National Wine Day! Wine Health! Wine Robots! Film’s Best Vino!

“Wine is sunlight, held together by water.”

It’s National Wine Day! Did you know that this is a picture of eternal life? A LOT OF ETERNAL LIFE?

Toast, It’s Good For You!

We all know that a glass of red wine every day tastes great, but science has shown that it’s a great way to maintain a healthy heart. Did you know the other benefits of a glass of wine? How about boosting your memory and immune system. Not only that, but wine in moderation might also help with weight loss. I mean, this stuff is gold!

There are so many great things to share about wine, including this story about a robot that can help pick grapes!

Introducing The Robot Winemaker Wall-Ye!

This comes courtesy of, a great site for the latest food, wine, chef and restaurant news from around the country!

This is Wall-Ye, a vineyard-tending robot being developed in France. Wall-Ye costs $32,000, but it can “move from vine to vine, recognize plant features, capture and record data, memorize each vine, synchronize six cameras and guide its arms to wield tools.” The solar-powered Wall-Ye can prune 600 vines per day and even collect data on soil and fruit. It even has an anti-theft device that causes the hard drive to self-destruct if the GPS detects it’s been removed from the vineyard.

Check out the story!

Toast To Good Health And Eternal Life!

We all know how good wine taste, but thanks to Food and Wine magazine, here are the eight great reasons you need to be drinking an f’in Merlot right now:

The Benefit: Promotes Longevity

The Evidence: Wine drinkers have a 34 percent lower mortality rate than beer or spirits drinkers. Source: a Finnish study of 2,468 men over a 29-year period, published in the Journals of Gerontology, 2007.

The Benefit: Reduces Heart-Attack Risk

The Evidence: Moderate drinkers suffering from high blood pressure are 30 percent less likely to have a heart attack than nondrinkers. Source: a 16-year Harvard School of Public Health study of 11,711 men, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, 2007.

The Benefit: Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

The Evidence: Red-wine tannins contain procyanidins, which protect against heart disease. Wines from Sardinia and southwest France have more procyanidins than other wines. Source: a study at Queen Mary University in London, published in Nature, 2006.

The Benefit: Reduces Risk of Type 2 Diabetes

The Evidence: Moderate drinkers have 30 percent less risk than nondrinkers of developing type 2 diabetes. Source: research on 369,862 individuals studied over an average of 12 years each, at Amsterdam’s VU University Medical Center, published in Diabetes Care, 2005.

The Benefit: Lowers Risk of Stroke

The Evidence: The possibility of suffering a blood clot–related stroke drops by about 50 percent in people who consume moderate amounts of alcohol. Source: a Columbia University study of 3,176 individuals over an eight-year period, published in Stroke, 2006.

The Benefit: Cuts Risk of Cataracts

The Evidence: Moderate drinkers are 32 percent less likely to get cataracts than nondrinkers; those who consume wine are 43 percent less likely to develop cataracts than those drinking mainly beer. Source: a study of 1,379 individuals in Iceland, published in Nature, 2003.

The Benefit: Cuts Risk of Colon Cancer

The Evidence: Moderate consumption of wine (especially red) cuts the risk of colon cancer by 45 percent. Source: a Stony Brook University study of 2,291 individuals over a four-year period, published in the American Journal of Gastroenterology, 2005.

The Benefit: Slows Brain Decline

The Evidence: Brain function declines at a markedly faster rate in nondrinkers than in moderate drinkers. Source: a Columbia University study of 1,416 people, published in Neuroepidemiology, 2006.

All of these great health benefits remind me of this classic wine-related movie exchange:

Jack: “If they want to drink Merlot, we’re drinking Merlot.”
Miles: “No, if anyone orders Merlot, I’m leaving. I am NOT drinking any fucking Merlot!”

One of the greatest movie lines of all time, and it’s related to wine!

Time to toast a couple of GREAT wine movies!


This classic film celebrates wine, friendship, love, disappointment, betrayal…sounds like it celebrates life! Here is the trailer for this modern masterpiece:

Paul Giamatti is Miles, a failed writer living a meager existence in San Diego as an English teacher. Thomas Haden Church is Jack, a fading television actor. The two embark on a road trip through California’s wine country. Miles wants to give his friend a nice sendoff before married life, while Jack wants one last chance to party.

They meet two local women, played by Sandra Oh and Virginia Madsen – two strong women who ultimately uncover Jack’s real story, and everyone’s life changes forever…

In one memorable scene in the film, Miles talks with great passion about Pinot Noir. After the release of this movie, sales of Pinot Noir wines rose by more than 20 percent. And of course, the classic scene where Miles screams about Merlot, caused Merlot sales to plummet. Once again, the classic line:

Jack: “If they want to drink Merlot, we’re drinking Merlot.”
Miles: “No, if anyone orders Merlot, I’m leaving. I am NOT drinking any fucking Merlot!”

The entire movie is beautifully written. This is the first film to win best screenplay from all five “major” critic groups (National Board Of Review, New York, Los Angeles, Brodcast and National Society Critics), the Golden Globes, the WGA and, ultimately, the Academy Awards.

Here is a hilarious exchange as Miles decides to “teach” Jack how to drink wine:

Miles: Let me show you how this is done. First thing, hold the glass up and examine the wine against the light. You’re looking for color and clarity. Just, get a sense of it. OK? Uhh, thick? Thin? Watery? Syrupy? OK? Alright. Now, tip it. What you’re doing here is checking for color density as it thins out towards the rim. Uhh, that’s gonna tell you how old it is, among other things. It’s usually more important with reds. OK? Now, stick your nose in it. Don’t be shy, really get your nose in there. Mmm… a little citrus… maybe some strawberry…
[smacks lips]
Miles Raymond: … passion fruit…
[puts hand up to ear]
Miles Raymond: … and, oh, there’s just like the faintest soupçon of like asparagus and just a flutter of a, like a, nutty Edam cheese…
Jack: Wow. Strawberries, yeah! Strawberries. Not the cheese…

Thomas Haden Church is brilliant in “Sideways”…but the Actor wasn’t even acting at the time. Church was concentrating on voiceover work when he received a phone call from Director Alexander Payne to audition for the role of Jack. Church was a finalist for a role in “About Schmidt”, another brilliant Payne film, and Payne wanted to use Church in one of his films.

During his audition, Church stripped naked because that was what the scene called for. He later learned that he was the only actor to do that. Talk about being a method actor!

“Sideways” was also a huge comeback for Virginia Madsen, who is terrific as Maya, a woman getting over her divorce while going to school to learn more about wine…here she is telling Miles why she loves wine…another beautifully written scene…

Miles: What about you?
Maya: What about me?
Miles: I don’t know. Why are you into wine?
Maya: Oh I… I think I… I originally got in to wine through my ex-husband.
Miles: Ah.
Maya: You know, he had this big, sort of show-off cellar, you know.
Miles: Right.
Maya: But then I discovered that I had a really sharp palate.
Miles: Uh-huh.
Maya: And the more I drank, the more I liked what it made me think about.
Miles: Like what?
Maya: Like what a fraud he was.
[Miles laughs softly]
Maya: No, I- I like to think about the life of wine.
Miles: Yeah.

Maya: How it’s a living thing. I like to think about what was going on the year the grapes were growing; how the sun was shining; if it rained. I like to think about all the people who tended and picked the grapes. And if it’s an old wine, how many of them must be dead by now. I like how wine continues to evolve, like if I opened a bottle of wine today it would taste different than if I’d opened it on any other day, because a bottle of wine is actually alive. And it’s constantly evolving and gaining complexity. That is, until it peaks, like your ’61. And then it begins its steady, inevitable decline.
Miles: Hmm.

Maya: And it tastes so fucking good.

This is a brilliant film about life, relationships, heartbreak – and of course, lots and lots of wine – drink up, Miles!

Here is another film about wine – this one telling the true story of one of the greatest upsets in wine history!

Bottle Shock

Alan Rickman, Chris Pine, Eliza Dushku and Bill Pullman star in this look at the legendary Paris wine tasting of 1976, which changed Napa valley forever…here’s the trailer:

[first lines of the film]
Bo Barrett: [voice-over during a vineyard pan] It wasn’t always like this. Before Paris, people didn’t drink our wine. I mean, my friends did. But you could hardly consider their palates discerning…
Bo Barrett: Hell, we were farmers… sort of…
[pan to empty bottles of Montelena label and several early twenties/late teens smoking hookah]

In 1976, Steven Spurrier – played brilliant by Rickman, best known as the bad guy in “Die Hard” – Spurrier was a sommelier in Paris, who comes to the Napa Valley to take the best he can find to Paris for a blind taste test against French wine. He meets Jim Barrett, whose Chateau Montelena is mortgaged to the hilt as Jim perfects his chardonnay. Barrett is played by Bill Pullman.

There’s strain in Jim’s relations with his hippie son Bo, played by Chris Pine, and his foreman Gustavo, a Mexican farm worker’s son secretly making his own wine.

As Spurrier organizes the “Judgment of Paris,” Jim doesn’t want to participate – while Bo knows it’s their only chance to save the winery. What happens at the “Judgment Of Paris” shocked the wine community and thrust Napa valley to the forefront of wine…

Here is a great quote from the film, which captures the passion of growing grapes and making wine: “You have to have it in your blood, you have to grow up with the soil underneath your nails, the smell of the grapes in the air that you breathe. The cultivation of the vine was an art form. The refinement of the vine is a religion that requires pain and desire and sacrifice. ” Yes, indeed.

The real Jim Barrett, owner of Chateau Montelena, appears in the film as a vineyard owner who pours a wine sample for Alan Rickman. Mike Grgich, the real-life winemaker at Chateau Montelena (and the man who was most responsible for the award-winning 1973 Montelena Chardonnay), appears in several scenes at the chateau, standing next to Bill Pullman as he takes a wine sample from a barrel.

You will all be happy to know that Mike Grgich also appeared in my wife Alex’s show “elimiDATE.” Even though he was almost eighty, he came up to Alex and said, “would you like to go out back and crush grapes?”


Here is another line from the film, courtesy of Steven Spurrier: “Wine is sunlight, held together by water.” The poetic wisdom of the Italian physicist, philosopher, and stargazer, Galileo Galilei. It all begins with the soil, the vine, the grape. The smell of the vineyard – like inhaling birth. It awakens some ancestral, some primordial… anyway, some deeply imprinted, and probably subconscious place in my soul.”

The poetry of wine….

If you like this story, check out the great book at tells the story as well…and of course, check out the movie with a big glass of wine in your hand!

I leave you with Daryl Hall and John Oates and their tribute to wine:

Daryl Hall & John Oates – Intravino!

Wine is so good for you that Hall & Oates once wrote a song about it, and here it is!

Categories: Academy Awards, Awards, Books / Media, Cannes Film Festival, Comedy Movies, Food, Food Review, Movies, Recipes, Talent/Celebrities, Technology, Travel, Travel Memoir, Uncategorized, wine

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2 replies


  1. Winemaker Mike Grgich! 90th Birthday Party! “Judgment Of Paris” Celebration! « johnrieber
  2. Hilarious Wine Descriptions! Monty Python Wine Reviews! Wine! Wine! Wine! | johnrieber

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