Victoria Jelinek


Bottle Shock

bottle_shock_ver3_xlgIn 1976 there was a blind wine taste-testing held in France, where all the judges were French. The result of the contest? The wines of California’s Napa Valley defeated the best wines France had to offer – mon dieu! Bottle Shock is the fictionalized version of this true event, with the added story of the underdog winery deeply in debt, and a problematic relationship between a father and his slacker son who run the winery together.

Even as the outcome of the story is predictable, it is a charming film. The direction is solid, the cinematography picturesque, and the cast is good. Bill Pullman is believable as the tough and angry man who runs Chateau Montelena. Chris Pine is sympathetic as his lazy, long-haired son, Bo. And Alan Rickman as the British wine lover living in Paris who instigates the contest in the first place (thinking the French wines would win!) is quietly and wonderfully comic. “But did you know that it’s the struggling, thirsty vines that make the best wines? They can’t just sit there sipping water.” They must labor to thrive. These lines from the film sum up what makes this movie engaging – it’s about people who love their work and do it well. People who talk about it with passion and with knowledge. And people who are motivated to continue despite seemingly insurmountable odds.

 

 

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2 Comments so far
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Nice write up! I just saw the movie for the second time on Father’s Day after I met the man that actually made the Chardonnay at Chateau Montelena. His name is Miljenko Grgich, a Croatian immigrant who now runs a very successful winery here in Napa Valley where we live. I wrote about meeting him in my blog: http://www.topochinesvino.com. Check it out – it’s included in the article “A Pair of Aces.” Follow us if you like what you see.

Comment by topochinesvino

Thank you for reading the review AND for taking the time to write a comment!
I’m going to your site right now…

Comment by victoriakjelinek




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