Perhaps you missed it; it wasn’t exactly the Summer blockbuster nor will it be. This movie–subtitled in great part no less–-is a documentary of the conglomerization; AKA alleged unification; standardization; homogenization [pick a word, any word] of the world wine industry and the role Robert Mondavi has played/is playing in that endeavor.
It is a documentary that tries to be objective showing the Mondavi’s as artisans/businessmen but with good representation of the remnant of anti-corporation/damn the man/damn capitalism stalwarts trying to preserve the sheer pristine revery of the “pure faith.”
To the enophile and more, the wine historian, this is a must see movie even if not the most exhilarating flick you’ll ever see. In fact, it may take some discipline to get through the whole–seemingly unending and repetitive vignettes.
Stll, the mini-biographical sketches of whose who in winedom is tremendous. Robert Parker, Philippe Rothschild, Michel Roland, the Frescobaldis; the Antinori clan with short jaunts to Argentina and Brazil for yet more entrepreneurial exploration by the king of wine from Napa, Ca. is a nice lesson in wine history. The photography of the great growths of Bordeaux; the shots of Tuscan countrysides, is like a travelogue with purpose.
It is a thought provoking film at once giving rise to empathetic ponderings of the potential? of a one size fits all–Walmartization of world wines yet at the same time realizing that, try as the so-called purists might wish to think, they are not exactly the protectors of tradition as if they are making wine in 2005 the same way as their forefathers did 6-10 centuries ago.
And as much as I grow tired of having increasing difficulty discerning between many of the new world wines--purposely seeking out wine with some distinguishable characteristics--at the end of the day, these people are in business which means they have to turn a profit which means they have to produce a product that others wish to buy. You can stick to your principled traditions all you want but if there is no market for your traditional liking, you will not be making wine for long.
Hopefully, we will NOT be seeing an ever increasing homogenization of the world wine styles and the elimination of “terroir.” And some how in the grand scheme of things, market forces come to bear and the person plopping down his earnings to purchase his wine is the one who will rule the day and the destiny of the fruit fo the vine. Raise a glass!