Wine on screen: undeserved or underserved?
Some people say that wine is sorely underserved on screen. These are very often the same people who work in wine and fancy the idea of being on telly, and I do not necessarily exclude myself from that subset. Talent scouts may contact me via the form on this website.
Many more point out that wine is rarely compelling in video form. They hold that it is a highly niche subject with virtually no visual appeal beyond the hackneyed tropes of sun-kissed vineyards and mesmeric bottling lines, and therefore that it deserves no more screen time than stamp-collecting, or any number of other obsessive hobbies.
Adding it all up, there is actually quite a bit of wine coverage available on screen right these days. Certainly more than is afforded to philately, anyway. For years, Saturday Kitchen has given wine a regular primetime slot on BBC1. Whether you like it or not, this is important exposure for wine, presented with in a populist format. In the last seven years, the BBC has also broadcast Château Chunder and a three-part documentary called Wine, as well as running plenty of wine stories in the news.
This year, a new series called The Wine Show is heading for our screens. The promotional blurb is not short of hyperbole but the trailer suggests high production values and a down-to-earth approach capturing the wine's romance and lifestyle, aimed at a mainstream audience. I also know of at least two other separate wine-based tv shows in early stages of development in the UK. Meanwhile over in America, the Esquire network is currently broadcasting a new series called Uncorked, a spin-off off from Somm.
Talking of wine films, there are plenty available. It famously began with Sideways in 2004. Mondovino was released in the same year, and since then has come Somm, A Year in Burgundy, Red Obsession, Blood Into Wine, Bottle Shock and A Good Year - all centred around our favourite booze.
Some of these movies are pretty terrible, but so are plenty of movies about any subject. Bottle Shock was particularly rubbish - so a new movie of that story called the Judgment of Paris is being filmed this year, with support from the original protagonist, Steven Spurrier. The below promo is taken from their website. Let's hope that the actual film, when it is finally released, is not so cheesy.
Then there's the online offering. Youtube has many thousands of wine-related videos. Again, much of it is crap but there is some very worthy watching too. One example I've mentioned here before is Plonk, a show that manages to combine wine and comedy to great effect.
Wine is far more prevalent on screen than most of us tend to realise. That's partly thanks to the accessible and affordable technology that now exists - meaning that anyone decrying the quality of what already exists has no excuse not to show us how they'd improve it!