The Vine & The Film
Movies bring us stories that we can watch and hear. Actors, screenwriters and directors are all part of an orchestra stimulating our eyes and ears. They are indeed modern storytellers. And some of them not only mastered the art of exciting sight and hearing, but also ventured the beauty of taste.
We have been writing before about how wine has been mentioned in successful movies, today we will talk about those movie stars going the extra mile and turning winemakers.
Francis Ford Coppola
The mind behind masterpieces such as The Godfather and Apocalypse Now, director and screenwriter Francis Ford Coppola needs very little introduction. What the public might not know is that winemaking has been a Coppola family tradition for several generations, with Agostino – Francis’ grandfather – making wine in the basement of his New York apartment building using concrete vats he constructed himself.
In the late 1970s, Francis Ford Coppola started his own wine venture.
Today the Francis Ford Coppola Winery is located near Geyserville, Sonoma County, where Chateau Souverain Winery used to be. The estate has been inspired by the concept of Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen, which were taken as a reference by Francis Ford Coppola to create a family-friendly facility, with swimming pools, bocce courts and a restaurant. In the estate is not uncommon to bump into some memorabilia from the director’s career best moments, including his Oscars, as well as Vito Corleone’s desk from The Godfather.
The winemaking is looked after by Corey Beck, CEO and Winemaking Chief at the estate, contributing to the project with his over 20 years experience within the wine industry. The extensive production of the estate is named and labelled after many of Coppola’s masterpieces, with the director actively being involved in the marketing activities of the winery.
Actor Gérard Depardieu has been one of the most influential French personalities in Hollywood. However, his acting skills are not the only thing Monsieur Depardieu exported from his own Country.
The actor owns Château de Tigne in Loire Valley, producing a variety of red, wine and rosé wines. The red varieties cultivated at the estate are Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Pinot Noir and Syrah, while Chardonnay and Chenin Blanc are the main white wine grapes.
Angelina Jolie & Brad Pitt
Angelina Jolie and her husband Brad Pitt purchased the Miraval vineyard for £31 million in 2011 from Tom Bove, an American businessman. Since then, they have been dedicated a significant effort to improve the quality of the signature rosé of the chateau. And unlike their marriage, the wine produced by Brangelina at their Provençal estate has gone from strength to strength throughout the years.
Despite the price range for a bottle of Miraval rosé can be easily found below the £20 mark and the wine is available through wide distribution channels, the brand has benefit from the fame of its new owners, with a magnum of its Muse de Miraval sold at over £2,300 at a charity auction in June 2019, prompting the French newspaper Le Figaro to label it as “the superstar of rosé”.
You might remember him as the FBI agent Dale Cooper in “Twin Peaks”, or as the eccentric billionaire The Captain in the sitcom “How I Met Your Mother”. Actor Kyle MacLachlan, starring in several David Lynch movies and television shows, founded his winery Pursued by Bear in Walla Walla, in his home State of Washington.
His first vintage was a 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon, receiving a 91 rating from WineSpectator. Kyle MacLachlan’s winery crafts small lots of limited production red wines and a rosé that – in his own words – speak of the promise of the region’s special terroir. Aside of Cabernet Sauvignon and rosé, Pursued by Bear is also producing a high-end Syrah.
Seresin Estate was founded by ex-Hollywood cameraman Michael Seresin in the early 1990s. Seresin left New Zealand in 1966 to work as a camera assistant in Europe and from 1970 began working on commercials and movies, before becoming director of photography on films ranging from Midnight Express to Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban to Gravity and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.
In the early 1990s, Seresin decided to found a winery in his native New Zealand that made wine in a sustainable, natural way and he has managed to do just that.
In early 2018, Seresin Estate was acquired by Ben Glover, the founder of Glover Family Vineyards, and Rhyan Wardman, a former first assistant winemaker at Seresin Estate. They plan to turn Seresin Estate into a collective winemaking facility called The Coterie. Michael Seresin decided to downsize his production and will be moving to a different location. He is also an investor in the Coterie and his wines will continue to be made at his former estate, in the manner that they always have been.
It is smart investments such as these that have helped bring Michael Seresin to the top of his game and made Seresin Estate one of the best wineries in New Zealand.
Storytelling can be expressed in many different ways. It can be read through the words of a book, listened through the lyrics of a song, watched through a screen or admired in a museum. The stories behind these movie stars turning winemakers are worth telling.
The stories behind the labels are worth listening.