At Sundance 2008 the Film 'Bottle Shock' Toasts to Napa's 1976 Win Over the French
Staff Writer - January 17, 2008
Bill Pullman, left, as Jim Barrett, and Chris Pine as his son, Bo.
Alan Rickman as Steven Spurrier.
What does 'bottle shock' mean?
Bottle-shock or Bottle-sickness is a temporary condition of wine characterized by muted or disjointed fruit flavors. It often occurs immediately after bottling or when wines (usually fragile wines) are shaken in travel. After several weeks the condition usually disappears. Source: Wikipedia
Screenings Dates & Time
- Park City:
- Friday, Jan. 18, 8:30 PM,
Library Center Theatre, 1225 Park Avenue
- Monday, Jan. 21, 11:30 PM,
Holiday Village Cin. II, 1776 Park Avenue
- Friday, Jan. 25, noon,
Egyptian Theatre, 328 Main Street
- Kimball Junction:
- Saturday, Jan. 26, 6:30 PM,
Redstone Cinemas, 6030 N. Market Street
- Salt Lake City:
- Saturday, Jan. 26, 6 PM,
Broadway Center Cinemas, 111 E. 300 South
The 2008 Sundance Film Festival presents 'Bottle Shock', a movie based on the true story of a Napa Valley winery and its surprise victory over established French Chateaus and Maisons, in what became widely known as 'the judgment of Paris', at the prestigious 1976 wine tasting in Paris, France.
'Bottle Shock', directed by Randall Miller ('Nobel Son' and 'Marilyn Hotchkiss Ballroom Dancing and Charm School'), was shot entirely in California wine country and is being shown as part of the festival's non-competition Spectrum program.
The movie tells the story of Jim Barrett (Bill Pullman) who, in 1976, risked everything he owned to create the perfect Chardonnay at Chateau Montelena, his vineyard in the not-then-so-famous Napa Valley, north of San Francisco, California. Bo Barrett (Chris Pine), is Jim's son but doesn't seem to have inherited the father's love for wine and is often found in a backyard boxing ring sparring with a partner.
The serendipity of life brings the Barretts and Steven Spurrier (Alan Rickman), a British expatriate who founded the first private wine school in France, together. It is this meeting which eventually brings about the 1976 comparative tasting between France and US for the best red and white wines, whose outcome put California on the world wine map for the first time ever.
Chateau Montelena's win in the white wine portion of the tasting was the first time an American wine had bested a French wine and - maybe even more startling - all the judges were French. Ironically, the movie supposedly never mentions Stag's Leap Wine Cellars, the Napa Valley winery that won the red-wine portion of the tasting that year.
Current vintages of the Chateau Montelena Chardonnay are on Utah state wine store shelves, selling for $36. Twenty additional cases of the 2002 and the 2003 vintages have been shipped in for the movie and parties surrounding the movie, said Utah wine broker Gus Magann, of Vine Lore.
The state has also shipped in 30 additional cases of the winery's 2003 Estate Cabernet, which sells for $94.
"It's worth every penny today, just as it was 32 years ago," says Jerry Giloman, owner of the Riverhorse in Park City. "This is our 20th year in business and there probably has never been a day that I haven't had a Chateau Montelena wine on the shelf."
During the first weekend of the festival, Giloman's restaurant, at 540 Main, acts as the "Bon Appetit Supper Club on Main." Some of the country's best chefs are in Utah specifically to prepare private dinners for the cast and crew of various Sundance movies, including those from 'Bottle Shock.'
'Bottle Shock' was in a production race with another movie on the same subject, entitled 'Judgment of Paris,' based on journalist George M. Taber's account of the '76 tasting, which is still in production and is expected to be released later this year.