge. It’s a good opportunity to have a glass of wine as well to really get into the mood
A Good Year (2006)
This is the ultimate feel-good wine movie to be recommended if ever you are feeling a bit low. A romantic comedy with Russell Crowe and Marion Cottillard in stunning Provence. The scenery is stunning and particularly welcome as I have just canceled the week I had planned in Provence this summer. Crowe’s character, Max Skinner, is an embittered banker who inherits a vineyard from his uncle. You can probably imagine the rest. Watch on Amazon Prime
Bottle Shock (2008)
I loved this film. The amazingly talented Alan Rickman plays wine expert, Steven Spurrier, who orchestrated the 1976 ‘Judgement of Paris’ wine competition, pitting Californian wines against French. This is a dramatization of a true story of events that really elevated the reputation of Californian wine throughout the world. In 2019 I had the good fortune to visit The Vineyard Hotel near Newbury where there is a mural depicting this famous tasting. I found out a little about the event then so it was fascinating to watch this movie and find out more. Great 1970s costumes too, which will certainly make you smile. You can read more about my visit to The Vineyard Hotel here. Watch on Netflix
If you are interested in learning more about wine then this is the movie for you. The film follows four candidates studying for the prestigious, and notoriously difficult, Master Sommelier Diploma. The pass rate is incredibly low. There have been less than 200 Sommeliers to qualify during the last 40 years. There is just so much they have to learn about wine. I loved some of their tasting notes, particularly, ‘the newly opened can of tennis ball’ which I think was a note for Reisling. By the end of the movie I was quite emotionally involved with all the candidates who had put so much into achieving their dreams. I won’t tell you who passes. Watch for free on Amazon Prime
A dramatisation of another candidate in the States striving to achieve the near impossible Master Sommelier Diploma. Elijah, a young man living in Memphis, Tennessee, defies his father to follow his dream and quest to join the elite Master Sommeliers. An easy to watch feel-good movie which it would be hard not to enjoy. Available on Netflix
A list of our best movies about wine wouldn’t be complete without Sideways. It is probably the best-known wine movie of recent times. This wonderful bittersweet comedy stars Paul Giamatti and Thomas Haden Church as Miles and Jack. The two old friends set out on a road/stag trip through Californian wine country where Miles tries to teach Jack about his passion for wine. It’s brilliantly acted with some great lines. Even if you have seen this before it’s definitely worth watching again. Available to rent on Amazon from £3.49
Wine Country (2019)
Another fun movie set in Californian wine country, although not in the same class as Sideways. Amy Poehler directs and stars in this feel-good comedy about a group of female friends reuniting to celebrate a 50th birthday. I think that the actors are all friends in real life and this really comes across in their on-screen chemistry. This is a funny, undemanding film best watched with a glass of wine. Watch on Netflix
My final three recommendations will appeal to anyone who is fascinated by the world of wine and is looking to learn more. Sour Grapes (2016) looks at wine fraudster Rudy Kurniawan, who managed to create and sell hundreds of bottles of fake wine worth millions of dollars. Watch on Netflix
Red Obsession (2013) focuses on the incredible market for wines from Bordeaux, particularly the Grand Crus, Chateau Lafite and Margaux. The Chinese market for these wines has expanded exponentially over the last 20 years and prices have increased accordingly. The Chinese market for wine looks set to continue growing. I was amazed to discover that the Chinese have started to make wine as well as buying it. Chinese wine makers have been producing gold medal-winning wines since 2011. Fascinating. Available to rent on Amazon Prime from £3.49
Finally, I watched A Year in Burgundy (2013). A trail through the year of several wine-growing families in Burgundy. A great insight into the love and care which goes into every bottle. Enjoy this for free on Amazon Prime, you will learn a lot.
Quizzing seems to be becoming a national obsession at the moment so we have put together a few questions on these best movies about wine and a few of the things we have learned from them. Use them to impress your friends and family with your wine knowledge. If you want a few more questions we also have a champagne quiz for you. Good luck!