Blog: Olly WehringCritics turn sour on Bottle Shock film

Olly Wehring | 19 August 2008

Reviews of the long-awaited Bottle Shock film, charting the rise of California's wine industry, have been decidedly mixed since it was uncorked for limited release in the US just over a week ago.

Several critics have found the film difficult to palate (sorry, last one), accusing it of playing "loose with the facts" and producing an "unripe storyline" (their pun, not mine).

Bottle Shock charts the build-up to the 1976 Judgement of Paris, now etched into the psyche of every Californian winemaker as the year local wines beat France's finest in a blind taste test. Randall Miller directs, with Alan Rickman playing UK wine buff Stephen Spurrier MW.

In one review, Carla Meyer, for California publication Sacramento Bee, slates Bottle Shock for "taking a fascinating historical event" and making it "a sidelight to an overindulged father-son conflict".

Given that those with power clearly felt the need to embellish large chunks of the story, one has to question: do they think the public is really interested in films about the wine industry? It suggests they don't. In which case, why bother?  

Presumably the relative success of the Sideways film, also set in California wine country, got some cogs turning in the film world. A second film, simply entitled Judgement of Paris, was also in production earlier this year.

Unfortunately, Bottle Shock still has no release date outside the US, except - curiously - for the Netherlands, where it is due out on 2 October.

Have you seen Bottle Shock? If so, don't be shy, tell us what you thought.


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