Movie review: Bottle Shock

We connoisseurs enjoy a good film as much as the next cinema-goer, and it’s ever so much of a pleasure to find a quality film that happens to be centered around wine. Well, if we haven’t found just the ticket!

This one’s a few years old, but an absolute corker, if you’ll pardon the expression. Yet it remains utterly delightful, especially as it offers an opportunity to see the much-missed Alan Rickman in one of his best comedic roles.

He plays a snobbish English wine merchant living in Paris in the years when Californian wine was beginning to see real popularity. Aghast, he travels to the USA to investigate, and ends up butting heads with the bright, cheerful winemakers of the Valley.


You also get to know the passionate young winemakers in the family operations who are trying to better their parent’s vintages, including a latino worker who says he can taste his heritage in their terroir, which is borne out by his extraordinary skills.


In the end, Rickman’s character comes up with a challenge, which really took place, of a blind taste test between Californian winemakers and the French masters, in which the Californians claimed top honors, to the astonishment of all. It’s good fun, and quite emotionally satisfying as well.

The absolute best scene, for all of the emotion and narrative joy of the rest of the film, is surely watching Rickman bite gingerly into a bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken by the side of the highway.


The film is on Netflix at last account, and is on wide release in most countries. We’re utterly stupefied as to why it didn’t garner more praise or attention when it first came out: it’s truly wonderful, especially for the wine-loving film connoisseur.

New developments in the wine world

As always, nothing gets better over time than wine! There’s never been a better time to be a connoisseur of viticulture, between the ever-growing variety of wines on the market and the ever-larger body of research to help those who care take care of their wines with even more finesse.

Here are a few exciting developments in the wine world right now that we think you ought to be kept abreast of!


After years of living with the image of sleazy college parties emblazoned firmly on its name, boxed wine has come into its own. Thus, we’re now starting to use an entirely new phrase… high-end boxed wine! The latest boxes have preservation qualities that rival glass, and even better it in the way that they keep light from destroying tannins. Boxed wine has also been boosted by the drive to preserve cork trees by eliminating the traditional wood corks we’ve all loved for so long. Indeed, we’ve tasted many fine wines from Australia and South America which arrived in quite unassuming boxes. You may have a stigma at first, which is understandable (after all, any number of terrible wines are still to be found in boxes). However, the view from our decanter is that boxed wine has an exciting and promising future ahead of it: something we never thought we’d be caught saying.


With the rise of BirchBox and other high-end subscription services for necessaries, toiletries, or makeup products, not to mention fashion and food boxes, it has finally arrived, ladies and gentlemen: the wine subscription. Yes, you’ve heard correctly, boxed wine can now be delivered to your door on a monthly basis, with some of the finest, award-winning wines as part of the scheme. What more could you want? Of course, trusting your local delivery men to treat your merlots with care may be one unforeseen complication. All that said, there’s very little that’s gotten us as excited as the prospect of subscription wine of the finest caliber. Cheers to that!




The last development we think is worth mentioning is something of a long-term trend, but this past year has seen a noticeable shift. Energy-saving coolers have been on the rise, and we’ve never paid a terribly large amount of attention until now. You see, the latest coolers use LED lights to save on electricity, but there’s another massive benefit: these lights don’t damage wines. They also produce next to no heat, so you don’t have to worry about what might happen to the bottle closest to the bulb. We’re hard-pressed to think of a downside, really, so do consider buying an energy-saver next time you upgrade your cooling system.