Movie Debriefing: BottleShock

Posted on April 10, 2009. Filed under: Movies, Personal Reviews | Tags: , , , , , , , , |

While flipping through the Redbox at my local grocery store trying to find a cute flick to watch last weekend I came across this one and the cast caught my eye. I read the short plot summary and figured for $1 why not?! What a great choice! Even at $5 I would’ve been more than pleased with this selection.

The gist of the movie is telling the story of how California winemakers got put on the map by beating out French wines in a blind Paris wine-tasting in the last 70’s. It is a great story that really warms your heart at the end seeing how far a little faith and hard work can go.

Alan Rickman plays English wine connoisseur, Steven Spurrier,  who has a French wine school. He travels to the states to learn more about the wine that California has to offer and plans to showcase the best he’s tasted in a blind wine tasting to prove that French wine is far superior. Rickman has no idea that his now infamous wine tasting would turn French wine’s superiority upside down and turn the world of fine wine into a spin cycle of shock, joy and outrage.

Bill Pullman plays Jim Barrett, the main California vineyard owner, who along with his son Bo, played by Chris Pine, are struggling to keep their vineyard afloat in tough times. Through layoffs and other downturns it looks like the vineyard will have to be closed and that their dreams of bottling fine tasting wine are at a close. Bo has more faith in their product than Jim and insists that Spurrier takes a bottle of their wine back for the tasting contest even though Jim is strongly against entering their wine in the competition. Bo is sent to France to represent the California wines in the contest and comes home a champion. At the same time Jim and Bo both learn that their wine may be out of the running as it wasn’t what they thought it was when they went to take a sip, but the bottleshock wears off from the wine showing its true color(s) and the bold new taste it brings to the world of wine.  It shows a true unity that existed between the various, competing, vineyards of California. They were competitors because they all were trying to sell wine, but they were allies because if one of them succeeded they would all succeed and in the bad times they all felt the struggles together. The unity is something that people in all industries can learn from and it shows how people that come together get more accomplished than those who try to go against the grain.

This is a great story with a little bit of love, a little bit of sweat, some tears and a great ending. It helps you appreciate the hard work that ‘kids from the states’ put into their dreams and truly helps you enjoy the fine things grown right here in our own backyard. I know I personally already love home-grown wines from the US and this made me appreciate what we have even more! Bottleshock is a great title as well, because this was the main theme and in the end this story proved that this one vineyard created a longer lasting bottle shock among the french, the Californians and wine connoisseurs across the world. Highly recommended!

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3 Responses to “Movie Debriefing: BottleShock”

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[…] Original post by freelanceallison […]

This is one of those surprising gems that you find when you least expect it. I loved this movie! (another gem – Dan in Real Life – wonderful!)

To call it a gem is dead on!! Good call with Dan in real life – that’s another one that caught me by surprise that I really really enjoyed!


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