Wine lovers understand that one of the greatest things about wine is its place in culture. Many foods and drinks can be enjoyed, but few are as dynamic or interesting as wine, simply because wine comes in so many different types and forms, and can be enjoyed in so many different appropriate settings. One place in which the versatility and cultural impacts of wine can be particularly evident is in the cinema. From films that revolve around wine, to those that merely feature it prominently, there are many films that simply seem perfect to watch with a nice bottle of your favourite. So before you head to Marks and Spencer or the local wine shop for your next bottle, consider the following four films to watch as you enjoy it.
This 2004 film has become the definitive favourite any time someone mentions films revolving around, or involving wine to any extent. The film is about two middle-aged men, Miles Raymond (Paul Giamatti) and Jack Cole (Thomas Haden Church) on a road trip through California wine country. With Miles looking to relax and Jack looking for a last fling before marriage, the two seem to continually find themselves in sticky situations. But in addition to chronicling the misfortunes of midlife crises, Sideways offers an appealing and in-depth look at the gorgeous California wine country.
2. A Good Year
A 2006 film starring Russell Crowe, A Good Year gives us a lovely depiction of the peaceful quality of a vineyard in Provence. In the film, Crowe plays the role of Max Skinner, a rather soulless investment trader. As a boy, Skinner spent time on his uncle’s vineyard in Provence, and the adult Skinner inherits the property out of the blue. From that point on, as he attempts to sell the property and advance in his career, Skinner gradually revisits the comforts of Provence – and develops a relationship with a local cafe owner (Marion Cotillard) in the process.
3. Bottle Shock
This 2008 comedy is based on “The Judgment of Paris,” a 1976 wine contest in which a Californian Chardonnay defeated French wines in a blind test. The film stars Alan Rickman, Chris Pine, and Bill Pullman, and offers an interesting – if comical – look at a significant moment in wine history, when Californian vineyards were validated on a global scale.
4. The Kids Are All Right
A 2010 film that centres on a family led by a married lesbian couple in California, The Kids Are All Right has very little to say about wine. This is a film largely about family relationships. However, from the gorgeous and open California scenery to the frequent presence of wine in the hands of the main characters, wine manages to become a sort of subtle theme throughout the film, making this a wonderful film to watch with a glass in hand.