Bottle Shock

  • Directors: Randall Miller
  • Producers: Jody Savin, Randall Miller, Brenda Lhormer, Marc Lhormer, J Todd Harris, Marc Toberoff
  • Writers: Jody Savin, Randall Miller, Ross Schwartz
  • Genres: Comedy, Drama
  • Actors: Alan Rickman, Chris Pine, Bill Pullman, Rachael Taylor, Freddy Rodriguez, Dennis Farina, Bradley Whitford, Miguel Sandoval, Eliza Dushku

Sommelier and wine shop owner Steven Spurrier, a British expatriate living in Paris, concocts a plan to hold a blind taste-test intended to introduce Parisians to the quality wines coming from elsewhere in the world (and save his business in the process). He travels to the not-yet-famous Napa Valley in search of contestants for his Judgment of Paris taste test, where a chance meeting introduces him to floundering vintner Jim Barrett of Chateau Montelena. Spurrier goes around Napa tasting chardonnays and leaving money for tasting. Through unfortunate circumstances, the chardonnay is lost and people go to throw it away. The local diner discovers it and buy it from them for Bo telling him to leave a crate as payment for the favor. Bo is picked to represent Chateau Montelena and travels to Paris where the taste test begins. While tallying the scores from the eight Parisian judges, Steven is shocked to find that Montelena has won. Each of the judges, choosing Montelena as their favorite continue to drink it as Steven tallies the scores and spit it out in shock at the news that it is, in fact, American. The report is featured in an article of Time and restaurants all around America are asked continually for the wine (Chateau Montelena Chardonnay 1973) and forced to state that they don’t have it. This twist of fate and the resultant oenological epiphany forever change their lives along with that of Barrett’s son, Bo, as well as the fortunes of Napa Valley wineries and the global wine industry as a whole. In the end, the futures of the characters are revealed to present day. Jim Barrett still makes wine at 81 at the time of this film’s release, Bo now runs the Chateau, a bottle of Montelena Chardonnay 1973 and the red wine, also from California, that had won the same competition were given a case at the Smithsonian Institute. Steven Spurrier hosted another contest, this time with full confidence that Parisian wine would win. California won again.[1]

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