Take 5: Escapist films for wine lovers

Glorious sun-drenched countryside isn’t only good for winemaking, it also creates a wonderful setting for movies. Take a virtual trip to vineyards and wine cellars across the globe with our five of the best escapist films for wine lovers. Beverly Tabbron MW of Hallgarten & Novum Wines has even provided a wine pairing for each film – that’s next Friday night sorted…

Bottle Shock

The entertaining tale of the 1976 Judgement of Paris blind tasting of Californian vs French wines, which rocked the French wine establishment to its core. The wonderful Alan Rickman plays Stephen Spurrier, an expat Englishman living in Paris who has his prejudices upended when he visits Napa and discovers the superlative quality of wines being produced there. But can he convince French wine snobs that these Californian wines are worth taking seriously? Even though you already know the answer, it’s hugely enjoyable watching it all play out.

Vintage: 2008

Find it: on Netflix.

Beverly Tabbron MW’s pairing: Sanford, Chardonnay, Sta. Rita Hills, California 2017 – one of California’s finest.


Surely one of the most-loved films in which wine plays a starring role. The movie follows depressed 40-something writer Miles (Paul Giamatti) and his former college roommate, unsuccessful actor Jack (Thomas Haden Church) on their week-long road trip through the wineries of Santa Barbara. Nuances of friendship and fine wines are explored in equal measure in a movie that’s guaranteed to have you adding a wine tour to your own holiday hit-list.

Vintage: 2004

Find it: to rent on Amazon.

Beverly Tabbron MW’s pairing: Château Oumsiyat, Mount Lebanon, Merlot 2018

Merlot from the other side of the world – Miles does say anything but Merlot, but we are here to convince you otherwise!

A Good Year

A grand cru cast – Russell Crowe, Tom Hollander, Albert Finney and Marion Cotillard – feature in this romantic wine-soaked romp through the Luberon.

Director Ridley Scott’s adaptation of Peter Mayle’s (A Year in Provence) novel contrasts the grey of a rain-sodden City of London with golden summer days in the heart of Provence. The former is portrayed as a world of ruthless backstabbing; the latter represents protagonist Max’s (Crowe) wonderful, if eccentric, childhood on his uncle’s vineyard. While it’s not difficult to see where Mayle’s sympathies lie, will Max be capable of trading in the high-octane thrills of high finance for love and wine in the sunshine?

Vintage: 2006

Find it: to rent on Amazon.

Beverly Tabbron MW’s pairing: Château de Campuget ‘La Sommelière’ Syrah, Costières de Nîmes 2016 – a stone’s throw from Luberon in Provence but not such a secret wine.

Hallgarten & Novum, Beverly Tabbron
Beverly Tabbron MW of Hallgarten & Novum Wines

Wine Country

The wonderful Amy Poehler directs and stars in this wine-spiked comedy set on a girls’ weekend in Napa. Six long-time friends hit wine country to celebrate Rebecca’s (Rachel Dratch) upcoming 50th birthday – with all the usual fallout you’d expect from a Poehler/Fey vehicle.

Slapstick funny yet poignant, Poehler’s film suggests that if wine is the device that uncorks tales of disappointment and loss, friendship is the balm that heals.

Vintage: 2019

Find it: on Netflix.

Beverly Tabbron MW’s pairing: Maggio Old Vines Petite Sirah, Oak Ridge Winery, California 2017 – something a bit different from old gnarly vines in California.


If you want a change from sunsets amid the vines, check out this American tale of one young man’s struggle to sidestep his father’s expectations in order to become a master sommelier. Elijah (played by the talented Mamoudou Athie) is obsessed with wine and wants to make a career in it, while dad Louis (the equally good Courtney B. Vance) can’t contemplate Elijah not carrying on the family barbecue business (inherited from his own father).

Elijah’s journey, as he studies for his professional sommelier exams, takes him to Paris and through all manner of travails as he grafts to achieve his dream. But will he make it, or will it be impossible to break the shackles of family expectations?

Vintage: 2020

Find it: on Netflix.

Beverly Tabbron MW’s pairing: Brezza, Dolcetto d’Alba 2020 – prestigious region, and a popular with somms …

We asked Beverley Tabbron to clear up a few wine myths and share some unmissable finds. Read the interview here.


february, 2024


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