Top 10 Wine Movie Picks
Sometimes, it just makes perfect sense to do nothing more than curl up in front of the television with your favourite wine and share a movie with the ones you love. Wine lovers are spoilt for choice when it comes to quality films to kick back and enjoy, but where to start?
We’ve pulled together a selection of great wine movies here to add to your queue, from light-hearted comedies to serious documentaries, and even a war film from one of moviemaking’s classic eras, sure to provide you with hours of entertainment.
Draw the blinds and get comfortable, as we share – in no particular order – Wine Selectors Top Ten Wine Movies Picks!
While most certainly not the first film ever made where wine is the central character, Sideways is probably the first that comes to mind for most. Paul Giamatti and Thomas Haden Church are excellent together in this dramatic comedy, based on the novel of the same name. In what has become the stuff of industry legend, the main character’s denigration of Merlot impacted sales of the varietal in the US and UK, but caused a surge of interest in Pinot Noir and drove an increase in overall wine consumption.
Rent it on iTunes
Wine Country (2019)
Comedian Amy Poehler’s directorial debut, Wine Country tells the story of a group of friends embarking on a wine tasting tour through the Napa Valley to celebrate a 50th birthday. With a fantastic ensemble cast, the film might be light on plot but it’s big on heart, with wonderfully natural chemistry among all the performers. An ideal Sunday night movie to unwind with over a glass of vino!
Watch it on Netflix.
Blood into Wine (2010)
What does a rock star do when they’ve conquered the world of music? Anything they want, it seems, including becoming a winemaker. Maynard James Keenan, enigmatic front man of the band TOOL, did just that, setting up his Caduceus winery in North Arizona. Blood Into Wine presents an intriguing picture of Maynard learning the winemaking craft, as well as the challenges of promoting what is something of a still- emerging wine region in the United States. Better still, you don’t need to be a fan of Maynard’s music to get a kick out of this film – if anything, his ecologist co-partner Eric Glomski steals the show with his wry observations.
Watch it on Amazon Prime
Back to Burgundy
A scenic and informed ode to classic winemaking, Back to Burgundy tells the story of three winemaking siblings reunited when their father falls ill. Taking place over the span of a year, wine provides them the opportunity to relive key moments in their lives, but the film also provides a window into the culture of winemaking itself, and what life on a working vineyard is like – seasonal workers arriving for harvest, taste-testing the grapes, the constant uncertainty around what the weather is doing – as well as the importance of recognising when to put aside the old ways and embrace the new.
Watch it on Amazon Prime
Sour Grapes (2016)
A shocking yet highly entertaining account of a multi-million dollar scandal in the upper echelons of the wine investment world, Sour Grapes tells the story of how Rudy Kurniawan caused a stir by buying rare bottles at auction at staggering prices, ingratiated his way into the company of the top players in wine, then began selling his stock for a vast profit before a savvy French wine producer, Laurent Ponsot, began to raise questions about the provenance of what was actually being sold. Ponsot’s prying revealed a counterfeiting operation dazzling in its audaciousness. Especially compelling viewing.
Watch it on Netflix
The Secret of Santa Vittoria (1969)
After the fall of Mussolini, German forces occupy much of Italy. Meanwhile, a small winemaking town learns of a Nazi plan to steal their wine, and organise to protect it at all costs. Such is the story of The Secret of Santa Vittoria, based on the best-selling novel of the same name. A minor classic of the time starring Anthony Quinn at the peak of his acting powers, it’s a gripping war-time flick of great charm and suspense, allegedly based on a true story.
Watch on Amazon Prime
The Court of Master Sommeliers is one of the most exclusive organisations in the world, with a gruelling examination process that tests applicants on every conceivable nuance of wine, spirits and even cigars. This breakout documentary follows four men as they strive to be accepted into the highly coveted Court, in a compelling study of the pursuit of mastery. Highlights include their study of wine tasting, where they push their palates to the limits to identify the notes they’ll be required to know by heart. As an added bonus, Prime Video also has its two equally worthy sequels, Somm: Into the Bottle and Somm III.
Watch it on Amazon Prime.
Go inside the counterculture that’s transforming French wine – as it is here – with Wine Calling. This recent documentary follows some of France’s most exciting artisans as they champion a return to natural, organic winemaking, where minimal intervention is the order of the day. You’ll discover a wealth of interesting knowledge, as different domaine heads explain their diverse practices and approaches. Passionate and iconoclastic, it’s a great watch best enjoyed with some of Australia’s best organic wines, for that extra special bit of context.
Rent or buy on iTunes
A Good Year (2006)
Featuring our very own (well, he’s New Zealand’s but we’ll take him) Oscar-winner Russell Crowe in a film by legendary director Ridley Scott, A Good Year is a feel-good drama that tells the story of an arrogant investment expert who is bequeathed a vineyard in Provence on the death of his estranged uncle. What follows is a classic tale of a man rediscovering what it is to be human, and finding love. Somewhat loosely based on the best-selling novel of the same name, if you long for Provence and the sun-drenched vistas of Bouche du Rhône, pour yourself a glass of good Australian red and settle in.
Rent or buy on iTunes
A Year in Burgundy (2013)
Follow seven winemaking from Burgundy as they contend with the elements through the four seasons of the challenging 2011 vintage in A Year in Burgundy. Featuring rare interviews with industry legends like Lalou Bize-Leroy of Domaine Leroy and Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, it’s a lyrically shot exploration of French wine that proves completely engrossing. Better still, do a double-feature and watch it back-to-back with its follow-up, A Year in Champagne!
Watch both on iTunes
But wait, there’s more!
There are many more great films and series for wine lovers to explore, so we felt it only fair to throw in a couple more for you to discover anew, or revisit. Here are some other top picks the Wine Selectors team have put together for the true oenophiles among you!
Mondovino (2005) – Witness the impact of globalisation and industrial-scale winemaking on wine regions around the world in this eye-opening documentary. One to watch thoughtfully with a big, serious red. Keep an eye out also for Mondovino: The Series. Buy it online
Bottle Shock (2015) – This rollicking comedy-drama takes you inside a fictionalised account of 1976 wine competition referred to as ‘The Judgement of Paris’, where in a stunning upset Californian wine defeated the wines of the French in a blind taste test. Watch it on YouTube
Finally, we end on something a little different, and a lot closer to home. Sponsored in part by Wine Selectors, Destination NSW and the South Australia Tourism Commission, Plonk is a light-hearted love letter to Australian wine. The series, made up of short and highly shareable episodes, follows three Australian larrikins as they journey through Australia’s great wine regions, poking gentle fun at themselves and at the sometimes-over-serious nature of wine culture. With guest appearances by Maggi Beer and interviews with the cream of this country’s wine makers, it’s a must-watch! Watch it on YouTube.
What are you watching this week? Do you have a favourite we’ve missed in our list? Share your picks with us on Instagram and Facebook, and check out our other great articles on Australian wine culture. In the meantime, stock up your cellar in preparation for a good old-fashioned binge-watch with our latest wine offers!