Oenophiles will drink up Bottle Shock, a tender ode to California wine. By Jessica Jones


For those of us who really like movies and really like wine, it would seem obvious that a movie about wine would be our idea of perfection. But we’ve been burned before (darn you, A Walk in the Clouds), and we’ve learned that merely putting vin on the screen does not a great wine movie make.

Thank goodness for Bottle Shock, a delightful independent film that charmed its way through this year’s Sundance Film Festival and is set for release this month . Based on a true story, the film centers on a frustrated 1970s Napa Valley winemaker (Bill Pullman) and his son (Chris Pine), whose Chardonnay upsets its French competitors in a tasting contest organized by askeptical European wine-shop owner (Alan Rickman). Turns out, the Judgment of Paris, as it came to be known, would help eradicate the second-tier stereotype of California wines and put Napa Valley on the map.

Since we know that wine plus cinema does not necessarily equal a hit, what elements did director Randall Miller use to ensure this crowd-pleaser would leave a good taste in movie goers’ mouths? We found out.

SIDEWAYS + UNDERDOG STORY - OVERDRAMATIC SLOW CLAP + CULTURE-SHOCKED TOURIST x SUNDANCE BUZZ = BOTTLE SHOCK