Whether you love to linger over a glass of Pinot Grigio at lunch or look forward to savouring a beloved Merlot after a hard day at work, wine is a drink that has captured our hearts.
A fundamental part of modern society, wine makes a dinner more sophisticated, lending a twist of instant elegance to any meal. The beauty of wine is that it comes in so many different forms it’s impossible for any single person to be a complete expert. There’s always a new wine to discover, whether you’re a sommelier, an oenophile or even just a casual indulger.
Rarely has alcohol been so important to so many, and the proof is the number of films that have been made around the subject of wine. Here, we look at five simply wonderful wine movies that you can enjoy with a glass of your favourite tipple.
Sideways – 2004
This might be the wine film that most people have seen, even those who aren’t big wine-drinkers. A comedy-drama that was adapted from a novel of the same name (by Rex Pickett), the title refers to the best way to keep wines while in storage. The idea of the story is simple, a wine connoisseur and his friend take a road trip through wine country, discovering themselves along the way – amid plenty of near-disasters.
Well-received by critics, Sideways is a film that audiences enjoy, so much that it appears many of them took the comments about wine to heart. Pinot Noir is much-vaulted while Merlot is maligned in Sideways, causing a downward slide in the sale of Merlot and a rapid rise in Pinot Noir!
Uncorked – 2020
This gentle film features the story of Elijah, who is expected to take the reins of the family BBQ business but secretly dreams of a different future. Working part-time at a local wine business, he realises that his passion is for wine, not seared steaks. He takes the entrance exam for the Master Sommelier programme and with his mother’s blessing but his father’s disapproval, Elijah goes to France. Sadly his mother dies and Elijah returns for the funeral, struggling to complete the rest of the sommelier programme. You’ll have to watch the whole film to find out what happens, but it’s neither a sickly sweet ending nor a bitter taste of failure.
What sets this film apart from several other wine movies is that you can enjoy a drink-along. You might not manage them all however, as there are no fewer than 29 wines named in the film! To prepare to watch Uncorked, head to the page for America’s 50 best wine sellers for your selection, or simply, go through this Wegmans weekly ad where you can pick your chosen vinos to accompany your viewing. With an Il Casato Pinot Grigio Valdadige for $9.99 and a pick of Chardonnays, it won’t matter if you’re not drinking the exact vintage because you’ll be having too much fun to care!
The Secret of Santa Vittoria – 1969
A film about the Nazis doesn’t normally have a comic twist but this clever movie manages to be inspirational and compelling at the same time, without dismissing the awful reality of the Fuhrer’s army. In a small town (Santa Vittoria),Bombolini is the local drunk but after climbing a flagpole and getting stuck, he gets accidentally appointed as the new mayor after the Nazis believe he is the leader.
Despite initially appearing to be a terrible choice he rises to the occasion but really hits his stride when he discovers that the Germans are planning to occupy Santa Vittoria and even worse, take their wine. With a million bottles to hide it’s a big job, but will Bombolini’s plan work?
You Will Be My Son – 2011
Although gentle comedy seems to be a common theme for many wine films, that isn’t always the case. ‘You Will Be My Son’ is a French tragedy telling the tale of a winemaker who is unhappy with the prospect of his son taking control of his vineyard. Disappointed with the lack of talent in his only heir, he spots the qualities he had been hoping for in one of his son’s childhood friends.
Inevitably, the winemaker invites his son’s friend to be a partner in the vineyard instead, causing much friction and creating a suspense-filled thriller.
Sour Grapes – 2016
The final wine-themed watch on our list isn’t a conventional movie but a documentary. Created by Reuben Atlas and Jerry Rothwell, the documentary follows the story of Rudy Kurniawan, a wealthy Indonesian wine collector. With an obsession for burgundy and an ability to sell endless bottles of fake wine, the fraudster made millions and millions of dollars from the sale of his “vintage” bottles. He was caught when the FBI raided his home in 2012 and he was sentenced to 10 years in jail, the first person to be convicted of the crime.