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Bottle Shock Review

Bottle Shock humourously captures the introduction and recognition of California wines into the world market. Before the Judgement of Paris, California wine makers were thought to be hippies with grapes and wine was only good quality if it was produced in France. The story starts with a man who’s trying to save his business but ends up learning a lot about himself and wine along the way.

The character development is stellar, exemplified during Steven Spurrier’s montage driving through California, but the film also sheds light on a largely unknown history of wine and how California got on the map. Spurrier’s acceptance and support of Chateau Montelena Chardonnay was something many people were unaware of. The Judgement of Paris would not have been possible without his change in mindset and support of California wines. While he did take a variety of California wines back to his shop, the winning chardonnay from Chateau Montelena put California wines, specifically Chardonnay, in the market. Consumers started to respect and accept California wines after Chateau Montelena won by a landslide. The inclusion of Chateau Montelena wine in the Judgement of Paris, orchestrated by Steven Spurrier and Bo, and the win they took resulted in a worldwide epiphany that changed the future of the wine industry. The pulling of ties from France and California that Spurrier experiences as he slowly comes to accept California wineries as legitimate producers exemplifies the struggle that consumers everywhere had, trying to change their thinking and acceptance of “new world” wines.

The film also explains interesting production techniques, different from France’s methods, and how wine turns brown when never exposed to air or is “too perfect”. While California doesn’t have the history France does, their wines beat the French twice in the Judgement of Paris. The film demonstrates how and when the wine world became bigger than France and what judgement and criticism new world countries had to go through to be recognized.


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March 2017