The connection between wine and cinema goes beyond the best way to unwind on the sofa. There is an affinity at play between these two art forms on the level of storytelling and emotion.
Like a film, a fine wine begins as nothing more than an idea, an aspiration in the mind of its creator. It then undertakes a lengthy process of development in which invention, instinct, and experience intermingle to form something unique.
That final moment of consumption transcends its medium. Ultimately cinema is about provoking emotion. Wine too is a provocation; a subtle combination of notes and flavours that fuse into something beguiling, that tugs on our memories and makes us feel.
This is not another list of questionable films that take place around vineyards—there are plenty of those around already. Rather, we want to point your nose in the direction of a handful of films in which the spirit of wine is layered in.
Certain cinematic achievements are simply begging to be appreciated alongside a good bottle, and we’re giving you the heads up so you can shop for the perfect drop for your next film night.
From the opening wedding scene, where red wine decanters entice atop white tablecloths, to Michael Corleone swigging vino straight from the bottle on the Sicilian hillside, to the meeting of the five families around a table dotted with unknown vintages, wine is as constant as love and betrayal in this iconic 1972 masterpiece. And at the very least you’re going to need a glass to relax over the course of the considerable 2h55 min runtime.
In this landmark mockumentary film/series from Michael Winterbottom, two of the UKs most beloved comedy actors combine in a format that just gets better with age. The contrast of some of Europe’s finest restaurants with the childish conversational antics of Brydon and Coogan continues to do two things incredibly well; make us laugh and set our taste buds alight. Spain, Italy, and Greece have been checked off the boys’ bucket list so far, and it doesn't look like they’re letting up anytime soon.
Aside from being one of the greatest gangster films ever made, Martin Scorsese’s 1990 masterpiece immortalised the Italian-American communion of homemade food and wine enjoyed in (questionable) company. This is high art, bravura filmmaking, and will require an Italian red of considerable character to stand alongside it—we’ve got you covered.
The greatest ‘wine film’ out there. Although this 2004 classic drags its characters through Californian vineyards, this is a painfully relatable comedy about midlife crises and the value of self-knowledge. As supercilious wine aficionado Miles doggedly educates his friend Jack (and us) in the finer points of wine appreciation, you’ll laugh and cry (with embarrassment) and you’ll really, really want a glass of white wine.
For its evocation of champagne on iconic occasions, Casablanca is surely unrivalled. Is there any more memorable toast in cinema history than Humphrey Bogart’s “here’s looking at you kid”? The good news is that champagne is more or less on tap at Rick’s Café Américain, so make sure to pick up a few bottles of bubbly ahead of time.
If we can suggest a new genre designation, allow us to file Wine Country under ‘quaffable’. In the best possible way, this is a film reverse engineered from the unmitigated nonsense that ensues when good wine and old friends combine to excess. Amy Poehler’s directorial debut boasts the funniest female actors working today, and the luscious backdrop of sun-ripened Californian vineyards will set the tongue tingling. Disclaimer: best enjoyed irresponsibly, with friends.
The Great Gatsby
If Baz Lurman’s cinematic extravaganza doesn’t make you want to break out the bubbly, nothing else will. A film that hits exuberant highs and dramatic lows in grandest 1920s style. The story conjures a spirit of wild indulgence and youthful abandon that most of us will never experience first hand. We’d argue that even on screen, a Jay Gatsby party is just cause to open a bottle of champagne. Just remember what goes up must come down, and the party does come to an end in tragic fashion for the eponymous host.
Vicky Cristina Barcelona
Woody Allen is unmatched in his evocation of the thrill of exploring a new city. This is never more true than in Vicky Cristina Barcelona, where Americans played by Scarlett Johnasson and Rebecca Hall find themselves entwined in a bizarre ménage à quatre. It’s all bathed in omnipresent sunshine, with carafes of wine and jugs of sangria littering the tables. Plus, does anything whet the appetite for a glass of Rioja like a silken-shirted Xavier Bardem? “We’ll eat well, we’ll drink good wine, we’ll make love.”
Of course, our suggestions are just the tip of the iceberg. There are dozens of film and wine pairings waiting to be discovered by you. Why not begin by exploring our online shop, full of unique and characterful wines, and plan the perfect night in front of your favourite film?
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