WineCountry Staff: August 2009 Archives

Chatting with ... the Producer of Bottle Shock!

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Bottle Shock stars Alan Rickman, Bill Pullman, Chris Pine,
Rachael Taylor, Freddy Rodriguez, Dennis Farina and Eliza Dushku.
Catch the movie now - on DVD.

We caught up with Brenda Lhormer, producer of the charming wine-soaked movie, BOTTLE SHOCK, to get some inside scoop about the making and distribution of the film. And naturally we wanted to know whether BOTTLE SHOCK stars Alan Rickman, Chris Pine (the new "Captain Kirk" from Star Trek), and Bill Pullman got hooked on our Napa and Sonoma wines!

First off, tell us a little about how the movie came about. Where did the script come from?

BRENDA:  My husband Marc and I received the original script (written by Ross Schwartz) from a great friend of ours, Todd Harris, a Hollywood-based producer, in the fall of 2005. Ross (an entertainment lawyer turned screenwriter) was captivated by the Napa Valley back in the '60s and '70s and witnessed the transformation that occurred when Napa Valley wines beat the French in a blind tasting in 1976 (the famously coined "Judgment of Paris"). Chateau Montelena had the winning Chardonnay, and Stag's Leap Wine Cellar had the winning Cabernet Sauvignon. It blew the French away and put Napa on the map. So, twenty years later, Ross, and his wife Lanette, thought it would be a great idea to make a movie about this historic event and how it changed the world. Ross interviewed many of the major players involved in the wine industry at that time and wrote his script for Bottle Shock, focusing primarily on the characters at Chateau Montelena. 

Bottle Shock Getaway Package

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Bottle Shock is based on the real events surrounding the 1976 blind tasting in Paris pitting California wines against the French. The film stars Alan Rickman, Bill Pullman, Chris Pine, Freddy Rodriguez, Rachael Taylor, Dennis Farina and Eliza Dushku. Bottle Shock was shot in Sonoma and Napa during August 2007, and premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2008.

The Producers of the hit movie Bottle Shock are giving away an amazing Wine Country get-away package for two that brings the winners "on set" to see where and how the movie was filmed. Create the perfect Bottle Shock Evening (including a viewing of the film, your favorite wine, great friends) share your story, and you may win!

The 3-Day, 2-Night Bottle Shock Getaway Package includes:

  • 2 nights at the Lodge at Sonoma, where the cast of Bottle Shock stayed (Alan Rickman, Bill Pullman, Chris Pine, Rachael Taylor, Freddy Rodriguez, Dennis Farina, Eliza Dushku).
  • Helicopter tour with the producers capturing those beautiful aerial shots over Napa and Sonoma and stopping for tours and tastings at key filming locations.
  • A guided tour of Chateau Montelena in Napa Valley, whose 1973 Chardonnay was the winning white wine at the 1976 Judgment of Paris.
  • A guided tour of Kunde Estate in Sonoma Valley where several scenes were filmed, including the boxing ring scenes with Bill Pullman and Chris pine going at it, and the judging scene inside the ruins of the first winery in Sonoma Valley.
  • Dinner with the producers at Della Santina in Sonoma, where scenes with Alan Rickman and Dennis Farina were filmed.
  • A bottle of chardonnay from Chateau Montelena, signed by the cast.
  • Your very own Bottle Shock movie poster.

PRESS RELEASE: Louis M. Martini Annual Cellar Sale

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louisMartini.jpgSaturday 12th September 2009
12.00pm to 4.00pm

Built by Louis M. Martini in 1933, the Martini Winery has been a legendary landmark in the Napa Valley for over 75 years. With third generation winemaker Mike Martini at the helm, the winery continues to craft rich, distinctive wines that draw visitors to St. Helena from all over the world.

The Annual Cellar Sale offers the opportunity to buy cases of older vintage wines and big bottles, all at an incredible value with huge savings of 40-60% off retail prices!  This is an ideal opportunity to stock up your cellars and wine racks in time for Thanksgiving and Christmas. There will be a limited number of bottles available that have been signed by Mike Martini making them a great gift for the wine lovers in your life or a fabulous talking point at a party! We will be serving Italian style hors d'oeuvres and library wine tastings will be available.

The Martini Annual Cellar Sale begins at 12:00 pm and concludes at 4:00 pm and will be held at the winery.

Louis M. Martini
254 South St. Helena Highway (Hwy 29)
St. Helena, CA 94574
Special Tasting Offer


Grape Crush Begins

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It's early, but for some vineyards crush has already begun. On August 10th, in the dead of the night (3 am to be exact), Hunter Farms of Sonoma Valley began harvesting this season's first pinot noir.

Although the unusually cool weather has many Californians crying "what happened to summer?", it is actually perfect weather for growing grapes. More surprising for Hunter Vineyards is the seemingly increased quantity of grapes being harvested. According to the Press Democrat "Instead of the 15.3 tons delivered last year (to Gloria Ferrer Winery in Sonoma), the same 5.5 acre vineyard produced 21.5 tons, a stunning 40% percent increase"Click here for full article.

Watch the Video!

Rodney Strong: Wine of the Month

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chardRodStrong.jpgOne good thing about being in a tough economy is that everyone in the retail industry seems willing to give a good deal. Either that or the American public is so spending conscious, they actually pay attention to emails offering specials and discounts before automatically hitting the delete button.

Wineries are no exception. Case in point, Rodney Strong Vineyards highlights a wine each month from their collection and entices buyers with a special discount. For August, the wine is their 2007 Chardonnay Reserve ($40). They are offering %15 savings per bottle and 25% savings per case. Better yet, if you are already a wine member you get an additional 10%.

The tasting notes declare it has "Powerful aromas of spiced apple, pear and pie crust join lemon-cream and toasty oak on the palate, adding up to a compelling and thoroughly satisfying experience for true Chardonnay lovers".

Be sure to join Rodney Strong's mailing list and get notice of these deals by email.

**If you are planning a trip to Sonoma Wine Country, add Rodney Strong to the wine tasting itinerary. More information online and download special tasting offer!

A Food & Wine Odyssey in Tri-Valley, California

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food_wine.jpegTri-Valley, California is a haven of artisan vintners and undiscovered culinary talent.  Home to the Livermore Valley Wine Country, Tri-Valley is an affordable and authentic destination.

EAT: Passionate Chef's Pair with Passionate Winemakers

Attend a winemaker's dinner at one of Tri-Valley's restaurants. Local chef's are very passionate good food and wine, many feature regular winemaker dinners, including the Restaurant at Wente Vineyards. Nestled in the Livermore Valley Wine Country, the restaurant's Executive Chef, Arthur Wall works with fifth Generation winemaker, Karl Wente to create an exquisite menu.

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