Hollywood & Wine

How many times have you watched your favourite film and spotted a fine or famous wine being uncorked as part of a scene? Keen-eyed film fans will have seen Petrus turning up in the plot of The Thomas Crown Affair, Chateau L’Angelus enjoying a cameo role in Casino Royale and Latour 1961 being served in Ratatouille.

Champagne Bollinger makes an appearance in an earlier James Bond film, Goldeneye, and Cheval Blanc is among a myriad of star wines in that classic homage to the vine, Sideways. Who can forget oenophile, Miles, and his roadtrip through Santa Barbara County Wine Country as he seeks solace in friendship and Pinot Noir?

Another film with wine as its central theme is Bottle Shock, released in 2008, about the Judgement of Paris blind tasting (with Alan Rickman as Steven Spurrier). Having been in the pipeline for six years, a second film based on the historic Judgement of Paris blind tasting is to begin filming this autumn. Spurrier was allegedly not impressed by Rickman’s portrayal of Spurrier as “an impossibly effete snob” in the first film which captured the pitting of the Old World against the New.

This time around, Judgement of Paris has the backing of both Steven Spurrier, who organised the blind tasting, and George Taber – the only journalist invited to cover the event.

Based on Taber’s account of the 1976 tasting in which Californian wines famously trounced their French counterparts, Kamen’s screenplay focuses on Steven Spurrier and Warren Winiarski. Polish-American Winiarski was the then winemaker of Stag’s Leap in the Napa Valley, responsible for the red that took top honors in the competition.

London-born old Etonian Tom Hiddleston, who starred as F. Scott Fitzgerald in Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris, is hotly tipped to play Spurrier in the film.

If that isn’t tempting enough, Hollywood’s love affair with wine continues with heartthrob Brad Pitt who is to star in a film adaptation of The Billionaire’s Vinegar, a book by Benjamin Wallace on the fake Thomas Jefferson bottles affair.