Last lap before the film’s completion

For the last 2 months, I’ve been iterating on a rough cut of the final movie, improving it based on the feedback I gathered from friends and colleagues. Special mention: props to John Trinidad who gave me the most extensive and helpful feedback. Thanks my friend!

Now I’m one month away from completing the film itself. I should be done in the middle of July. All the clips and animation sequences must be in place, the picture must be color-corrected, and all of that accompanied by a decent soundtrack. Trust me, there is not much time left and my plate is full to the brim.

Lance Armstrong in action during the Tour de France 2009

I will be in San Francisco during that time, sprinting to reach the finish line.

The last lap has begun!

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Earth Day Every Day with Natural Wine

Image credit: I added text around this beautiful Blue Planet image from NASA.

Today, on Earth day, my statement is simple: by drinking natural wine, I support sustainable and organic farming methods in the vineyards. Easy.

And tasty!

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A visit to Alice Feiring

At the beginning of April, I flew to NYC to meet the most famous natural wine writer in the world: Alice Feiring. She wrote the book most of us read as our first book on the topic of natural wine: The Battle for Wine and Love. And now she’s a few months away from publishing her second book: Naked Wine.

Alice has been writing about wine (natural or not) almost exclusively since 2000. She certainly has a global perspective on the natural wine movement (beyond California), and I wanted to take that into account during the interview. I asked her about the roots of this movement which originated in Beaujolais in France, but also about the roots of the nascent movement in California. Here is an excerpt:

Thanks a lot for your time Alice. It was a real honor to meet you at last!

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The trailer is out!

Big day today! We show the world the trailer for our documentary on natural wine in California. This is done via the launch of a brand new website, just for the film:

Let me know what you think!

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Film trailer around the corner

Yeah, you heard correctly. The trailer for my documentary film Wine From Here will be out soon! Next week it is!

Earth Week

What better timing to release the film trailer than during Earth Week (April 16-22)? The objective of Earth Week, as was proclaimed by the Earth Week committee in 1970, is to raise public awareness of environmental problems and their potential solution. So how is Earth Week relevant for a film about wine?

In conventional farming, the heavy use of artificial chemical products (fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, fungicides) is a serious environmental problem. Isn’t it obvious that this is soil pollution? Isn’t it obvious that those chemicals end up in the grapes, and later in the wine we drink? Personally, I don’t want to be drinking those wines.

Ashley and Chris from Black Sears, located on the top of Howell Mountain in Napa Valley, are two farmers who care about the environment they live in. Those stewards of the land use organic farming methods. Hear them out:

Put your body where your grapes are

Think about it. What if every wine consumer had to sleep one night in the vineyard where the grapes were grown? Would they want to be exposed to a bunch of chemicals? Would they like to sleep in a realm of chemicals?

Angela Osborne, totally at ease in the vineyard.

Angela Osborne, who makes a delicious Santa Barbara Grenache, A Tribute To Grace, is one of those winemakers who care about organic farming methods. As you can see, she certainly has no problem putting her body where her grapes are!

Stay tuned. The film trailer is around the corner.

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How Wine Became modern @ SF MOMA

Last week I went to see the “How Wine Became modern” exhibition @ SF MOMA. Nothing exceptional, but certainly interesting.

Photo: © Matthew Millman, courtesy SFMOMA

The Stuff

The most relevant section for me, in the context of my documentary about natural wine, was the collection of maybe 50 different products commonly added to wine: different types of color, synthetic tannins, nutrients, phenols, etc. Lots of stuff!

On the glass separating me from this collection of stuff, there were nice quotes from different people in the wine world. Here are some iPhone pictures of them:

Interesting trivia

  • In 1976, 13% of world wine was exported
  • In 2011, 34% of world wine is exported
  • In 1990, the EU subsidized some vine uprooting to create scarcity (!)
  • 81% of Australian wine is exported today
  • 18% of American wine is exported today
  • Nothing in Canada is classified as “ideal wine region”, except for a tiny part in Souther Ontario.

DRC 1946: priceless

I was attracted by a piece of art from Nicolas Boulard: a bottle of Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, 1946. Purpose of the artist? To highlight the vulnerability to counterfeiting high-valued wines (a DRC 1945 magnum is worth around $80 000). Indeed, in 1945, Burgundy’s most esteemed 4.4 acres got devastated by phylloxera and the vines had to be uprooted. But the vineyard was not replanted until 1947, marking a blank spot for the 1946 vintage!

The exhibition will last until April 17. If you happened to be in San Francisco, give it a shot, it’s worth it.

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Tasting @ Punchdown Natural Wine Bar

Last night was a successful Tuesday Tasty Tasting (TTT) in Oakland for me and a few other natural wine twitterers, organized by David (@100aocs). We all gathered around a few tables at The Punchdown, a natural wine bar in Oakland which opened not even 3 months ago. Small detail: as John tweeted, they have an orange wine section on the menu 🙂

A few drops left in the glass

The owners, DC and Lisa, had prepared a fantastic list of French wines for us. Disclaimer for the score crusaders: yeah, I use scores, because I like this simple and succinct way to remember what I thought about it at that moment.

Le Cloux Delorme, Albane & Bertrand Minchin, Sauv Blanc, Loire Valley, AOC Valençay, 2009

  • flinty clay soils
  • little animal, mint on the nose, smells like Spring, a hint of maple tree sap, dry. Made for me. Loved it!
  • 4/5

Château Graville-Lacoste (Hervé Dubourdieu), Sauv Blanc, AOC Graves, Bordeaux, 2009

  • gravelly soils
  • green, skunk on the nose, not as short as the previous one, and longer in the mouth. Good one.
  • 3/5

Domaine Bernard Baudry (Cab Franc), Loire Valley, AOC Chinon, 2008

  • barny, sausage on the nose, dry tannins
  • 3/5

Domaine Henri Prudhon & Fils “Les Argillers”, Pinot Noir, Bourgogne, AOC St-Aubin,  2007

  • strong alcohol, paint on the nose, bitter caramel, did not find it balanced
  • 2/5

Maxime-François Laurent “Pourpre” (Grenache), AOC Côtes-du-Rhône, 2009

  • parsley on the nose, fruity, tannins, high alcohol, but still balanced. My fav of the reds!
  • 4/5

Ch Peybonhomme les Tours, Merlot/Cab Franc, Premières Côtes de Blaye, 2007

  • rustic, very masculine, a subtle taste of brandy that I always like
  • 3/5

Ghislaine & Jean-Hugues Goisot, Chardonnay, Bourgogne, Côtes d’Auxerre, 2007

  • limestone-clay soils
  • spring water directly from the mountains on the nose, very mineral, rich and supple
  • 2/5

Jacques Puffeney “Cuvee Sacha”, Chardonnay 70% / Savagnin 30%, Jura, AOC Arbois, 2005

  • jurassic limestone
  • 3/5

Frederic Lambert, Savagnin, Cotes du Jura AOC, 2007 (courtesy of Raphael, @returnToTerroir)

  • Typical Savagnin, so for me that can’t be bad.
  • 3/5

Pyramid Valley Vineyard “Late Harvest Semillon”, Marlborough, New Zealand (courtesy of John @sfWineBlog)

  • herbaceous, classic late harvest sweet sugars, but still refreshingly bitter (amazing), delicious!
  • 4/5

Yum. Yeah, that’s what I call a nice Tuesday Tasty Tasting (TTT).

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