Bottle Shock

March 5, 2013

Despite having a great (albeit mostly notable) cast, the premise of the plot is incredibly difficult to orchestrate, and we are left with hallow characters that distract from the short sequences of Napa panoramics.

“The Judgment in Paris” as it is called, shook the wine world. In a blind taste testing, Napa wines outdid French wines, as judged by the French themselves. Bottle Shock is an apocryphal story about how the testing came to fruition, and how the winner of the white wines, Chateau Montelena was saved by the taste-testing. On the surface, a documentary would have been a better effort to capture the story. Instead we are presented a faux-drama of how the entire arrangement was created. It severely disappoints.


I was not anticipating a return of Sideways, though upon reading the production history of Bottle Shock, that Napa Valley was enthused with the project, hoping that it could deliver the same genius as the Central California winery tale told in Sideways, I feel they were blinded with optimism. This does not even possess an ounce of the same verve that captivates our fascination with Paul Giamatti’s genius portrayal. There is no character depth, and therefore nothing to explore besides cut-out stand-ins that occupy space until the ultimate moment in the film.


The casting director has to be commended. That is the only positive I can reflect on in the film – otherwise, we are not educated in wine as observers of viniculture.


Grade: D+



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