Tuesday, June 11, 2013
bottle shock


There is a really charming little independent film called "Bottle Shock" (2008).....I stumbled upon it purely by accident.  I had never heard of it and had no idea at all, what it was about...But, it had a terrific cast and, it turned out, it is based on a true story.
And, what is that story? Well, it is the story of how California wines began to be taken seriously by the rest of the world----particularly by the French, who until this particular time in 1976, held Top Honors where wines were concerned, and, in fact, California Wines were pretty much dismissed as nothing much at all.
An Englishman, Stephen Spurrier, who was a wine expert living in France, decided to explore the wines of California---particularly the wines of The Napa Valley.

He was really impressed.
He decided to have a 'blind' tasting competition between the French wines and the Wines of Napa, getting 6 or 8  French Wine Experts to participate in this 'Blind Test', and then, have the results written about by a Journalist who's expertise was Wine....And that is what happened because one Journalist covered the Blind Tasting 'happening', and then proceeded to write about the amazing results.
Nothing like this had ever been done before involving California Wines and French Wines.
As it turns out, this is really the story of one particular Napa Valley Winery, Chateau Matelena, owned and operated by Jim Barrett and his son Bo, and their struggle to become important makers of wines.
The English Wine expert, Stephen Spurrier, who was responsible for this competition, which took place in 1976, is played by the always excellent Alan Rickman, shown above tasting a Napa Valley wine..
The wonderful Bill Pullman plays Jim Barrett, the owner of Chateau Matelena,  
And his son, Bo, is played by the, at-the-time-not-quite-yet-so-well-known, very attractive Chris Pine.....(This was before the new "Star Trek" films, where Pine plays the young Captain Kirk, the part created and played by William Shatner in the original TV series.)
As with all "true" story's adapted for a movie, liberties were taken to make it a better story---as someone said, this is not a documentary....But, basically the fundamentals are accurate and true.  There was, absolutely and most definitely, a special Blind Tasting in France and there was a clear and surprising Winner.
This is a feel good movie----my favorite kind of film. And if you are interested in Wine, I think you will enjoy this film. I certainly did, and though I am not a wine connoisseur, I do have an interest in wine, and I have always been drawn to the location---the Napa Valley is  up in Northern California and has a romantic feel to it....
Many many years ago, back in the early 1970's I was going to take a trip up North and do one of those Wine Tasting Tours of some of the Winery's in Napa.  We ended up not going, and I have always been sorry about that.
So.....in a way, I feel like I got to take that trip, finally, with the movies "Sideways" and "Bottle Shock".....
An interesting side note: Jim Barrett, the Owner of Chateau Matelena, died this past March.  His son Bo, still runs and manages the Winery....And it, like most all of the Winery's up north, or anywhere, for that matter, have Wine Tastings and Tours available.
At the time we were going to take our little trip, Chateau Matelena, under Barrett's management, was a very very new Winery, and it was 4 or 5 years later that their winning Chardonnay put The Napa Valley and California Wines on the World Stage.
 So, this is a nod, to a small but really sweet film, that will make you smile and maybe even pour yourself a glass of lovely wine as you watch it.
I cannot remember who said this---I know it was a really wonderful filmmaker....Oh, I think it was Rob Reiner----that one of the signs of a really good film is that even when you know the outcome, it STILL holds your interest as if you didn't know how it ends----This is one of those films!
I'm sure it is rentable, and it may even be streamable.......
It is a really nice way to spend a good hour and a half, when you are looking for a film that isn't filled with Serial Killers, Zombies or Vampires or how the world is going to end with us being taken over by aliens......
It's just a nice story about people with a great passion for creating something really special, and who truly care about  what they do, and I love that it is something that actually happened!
Hey, here's a good idea---Get a bottle of Chateau Matelena's Chardonnay and watch the film with someone you care about who enjoys a good California wine, and a really good film, too, that just happens to have an emerging star playing one of the leads!


More To Come........







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17 Comments:
had this to say:

That sounds like a movie I would love, too. I just added it to my Netflix queue and will get it next time. Thank you for that suggestion!

I've been to Napa Valley once - a few years ago when I won an award trip when I was still working my corporate job. Just beautiful and we went to a winery and lunch in the vineyard. So wonderful.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013 at 3:01:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

Don't know why some things stick in our memory banks but I do remember reading about that wine tasting and California's surprising emergence as wine makers to be dealt with.
Thanks, I will hit Netflix to see if it is available. I do like Chris Pine.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013 at 4:48:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

I wish I could remember the name of the film but there was another one about a young woman who inherited a winery with no idea how to make it work and it involved that contest too, I think. If I come up with its name, I'll get back with it but right now I have no idea. Another little film

Tuesday, June 11, 2013 at 8:00:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

I am sure I would like that film. I'll look for it.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013 at 4:29:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

Great review once again! I haven't heard of it, but love Alan Rickman, and will check it out.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013 at 10:31:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

This is one of our favorite films! We own a copy and at least once a quarter will watch it. One of my most favorite trips was touring the wine country with friends. We rented a place on the Russian River for a week and had fun in the town of Healdsburg. Great fun! xoxoxoxo

Wednesday, June 12, 2013 at 8:00:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

I've heard about this story but had no idea it was made into a movie. Thanks for the tip! I'd watch a film of Alan Rickman reading an actuary table. For real.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013 at 9:16:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

oh wow! gads but Chris Pine has his daddy's eyes! And I love, love, love Alan Rickman!!! wow I am going to have to look for this movie! Thanks for the review.. and great photo's to show it off! You are a hellava sales person Naomi lol lol

Wednesday, June 12, 2013 at 1:08:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

I'll have to settle for something from Chateau Morrisette, the winery up the road from us. It's nice when you find a good movie you almost missed that didn't get much attention when it came out and I love Carl Reiner's description of a good movie. I must say, I might want to see Brad Pitt's World War Z though! I missed Oblivion and wanted to see that too (on the big screen).

Wednesday, June 12, 2013 at 3:12:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

What a great idea. Movie and wine date!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013 at 6:43:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

I saw this movie and enjoyed it very much.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013 at 7:24:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

Hi Naomi, I remember hearing about this movie and then it fell off my radar. If it's on Netflix, I will try to watch it this weekend. We went to Napa when we went to CA a few years ago. It was beautiful! M loved the wines. I don't drink. Oh, and it looks like I won't be coming to CA this summer. There was a misdiagnosis for my brother (that's a good thing) they will check his lungs again in 6 months.

Thursday, June 13, 2013 at 7:39:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

I don't think this ever came to my town, so thanks for posting it -- I'll hope it is at our video store. This might be something our wine group would enjoy watching together. With some good French and California wines!

Thursday, June 13, 2013 at 5:21:00 PM PDT 

Blogger Pat
had this to say:

I love wine stories. Californian wines and Australian wines have certainly made France look to her laurels.
I'm so glad it is Friday and I can follow your suggestion - at least to drink a white wine tonight -albeit alone.
I'll look out for this film - thank you Naomi.

Friday, June 14, 2013 at 4:08:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

It's great to find these sort of movies - ones that are somehow 'undiscovered' and fun to watch. I'll have a look on Netflix.

Friday, June 14, 2013 at 5:29:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

I saw the movie when it came out and enjoyed. I have forgotten some of the finer details so I think I'll give it another watch

I loved Sideways

I got to visit Sonoma once for a short time and had a wonderful stay

Friday, June 14, 2013 at 4:58:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

Love reading your reviews Naomi!
I haven't heard of this film and I will check it out for sure.
Great photos of the film too.
Many hugs!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013 at 12:47:00 PM PDT 

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