By Simone FM Spinner, CWS, MH
As an enophile and wine educator, I am always looking for fascinating and new ways to learn more about the elixir I adore. I have a library devoted to wine books and magazines, from enormous academic tomes to the most gorgeous coffee table books imaginable. I love to read, but sometimes, it is nice to kick back with a glass of something wonderful and just watch wine culture and adventures through the lens of a movie camera. Wine has become a hot ticket for documentary films and fictionalized wine movies, paving the way for wine-focused TV shows. Here are three specific wine TV shows I personally love and recommend to those who want to learn about wine. Sit back and sip in for a little wine edutainment.
I went for the Matthew’s and stayed for the wine… Dapper actors Matthew Rhys and Matthew Goode star in The Wine Show, set in the United Kingdom. It is a delicious combination of lovely celebrity, wine expertise, international travel, cheeky competition, wine education, culinary expertise and Bond quality gadgets. The Matthew’s refer to their esteemed wine mentor, Joe Fattorini, as “Obi Wine Kenobi” (Jedi-master and nobleman) who joins them in the show, along with wine experts Amelia Singer, Jancis Robinson, and actor James Purefoy who round out the cast/team.
Each formulaic episode of The Wine Show begins with a wine tasting where Joe surprises The Matthew’s with a new acquisition from a unique wine region that segues into a segment of Joe or Amelia visiting the region to explore something uniquely representative. They meet with producers to learn about the heart and soul of the region, bringing back bottles to taste with The Matthew’s. It’s a fun and entertaining way for viewers to learn about wine and regions around the world.
Season one is headquartered at the picturesque Torre de Sol house on the D’Amico Wine Estate nestled along the Lazio Umbria border just northeast of Rome and takes Joe, Amelia, Matthew, and Matthew to 11 countries, dozens of vineyards and wineries.
Season two is situated in the Provençal region of the south of France. James Purefoy and Matthew Goode explore France while Matthew Rhys returns to Britain to further develop his interest in every wine gadget he can get his hands on.
Where to Watch It: The Wine Show is available on Amazon Prime UK but not in the United States. A Hulu subscription is required for viewing in the United States starting at $9.99 a month.
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Klass de Jong, a Dutch creative industries and popular film producer turned his attention to documentaries and wine. His company, Farmhouse Films produces Wine Masters TV as an independent, subscription only, TV channel devoted to global wine education and inspiration. As with The Wine Show, de Jong aligned his content with the WSET (Wine & Spirits Education Trust) and Master of Wine organizations by featuring esteemed Masters of Wine, Tim Atkin and Jeannie Cho Lee.
Wine Masters TV is the most educational and serious of the three shows focusing on “Terroir, Taste & Tradition.” The episodes offer a serious look into the world of wine. Some of the most esteemed French and Italian producers are featured and interviewed about their wines and their culture. The series is exceptionally well executed.
In addition to documentaries, Wine Masters TV is launching a new way to learn about wine with its Master of Wine led educational course series and an educational certification branch linked with the Master of Wine organization and the WSET in 2020. A tourism branch is said to be launching in 2020 or 2021.
Season one and two consist of 11 total episodes; each is focused on France and Italy. Five episodes detailing Spain are under production for a late 2020 release date.
Where to Watch It: Those with Amazon, Apple TV, Roku, and FireTV have an advantage once a subscription for the show is in place. Annual subscription rates are $59.99 for the series, $79.99 for all access to the series and content. On sale now for $39.99 for a limited time. $9.99 per episode and $39.99 per season (5 episodes) on Amazon Prime.
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It Starts With Wine takes a different approach to visually documenting the world of wine in its cinematography and style. The series is an interview driven format overlaying brilliant photography of landscape and cityscape. Wine Enthusiast Magazine produces this wine-focused series, launched in 2019.
The series follows wine world celebrities in the form of wine producers, wine-makers, grape growers, on a wine-infused global adventure. The camera plays the host and the subjects speak directly with the camera, in language that seems unscripted and authentic as they share their stories and philosophical approach to wine. The approach is refreshingly honest and revealing.
Each episode shifts from wine by highlighting a holistic culture from which the wine is derived. Each episode includes segments on local cuisine, celebrity chefs, and ‘the language of cooking’ unique to each region. The season only has three episodes; Uruguay, Argentina, and California’s organic wine movement. Each is as beautifully presented as it is informative and engaging.
Where to Watch It: Included with your Amazon Prime subscription.
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About the Contributing Writer: Simone FM Spinner is a top-rated university wine lecturer and certified sommelier with 13 advanced wine certifications, a bachelor’s and master’s degree in wine studies, and is pursuing her doctorate studying the socioeconomic and cultural effects of climate change on wine. She is a sought-after wine consultant, public speaker, and published author. She organizes wine events and international wine tours through her company Wine Rocks & Chasing Grapes™©. Her website is Wine RocksLLC.com™©