Lockdown Wine Festival
I originally wanted to do this as an interactive experience this spring. People would have been invited to a vineyard for some food and wine where you would meet and discuss the film, etc. I wanted more than one winery involved as I wanted to invite my friends and people I've met from various winemaking regions and the wine business community here in New Hampshire.
Then COVID-19 landed on our shores. And I wanted to do something to help share my love of wine with others. So I'm changing it up a bit...
The General Idea:
Think of this similar to a book club - except with movies about wine. All have some messages that mean something to me. I'm sure some of you will find meaning here too.
Every few days I will ask you to watch a movie or a collection of movies (some are fairly short). Besides, you are looking for something different to do, right?
Then we will get together and discuss the film(s). I haven't settled on FB Live, Zoom, or maybe some other technology. I'll post the location up later.
I want to see what you get out of them. Like I said, some of it will be of interest, some may not. Almost all of these will give you some idea of why winemakers do what they do.
I'm not going to give away the farm, but I am going to tell you afterwards what the film means to me. There will be films that you have never heard about. There will be films you may have had no reason until now to see.
If you have seen the film before, watch it again so you are ready to discuss it.
I will try to interleave documentaries with feature films to mix it up a bit. Besides, too many documentaries (even good ones) get tedious.
I'm going to invite friends from the wine industry to be my guests, join us, and comment on the films. This is supposed to be a fun thing to do. I hope you have a glass of wine during the live portion. If you like what you've heard thank the person by buying some of their wine - or thank them in advance. I hope that will encourage them to join me in this endeavor.
Where possible, I tried to find films that are readily available on Netflix, iTunes, or Amazon Prime. Some that are on my list are sadly, no longer available to stream on any of those services and will not be included.
So, here are the films...
Prerequisite: A Year in Burgundy Available on Amazon Prime, iTunes
I recommend "A Year in Burgundy" to understand what a typical year looks like in the vineyard, in the winery, and in the markets. This movie gives you an idea of what is involved in making wines.
One has to understand that every year presents its own challenges. Grape vines are perennial plants that:
- Go dormant in winter
- Need to be pruned in spring (lots of last year's growth removed)
- Break bud and produce new fruiting shoots in spring
- Flower and set fruit in late spring
- Grow fruit all summer
- Ripen that fruit in late summer or early fall
- Get harvested for that vintage
- Go dormant again (repeat)
Every year presents a new challenge.
Most of the people in this film were born into this life. Many of us have chosen this life - often as a second career.
Film 1: American Wine Story: Available on iTunes, Amazon Prime Video
A former New England Patriot quarterback is prominently featured in this film. Watch the longer interview with him from the title screen. His bits of wisdom are sprinkled throughout the film. Watch the end credits for a special link to yet another more recent Patriots quarterback.
Learn about some of the new frontiers of grape growing and winemaking. The frontiers keep moving.
Pinot Noir or Cabernet Sauvignon from Washington state.
Film 2: Wine Diamonds: Included with Amazon Prime
What does wine from the midwest have to do with New England winemaking? Other than the fact that they have been doing it for a longer period of time, more than you might think "not much". You would be mistaken.
New England Vineyards share a similar climate and grape varieties with the midwest.
Recommended New Hampshire Wines:
Flag Hill La Crescent
Appolo Vineyards Brianna or Brianna Reserve
Appolo Vineyards Dragonfly Red (only available at Market Basket stores for the time being)
These wines can be found at the individual wineries or at retail: