Wine in The Movies

The current wine movie out at the moment is Bottle Shock and whilst there are two more in the pipeline – The Billionaire’s Vinegar (directed by and produced by Will Smith) and the Judgement of Paris based on the book by George Taber.

Given that the Judgement of Paris is a rival to Bottle Shock I expect they will wait till Bottle Shock has run its course at the box office.

How soon The Billionaire’s Vinegar will be coming to the silver screen is not known as Will Smith has apparently taken a year off to spend more time with his family and is listed as being involved in 20 movie plots in the pipeline.

His pet project is the The Last Pharaoh in which Smith is expected to play Taharqa, an Egyptian Pharaoh who defended his land from Assyrian invaders in the 7th century BC. The Last Pharaoh is being written by Randall Wallace (of Braveheart fame) for Columbia Pictures, based upon a story idea that Smith is reported to have wanted to see made into a movie for a very long time.

Francis Ford Coppola (the director of the Godfather films and Apocalypse Now) has released a new movie called Tetro, and although it is not about wine it has been made with money from his wine making business in the Napa Valley.

The full page advert for the film in the Los Angeles Times shows both the star of the film Vincent Gallo alongside a bottle of Coppola’s Claret Diamond red wine. Gallo, by the way, is not related to the wine moguls Ernest and Julio Gallo. Tetro is a family drama set in Buenos Aires, filmed in black and white for under $15 million in Argentina on widescreen high-definition video.

The movie is playing for a week in limited release in Los Angeles and New York and will expand next Friday into other cities including Chicago, Seattle and San Francisco. If Coppola sells enough wine he plans to expand the run of his movie even more than originally planned. Tetro is the first original screenplay brought to the screen by Coppola in 35 years.


The film Sideways is having a fresh lease of life – in Japan. It’s being remade to satisfy the growing market for films there in conjunction with the rise of wine sales due to the comic-book sensation Kami no Shizuku, or The Drops of God, about a heroic odyssey to find the best wines in the world.
The Japanese version of Sideways (which for the moment is still being called Sideways) involves the same plot but with the characters heading from Los Angeles to the Napa Valley, instead of Santa Barbara as more Japanese are familiar with the Napa Valley. Another difference is that the memorable line “If anyone orders merlot, I’m leaving,” is nowhere to be found in the script.
When the producers of the new Sideways set out to shoot at California wineries, the response was less than enthusiastic. Though the original sparked a surge in pinot noir sales and wine tourism, it also led to a drop in merlot sales.

But after a campaign Frog’s Leap, Beringer and Chandon were among the wineries that signed on, along with restaurants and tourist spots in the area. In the resulting scenes each location gets a plug.Maynard James Keenan, vocalist for Tool, A Perfect Circle, and Puscifer, is making a film called Blood into Wine.

Keenan and wine making partner Ed Glomski joined with Ryan Page and Christopher Pomerenke of the Twinkle Cash production company for the film.

The movie takes a look at the wine making potential of Arizona and also the motivation of Maynard to embark on such a difficult task. It also explores how wine making fits into his creative endeavours. The movie is set to be completed this September, and will have a limited theatrical release in February and March of 2010.

The complete trailer from Blood Into Wine is available at The film will feature an accompanying soundtrack featuring some never-before-released music from Keenan.

Corked is another film you may hear about this summer – it’s an independent film shot as a comedy “mockumentary” tale told by documentary film makers of four distinctly different wineries and their intertwined fate in Northern California wine country.

A prestigious celebrity wine critic is coming to the area and everyone is trying to make sure their wine ends up on his golden palate.The family of the late comedian Chris Farley have joined forces with former SNL players and other actors to make the film Hollywood and Wine, a comedy about a chef and an actress who embark on a get-rich scheme, and quickly end up with a run-in with the mob.

The film stars Chris Kattan, David Spade, Norm MacDonald, Horatio Sanz and Chris Parnell from SNL, and also Chazz Palminteri, Vivica Fox, Pamela Anderson, Jeremy London, Nicky Whelan and the two Farley brothers. It’s being shot at the moment.

I must admit that my favourite wine film has to be A Good Year – I loved Ratatouille and I like the sound of The Billionaire’s Vinegar!

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