After a long, hard day at work, I love to open a bottle of wine, munch on a snack, and decompress in front of the TV.
My genre of choice would almost always be a documentary (I know, #nerd, but I’ve also been known to veg out to a Kdrama or two).
Going back to documentaries, however. Apart from those that talk about European history, I tend to gravitate towards ones that involve wine (naturally).
That said, here are my top five wine documentary recommendations (in no particular order):
The Wine Show (on Hulu)
As I’ve said before, I’m a big fan of people who make wine accessible for everybody. This show does that and more: In what I would call a very candid, entertainingly “British” approach to getting the audience to understand niche wines, hosts Matthew Goode (who I loved in Downton Abbey), Matthew Rhys, and wine expert Joe Fattorini engage the audience in a surprisingly educational tour of Italy during the first series.
Bonus points for useful wine gadgets (yes wine nerds purchase aroma kits because I did too), featuring Jorge Gutierrez (who I’ve met personally during my trip to Montes), and adding one of my wine heroines Jancis Robinson in series 2.
Oz and James’s Big Wine Adventure: Series 1 in France and Series 2 in the U.S. (on DVDs distributed by Acorn Media UK)
I may have written about this before (in my hero-worship of Oz Clarke), but permit me to share another observation as to why it appeals to winos of all levels: I think that James May’s self-deprecating moments throughout the series is the voice of the questions (and opinions) we have in our head but we’re too afraid to ask them for fear of looking foolish. Again, extra points for humour and accessibility.
Sour Grapes (on Netflix)
One of my fellow winos bugged me to watch this for several months but I initially found the topic too boring. I gave it a chance and boy was I glad I did. It was about the fall of Rudy Kurniawan, an Indonesian wine collector, who was convicted of wine fraud for relabelling negoçiant Burgundy wines to the significantly more expensive labels (like the prestigious and astronomically priced Domaine Romanée-Conti).
The Somm Series: SOMM and Somm: Into the Bottle (on Netflix)
The documentaries showcase the lives of would-be sommeliers, shining a spotlight on the amount of painstaking work it takes (it’s not just brainless drinking, people) to become a Master Sommelier. Personally, I think it’s a great show to calibrate one’s definition of a Sommelier.
Floyd Uncorked (originally shown on UK’s Channel 5 but is available on YouTube)
Our friend Alex Sawit of Cyrano was the first person who introduced me to the series and, as he deduced, the late (and controversially boozy) Keith Floyd was a celebrity chef before there was even such a thing. His exploration of different wine regions of France with his co-host Jonathan Pedley MW (from whom I learned the expression “educated alcoholic”) was entertaining, educational, and phenomenally gastronomic. I often recommend this to people who are only beginning to get into wine, and those who want a more visual approach in learning how to make champagne.
Having said that, I’m gonna grab myself a bottle of wine and a snack and start watching. Let us know what your favourite wine documentary is in the comments below. Cheers!