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Wine in the Movies

Do you ever learn about wine by watching a movie?

I learned about Corvo many years ago while watching a movie (I forget which one).

More recently there was Sideways which got me drinking Pinot Noir.

Last night, my wife and I saw Bottle Shock, which we enjoyed. So now I want to try more Napa wines.

How about you?

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  1. I don't know much about wine in the movies, but I have been drinking more Napa wines in preparation for my trip to Napa this October.

    1. No, absolutely not. However, perhaps Bottle Shock might sway us in some way, looking forward to seeing this film.

      I was already a fan of pinot noir when I saw Sideways, so it just made me laugh all the more. Loved that movie.

      3 Replies
      1. re: JamieK

        I just saw Bottle shock the other night. Pretty good flick.

        1. re: Fritter

          Now watch "Mondovino"...I recommended it below. What I learned from that movie: "micro-oxygenation" and much, much more. ;) I've watched it several times.

          1. re: kattyeyes

            I will have to watch for that! Thanks. :)

            There is a bottle of red split in the kitchen in " No Reservations" with Catherine Zeta-Jones but I've no idea what kind.

      2. I heard that Merlot sales went way down after Sideways. So much for people thinking for themselves!

        1 Reply
        1. re: Kagey

          The "Sideways effect" was very real. I actually started AVOIDING pinot after that movie, because the sudden demand meant there was a LOT of truly awful pinot being sold at exorbitant prices. Conversely, there were a lot of great deals on California merlot because everyone was suddenly turning up their noses at it. My graduate student budget became a REALLY big merlot fan. So I guess if anything, wine in movies brings out the rebel in me. ;)

          However, I can't watch a pirate movie without a beverage involving rum and/or limes. A proper daiquiri fits the bill on both counts.

        2. We got a bottle of Pinot on the way home from Sideways. We have a great little theater in Bar Harbor, Reel Pizza. Serves pizzas, hot snakcs wine and draft beer. You can sit in overstuffed sofas, use a TV tray and enjoy the show. Very civilized.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Passadumkeg

            Sounds great. I was in Bar Harbor for a day in August while visiting some friends who live in Jonesport.

          2. After seeing Notorious, I just had to have a Pommard.

            13 Replies
            1. re: charlesbois

              Yes! Notorious is the best movie with wine because the whole plot turns on wine, rather unusual “wine”

              Providence — John Gielgood shouts to his servant, "Wine, wine, bring us more wine!” as a sort of life-reclaiming proclamation after existential darkness.

              Casablanca — Champagne in Paris

              A Good Year -- French wine

              The Bond movies: Dr. No, Goldfinger and Thunderball — ’53 Dom Perignon

              Sideways — Pinot, Cheval Blanc

              The Little Drummer Girl — Boutari
              Bottle Shock— Napa Valley wine
              Disclosure — plot hinges on Pahlmeyer wine
              Blood and Wine — Jack Nicholson plays the owner of a wine shop
              Gigi — "The Night They Invented Champagne."
              Silence of the Lambs — Chianti
              Seconds — naked people crushing grapes
              This Earth Is Mine — with Claude Rains, filmed in Napa Valley in 1959

              1. re: maria lorraine

                Ratatouille with 1947(?) Cheval-Blanc. Or was it a '52?

                Yes, I'm a child....

                  1. re: maria lorraine

                    Oh Lord, I know it's Gielgud not "Gielgood."

                  2. re: mengathon

                    Well then you'll notice the Roederer Cristal in both "Madagascar" and "Madagascar 2" LOL

                  3. re: maria lorraine

                    >>> Seconds — naked people crushing grapes <<<

                    I LOVED that movie! Not that particular scene, as it's the only scene in the movie that (IMHO) doesn't hold up with time. But it's a GREAT film!

                    And I've always been partial to the early Bond films, as 1953 was my birth year!

                    The Wind and The Lion -- Candace Bergen orders a Chateau Margaux for lunch, and as it's just about to be served, Sean Connery (again!) kidnaps her and her two children for ransom, sparking Teddy Rosevelt to order an invasion by the US Marines . . .

                    Le Grande Bouffe -- let's not get too specific! ;^)

                    1. re: maria lorraine

                      ML - I am pretty sure that Captain Renault orders a bottle of Clicquot at Rick's (in addition to the scene in Paris)

                      1. re: ibstatguy

                        Absolutely. It's one of my favorite scenes in the moive, with one of my favorite movie lines of all time. Captain Renault (Claude "round up usual suspects" Rains) recommends the '26 Veuve Clicquot to Major Strasser of the Third Reich. Strasser wants to ask Rick a few questions.

                        Strasser: What's your nationality?
                        Rick: (pokerfaced) I'm a drunkard.

                        Champagne is a bit of a theme throughout the movie, with about six appearances in the movie.

                        In Paris, Rick and Ilsa have received word that the Germans will invade Paris tomorrow. Rick is pouring Champagne for Ilsa (Ingrid Bergman) at the cafe La Belle Aurore while Sam is playing "As Time Goes By" in the background.

                        Rick: Henri wants us to finish this bottle and then three more. He says he'll water his garden with Champagne before he'll let the Germans drink any of it.
                        Sam: Kind of takes the sting out of being occupied, doesn't it?
                        Rick: You said it! (To Ilsa) Here's looking at you, kid.

                        You can read (and save a copy of) the complete screenplay at:

                        IMO, it's one of the best screenplays ever.

                        1. re: maria lorraine

                          you just quoted one of my fav all time movie lines ("drunkard")!

                          1. re: maria lorraine

                            Casablanca will play on Public Television this weekend, Saturday night locally.

                            1. re: maria lorraine

                              >>>Rick: Henri wants us to finish this bottle and then three more. He says he'll water his garden with Champagne before he'll let the Germans drink any of it.
                              Sam: Kind of takes the sting out of being occupied, doesn't it?
                              Rick: You said it! (To Ilsa) Here's looking at you, kid.<<<

                              Mumm Cordon Rouge is the Champagne in the scene . . .

                              1. re: zin1953

                                Evidently, product placement goes a long way back.

                          2. re: maria lorraine

                            I liked A Good Year, but I'd add more specifically that it was about Provence, not just French wine. Great scene where the snotty trader got his comeupance when he tried to impress the waitress with his knowledge of wine and she let him know that he was a phony who didn't know the difference between Bordeaux and Burgundy.

                            I loved the last scene in the movie where Abbie and Duflot were arguing about whether to leave the stems on the grapes and he said "I love that woman, she is like Henry with a great ass."

                        2. Nothing like watching "Silence of the Lambs" to get one in the mood for a nice chianti!

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: susan1353

                            Don't forget the liver and fava beans.

                            1. re: susan1353

                              I thought I heard someplace that it was originally Barolo in the book?

                            2. "Surely that isn't wine?" Martine asks in fear and trembling. "No, that isn't 'wine,'" Babette replies indignantly. "It's Clos de Vougeot 1845."

                              -- Babette's Feast

                              1. >>> Do you ever learn about wine by watching a movie? <<<

                                Only if it's a documentary.

                                3 Replies
                                1. re: zin1953

                                  Can you all get one of the France télévisions in the states? TV5 Monde, maybe? They have some great shows on/about wine, not only documentaries. I also saw a non-documentary drama on Arte (a franco-german channel) that was mostly about the trials and tribulations of a family of German peasants, but included a whole sub-plot on wine production that was fascinating. I can't say what *you* would or would not learn from these, but *I* was delighted.

                                  1. re: tmso

                                    No, sadly, tmso, we cannot. Some persons have special satellite TV dishes that get 1000 channels, but it is rare I find a French TV show on anyone's channel selection. Would you mind finding out the name of the Arte show about the German peasants making wine? I may be able to rent it.

                                    Thseamon and Zin1953: Nope, never learned a thing from any wine movie, other than "that place looks beautiful and I should go winetasting there." But I love having wine referenced in a movie, or better yet, as in Notorious, being part of the plot. That warms the cockles of my heart.

                                    1. re: maria lorraine

                                      Sorry, I couldn't figure out what I might have been. Too bad, I'd have liked to see it again.

                                      In looking for the film however, I noticed that Comcast does seem to carry TV5 Monde, so if you have cable, you might want to check to see if you have it. I'm not sure what all shows they carry, but they carry things from France 2-5 and Ô, as well as Arte, so it might be worth checking out. "Cuisines de terroirs / Zur Tisch in..." is especially great, if you can get it; they do a half hour of documentary on the local food in somewhere in Germany and another half hour somewhere in France. This weekend it's Westfalen and Marseille ... sounds good, and I hope they mention which wine you pair with pumpernickel.

                                      I'll make noise (and write down the title) if I see another wine-related film...

                                2. During an episode of "Sanford and Son" Fred was out to dinner with a lady friend and ordered a bottle of 40s vintage red wine if I recall correctly. When the waiter poured it, surprisingly it was a red-brown color which would have been appropriate for wine aged as long.

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: Chinon00

                                    LOL...Hilarious to read about Sanford & Son on the wine board. I can hear the theme song now. If we want to go TV, there's always I Love Lucy's grape stomping scene. And Northern Exposure had so many wine references -- it was obvious the writer was a winehead.

                                    1. re: maria lorraine

                                      Fred's buddy Grady liked to mix Champale and Ripple, "I call it ChamPipple."

                                      On another show he said, "vodka and prune juice, I call it a 'Trotsky' "

                                  2. "From Russia with Love" - 1963 (Train fight scene):
                                    After Bond is initially overpowered by Grant (played by Robert Shaw), he says “Red wine with fish. Well, that should have told me something.” Grant replies “You may know the right wines, but you’re the one on your knees.”

                                    1. I've never seen wine in a movie that made me want to ty it or that taught me anything about it. HOWEVER, I do enjoy watching movies and TV shows and seeing which wines they choose. (eg. Regaleali Cabernet in The Sopranos, Shafer HSS in Entourage, etc)

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: whiner

                                        mengathon, "Ratatouille with 1947(?) Cheval-Blanc. Or was it a '52?"

                                        They SAID it was a '47 Cheval Blanc but they SHOWED a 1900 Margaux, or something like that. It was a sight gag for those of us who are truly insane.

                                        Also, there was a '59 Latour in an episode of Entourage

                                      2. In the latest Bond reincarnation in Casino Royale, wine geek viewers were shaken-but-not-stirred when Bond specifically ordered a 1982 Chateau L'Angelus in the train scene. The bottle was prominently featured throughout that scene.

                                        1. Not quite a movie but ...

                                          In the book "Confessions of an Economic Hit Man" by John Perkins , there's the line: "... and there was a fine bottle of Beaujolais. She toasted me. "You've made it ... You're now one of us."

                                          Two seconds later the book was in the trash.

                                          1. Tampopo contains a great wine scene were Japanese bums are
                                            decanting a remainder of Chateau Margaux (I think) and proving
                                            to have a greater wine appreciation than the wealthy tycoons
                                            inside the top French restaurant who order just what the boss ordered.

                                            1. Tampopo - the hilarious interlude where the Japanese junior assistant usurps his much more senior executives by taking his time ordering in the very upscale and traditional French resto they had all gone to. Everyone in his party had ordered the same thing - consomme to start, sole meuniere for an entree and a Heineken b/c they didn't know what to order and were too arrogant/cowed to ask the server for suggestions.
                                              The junior assistant ends up ordering the quenelle (after confirming it was in the style of Taillevente in Paris, where that resto's chef had trained), escargot wrapped in pastry, an apple walnut salad to start (to which the server quips "a perfect choice"), then says he feels like a Corton Charlemagne and asks if they have an '81. The server says he'll call the sommelier for him. Senior execs lose major face....... =-D

                                              An Affair to Remember - Deborah Kerr gets Cary Grant to develop a taste for rose champagne during the cruise they're both on (though they refer to it over and over as "pink champagne").

                                              1. Alo! Alo! The old British WWII resistance comedy regularly features wines & cognac.

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                  Don't think I have ever learned anything about wine from a movie but I do, (like ML said before) love seeing wine in movies. I find myself straining to see what wine they are drinking, I obsess over watching the wine glasses looking for editing errors, (was full then half gone then full again....
                                                  Loved Babbetts Feast, old bottles of Cliquot, Amontillado with the Turtle Soup...sigh.
                                                  I will confess I even saw, A Good Year...and liked it, not for the movie but because a few years ago I had a wonderful lunch at that estate in Luberon, (Canorgue) and it was so nice to see it again!

                                                2. Can't say that I've "learned anything" from wines in movies...but, boy, they really get me in the mood to drink some.
                                                  Last Friday, "Jet-Set-Playboy" and I went to see Bottle Shock...movie ended, we looked at eachother and said "WINE. Gotta go get some wine."
                                                  Thanks goodness Palate was willing to let us order since we didn't get there till 10:10pm...had just a hint too much wine...felt it in the morning, but it was well worth it.

                                                  1. Bottle Shock was a great film. I watched the entire film on the internet last night at a Starbucks. Catch this film if you get the chance.

                                                    3 Replies
                                                    1. re: roadfix

                                                      "It's because I'm British and, well...you're not." I love that line!

                                                      1. re: dd992emo

                                                        No one mentioned it thus far, so I have to add "Mondovino"--if you didn't see this movie when it came out, catch it on DVD. Very interesting perspective on the wine industry:

                                                        1. re: kattyeyes

                                                          I went to see Mondovino at an advance screening at Smithsonian in February of 2005. There was a panel discussion after the film with Jonathan Nossiter (the film maker) Pierre Rovani (then an associate of Robert Parker's) and two wine critics from the Washington Post.

                                                          The film is definitly subjective, and engendered a lot of controversy both here and in France (mostly political) It has a definite air of the politics of wine throughout, especially a lot of discussion of the Mondavi attempt to start up in France that was so contraversial) but with a lot of discussion about the philosophy of wine and the fight between the fans of "global style" and those that are all about "terroir."

                                                          It is not an easy film to watch from a purely cinematic point of view. Shot with a single (apparently hand held) camera, it is somewhat disjointed. It also focuses mostly on high end wineries. Prominant in the film are Michael Rolard, the Mondavi's, the Antinori's and the Frescobaldi's. Also features are Staglin, Opus One, and some Burgandies that I can't remember now, as well as James Suckling and other WS writers. Obviously, Robert Parker was featured often in the film, but that is to be expected.

                                                          As it happened, I had the good fortune to be seated in front of Pierre Rovani during the showing and we had a long and facinating discussion ranging over many wine topics both before and after the showing of the movie. Judging from the conversation I had with Jon Nossiter and Mr. Rovani after the film, Wine Spectator was not happy with how they were portrayed in the film. I'm not sure why other than the fact that several people in the film accused WS of tilting toward those wines who advertised in WS, but that is a charge that is not new, or will ever go away. I thought that the film treated WS very well over all. They have several interviews with WS reviewers, and seemed to balance out the complaints about WS with comments from winemakers who thought highly of WS.

                                                          However, if you are a wine lover, it is definitely a must see film, if only because it delves into the business of wine, not just the romance of it.

                                                    2. Bottle Shock was released on DVD- entertaining movie

                                                      4 Replies
                                                      1. re: The Chowfather

                                                        Thanks for reminding me--I saw it on the shelf last week and am looking forward to checking it out this weekend. I've been waiting to see it since I read about it here. I don't remember hearing of it when it was in the theaters (did you?)...how did I miss that?

                                                        1. re: The Chowfather

                                                          Bottle Shock is a loose interpretation of what actually happened at the French tasting in 1976. There's another film in the works that purportedly will be more accurate, based on George Taber's book "Judgement of Paris" (an excellent read by the way). Apparently, Steven Spurrier (Rickman) was so upset about the way his business and character were portrayed in Bottle Shock, he threatened to sue the producers.

                                                          The second movie about the tasting is called Judgement of Paris will tell the story from the perspective of Warren Winiarski, whose 1973 Stag's Leap Wine Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon scored tops among the reds at the tasting.

                                                          1. re: JamieK

                                                            I don't think the second movie is an active project any longer.

                                                            Robert Kamen, who wrote the screenplay, is looking for "financing," according to the August 8, 2008, Ventura County Star. Since another movie about the Paris tasting has already been made, it's not at all a certainty that the more factual "Judgment of Paris" movie will be made.

                                                            Do you have any info regarding new activity on this movie? I think Bottle Shock may have stolen all the thunder from any second movie about the same event, even one told through different eyes.

                                                            1. re: maria lorraine

                                                              No, I don't have any new information and I don't want to sign up for imdb pro to find out more. You may very well be right about the film being not in production anymore. It's a good book though, I recommend it.

                                                        2. Matrix Reloaded, 1959 Ch. Haut-Brion

                                                          5 Replies
                                                          1. re: mengathon

                                                            an excellent scene with the Merovingian

                                                            1. re: ibstatguy

                                                              If there are any Borat fans out there then this is a must watch: Borat's Guide to Wine Tasting. It is very funny. But of course Borat is not for everyone....watch at your own risk ;)


                                                                1. re: wizenhymmer

                                                                  Awesomeness!! Thanks for the link. It's been added to the Favorites.... =-)

                                                                  1. re: wizenhymmer

                                                                    There's another wine reference in Tampopo, in the scene with the vagrants, where one describes a bottle he dumpster-dove for behind a French restaurant. Forget the wine, though. "...the tail that trailed down my throat..." he said.

                                                            2. We have the chance now!!!!!

                                                              The world best sommeliers travelling through Argentina.

                                                              1 Reply
                                                              1. re: Juan Di Nucci

                                                                Juan Di Nucci, is this a movie you can get from anywhere? Trailer looks interesting. If so is there an english version?


                                                              2. To appreciate the lengths people will go to for their wine, "The Secret of Santa Vittoria" get's my vote. A whole town has to find a way to hide a million bottles of their wine from the invading German army. A lot of humor and simple pleasure, with an amazing cast consisting of Anthony Quinn and a young Giancarlo Giannini.

                                                                1. i think you wine folks might enjoy this review of "sideways" -- where wine appreciation is a metaphor for one's life perspective: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/649410#

                                                                  1. The Blues Brothers-Dan Akroyd and John Belushi being served Dom Perignon by waiter Paul Ruebens (Pee Wee)-"Wrong glass, sir!"

                                                                    1. From "Diamonds Are Forever" (1971):

                                                                      The type of sherry served to James Bond, M and Sir Donald Munger at dinner was a Solera.

                                                                      James Bond: "Pity about your liver, sir. Unusually fine Solera. '51, I believe."

                                                                      M: "There is no year for sherry, 007."

                                                                      James Bond: "I was referring to the original vintage on which the sherry is based, sir. 1851, unmistakable."

                                                                      Sir Donald Munger: "Precisely"

                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                      1. From the french companion films Jean de Florette and Manon of the Spring, I learned that if you drink a bottle every day you might someday run low on money.

                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                        1. re: Veggo

                                                                          That's Gerard Depardieu in the movies. In real life he was drinking
                                                                          6 bottles a day at some point, and still had enough money left
                                                                          over to buy several wineries. A quote: "I can be happy on this earth
                                                                          with very little, but I like to have a lot in my glass." I'll drink to that.

                                                                          1. re: bclevy

                                                                            Cool! My circumstances are more modest: one bottle a day, and enough money left to buy a new liver.

                                                                        2. The Saint with Val Kilmer and Elisibeth Shue.
                                                                          Chateau Latour.

                                                                          1. Slightly off topic but I just heard an interview with Leonard Cohen where he reveals that he would routinely drink three bottles of bordeaux a day while on tour. Often it would be Chateau La Tour! Awesome.