Reviews of 3 wine related documentaries

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Arv R
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Reviews of 3 wine related documentaries

#1 Post by Arv R »

I caught up on a few wine related documentaries on Amazon Prime and Netflix over the last few weeks. They can be found by putting 'wine' into the search box, and filtering. Compared to Disney+, Netflix, Starz etc. Amazon seems to have many more, or they just categorize them better. These were all at free level, in the sense that there was no extra cost for Prime Members.

People of the Vine, Season 1. An Australian science teacher turns wine writer (Tyson Stelzter) and travels to Tasmania to interview a number of pinot and sparkling wine producers. It is six episodes of 22min approx each. It has the feel of being created for TV with commercials as there are lots of cuts/screen dissolves, and doesn't seem geared up for modern internet binge watching, and its from 2014 when all of this was pretty well established. The producers are mostly small farmers and the life seems hard and all encompassing. For anyone who might have thought being a vintner was a romantic adventure, the documentary disabuses that notion, although the interviewees all seem happy and grateful. There's a lot of product placement in the series, that doesn't seem well thought out - an Alfa Romeo to cruise around dirt track vineyard 1 lanes? They keep referring to the grape glut on the Australian mainland, but it seems like Tasmania is still in growth mode, and has no issues selling their cool climate output. It's ok, but a little repetitive. Fans of the region would enjoy it more, of course.

Rotten, Season 2, 'Reign of Terroir'. This one is on Netflix, at the base level. It's kind of rambling leading off with how some growers in the Languedoc have formed groups that burn others crops, or destroy negociants suspected of buying Spanish wine. They interview growers victimized by the group - called KRAV - and its not obvious why they were picked for abuse (they appear to have reduced plantings and added olive trees). Maybe they had withdrawn from the coop, but that was left out. A corpulent negociant is then interviewed, whose facility had been damaged, and he complains that he had only bought a little Spanish wine. The authorities seem to be treating these as terrorist suspects - wiretapping and intercepting - but it doesn't seem very effective as everyone still seems to be out on the loose and not even detained. Where the documentary gets interesting is when they show that the real competition is in China - a huge vineyard built out of the desert is shown with the owners/winemakers. It's pretty amazing seeing that, and those wines seem to be getting some regard in blind tastings. I recommend this show, and at 55 min, its an easy one. All the farmer/growers in the Languedoc end up looking pretty bad, IMO, and its hard to be sympathetic even if I generally like that kind of GSM wine.

France, Wine Country of Bordeaux, Joseph Resendo. This is a short 24 min old school travel documentary. It's from only a few years ago, but feels like something one would have seen in the 70's in school on a rainy day at recess time. Still, its kind of charming, and for those who enjoy Bordeaux's wines, but have never visited, it's interesting to see everything up close. They go through the main city, the various communes, the massive new Museum, the catacombs in St Emilion, and so on. A few prominent estates are visited (Ponet Canet, Guiraud) as well as lesser known ones. The farmers market there also gets a fly by, and it looks amazing. So, for those who are really into BDX, this is worth the 25m, especially if one hasn't been there and is unlikely to get the chance any time soon. If anything, it does motivate me to try and see it the next time we are able to truly travel abroad.

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