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Interviews with winemakers small and large, famous and unknown, and wine consultants around the world reveal seething passions and serious conflicts; generations and traditions are the foundation for what some call the greatest sign of civilization down the ages - wine. But some are not so bound by tradition and there is always money to complicate things. The people behind the wines - some simple wine growers, others players on the world's business stage - make a tapestry of humanity.

Review by Andrew L. Urban:
With insults flying freely between French vignerons and big cheese wine consultant Michel Rolland, this engaging doco explores the mondo of vino around the world, touching on fraudulent practices, politics, personalities and poisonous relations in a well paced affair that covers much ground. Rolland, a car-phone toting, cheerfully arrogant chap hopping about the world giving wine advice (not freely) calls Languedoc hicksville for rebuffing billionaire wine family, the Moldavis of Southern California, who wanted to buy up the area and make it a part of their global empire.

Once at the Moldavi domain, we learn that one Moldavi here is not just a wine maker but a big businessman, "and more recently a philosopher". Er, that's as in a philosopher of wine...

This is but one of the many intimate snapshots that filmmaker and wine enthusiast Jonathan Nossiter embraces in his admirably loose doco. He doesn't worry too much if a boom microphone gets into the frame, or if we see him asking questions, or if the footage is wobbly and rough. Driven by a fascination for the people who make wine - and they're a weird mob all right - Nossiter roves in search of the essence of wine culture from all angles.

Needless to say there are some beautiful vineyards, rolling hills and crusty cottages and even some great interiors, including the odd cellar. But the best bits are the people; characters who are seen through the culture of wine and their devotion to it. Nossiter's collection of characters is extraordinarily diverse and well placed. So while ostensibly this is about winemaking and wine culture, it's really about humanity - and our relationship to wine, as well to everything else.

You'll even hear opinions about why it was futile and ridiculous for Christian missionaries to go to China and convert people from thousands of years of Confucian principles.

It is extensive, comprehensive, informative, insightful and yet laid back, as we sense the filmmaker's sense of humour sitting astride his serious intent.

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(Argentina/France/Italy/USA, 2004)

CAST: Documentary with winemakers and wine consultants in France, Italy, the US, England and Argentina

PRODUCER: Emmanuel Giraud, Jonathan Nossiter

DIRECTOR: Jonathan Nossiter

SCRIPT: Jonathan Nossiter

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Newton Thomas Sigel

EDITOR: Lesley Walker , Jonathan Nossiter

MUSIC: Dario Marianelli


RUNNING TIME: 135 minutes


AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: September 15, 2005

VIDEO DISTRIBUTOR: Roashow Entertainment

VIDEO RELEASE: February 2, 2006

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