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The Film “Burgundy: People with a Passion for Wine”

090516aThe film, Burgundy: People with a Passion for Wine certainly delivers on the passion of the winemakers and people featured in the film. Viewers gain the sense that Burgundy is a special place and the wines crafted are exceptional. During the film, winemakers discuss Burgundy and the wines. The viewer learns that winemaking in Burgundy is a challenge. There are very strict rules. However, the growers and winemakers are quick to point out that within those rules they can show their creativity. We hear winemakers using words like finesse  and elegance to describe Burgundian wines. The wines are a reflection of the place. Terroir is frequently mentioned, with the caveat that from one vineyard to another the nuances may be very little, but in Burgundy they are there. One of my favorite statements was that you can drink Burgundian wine anywhere in the world. “But in Burgundy it tastes better.”

The film, Burgundy: People with a Passion for Wine was filmed by filmmaker and videographer Rudi Goldman. His wife, Dr. Lydia Bokken, was a production partner. Beautiful landscapes, dusty cellars, bricks, quarried stones and  oak barrels are the backgrounds for many of the film’s talent. The film can make you want to travel and experience Burgundy for the first time or a repeat visit.

Some of the passionate wine people are winemakers. Véronique Drouhin-Boss is the fourth generation winemaker at Maison Joseph Drouhin. She brings a personal touch to the wine cellars when she fondly remembers it as her playground. She and her brother use to roller skate in the cellar. Alex Gambal of Maison Alex Gambal links wine to classical music. Philippe Duvernay, co-owner of Chassagne-Montrachet Domaine Coffinet-Duvernay discusses filtered and unfiltered wines. He mentioned that his unfiltered wines are rich and powerful. Winemaker Olivier Leflaive sees wine and food as a marriage. He enjoys seeing how people react to his wine at a dinner table.

The film covers different stages in the winemaking process. Of particular interest is during harvest, some harvesters haul large containers on their backs. These are filled with grapes from other harvesters. After filling the container, the grapes are taken and emptied into a truck. Then the harvester heads back to the vineyard to harvest more grapes. Although the harvesting can challenge one’s muscles, there is always a harvest lunch to look forward to. Once filled, the trucks whisk the grapes to a production facility. In the winery, we see sorting tables and grapes fermenting. One winemaker comments, “While the wine is fermenting it is singing.”

Many Burgundian wines ferment and or age in oak barrels. The filmmaker included the process of barrel making from the cutting of aged trees to the toasting of the barrels. Viewers can observe the splitting of wood, cutting the staves and the hammer force to mold the wood into the barrel shapes. Fire and water are used during the toasting process.

We learn in the film that in Burgundy, winemakers celebrate the differences in the vintages. They do not aspire to make a house wine that is the same each year, rather they let the grapes speak for themselves and relish the differences that each year affords them. The damages of hail are presented, and one feels for the grower that may lose 50% or more of his crop. After a devastating hail storm, there is “a big silence in the village.” Some growers are experimenting with nets to help protect the grapes from hail.

In Burgundy, wine and food are not separate concepts. They go together. The beginning of the film features the marketplace at Beaune where a plethora of foods are for sale. The viewer sees the luncheon La Paulée de Meursault, where hundreds of winemakers attend. A rare glimpse of truffle hunting with trained dogs is shown. Karine Magnin of Les Truffières de Crépey takes her dogs truffle hunting where being in touch with nature is important for Karine and her two dogs. Michelin Chef Laurent Peugeot discusses the differences in wine from several villages and the foods that pair well with the wines.

Viewers also experience the theme of passion that is exhibited with the Wine Brotherhood initiation and the Charity Wine Auction at the Hospices de Beaune.

Rudi Goldman’s film, Burgundy: People with a Passion for Wine is a wonderful film for wine tourists and wine enthusiasts. The passion for wine and food is evident for those who make wine as well as those who make wine disappear. The film makes me want to revisit Burgundy and experience the people with a passion for wine.

The film is planned to launch in Europe in mid-October 2016. The phased-in distribution by EST and VOD rental distribution on different platforms includes the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, France, Benelux, Germany, Austria, Italy, Spain and South America.


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