Posts Tagged ‘art and wine’

Movies for Wine Lovers

March 26th, 2014 No comments

In the last decade, wine has become a hot topic for filmmakers. And no wonder: there’s something magical about wine: the beautiful vineyards, the thrill of finding a great bottle, the fascinating — and often obsessive — winemakers.

If you’re looking for a great movie that features your favorite beverage, check out our top picks:


The seminal wine movie, Sideways is a dark comedy that tells the story of two very different friends who take a road trip through California’s Santa Ynez wine country. If you haven’t seen this film, it’s time to queue it up on your Netflix immediately. (We’ve mentioned this one before, in our Wine Profile for Pinot Noir).

Bottle Shock

Bottle Shock tells the famous true story of the blind Paris wine tasting for 1976, which pitted California wines against French wines for the first time. Parts of this movie are a bit cheesy, but the story is too good to miss, and Alan Rickman is fantastic as a wine shop owner who initiates the tasting.


This outrageous comedy showcases how four different Northern California wineries go out of their way to cater to a visiting critic and get him to choose their wine as the best. A hilariously diverse cast of characters keep this story moving.


Somm is a fascinating documentary that follows four sommeliers in the last few days before what might be the most difficult test in the world. If they pass, they’ll become Master Sommeliers, of which there are only 200 in the world. It’s a nail biter with an unexpected twist at the end: a can’t miss for true wine lovers.      

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Wine Bottle Art

July 29th, 2011 No comments
Richard Pim's wine bottle stained glass dome structure in Pembroke, England

Richard Pim's wine bottle stained glass dome structure in Pembroke, England

Ever been captivated by the beautiful mosaic of colors in stained glass windows?  Are wine bottles not, also, often made of colored glass?  Mesmerized by the similar, beautiful glow, retired geologist Richard Pim decided to create a dazzling stained glass window-like structure using wine bottles.  According to Richard, “One day I sat in the garden drinking a glass of wine, and as I held the bottle up to the sun it made an amazing sparkly effect. I thought ‘that’s it, I will make it out of wine bottles’.”

Richard’s structure, an eleven foot high dome, rests in his garden (open to the public) in Pembridge, between Leominster and Kington in Herefordshire, England.  Pembridge’s recorded history goes back over 800 years, and it has often been called called The Jewel in the Crown.  On a bright, sunny day, Richard Pim’s wine bottle dome looks just like such a glorious jewel.   When asked about how he obtained the wine bottles necessary for the project, Richard replied, “I had no problems getting hold of bottles. Most of Herefordshire knew what I was doing, so I have had lots of donations. I have also drunk a good few myself.”  Though the structure is predominately emerald green, bursts of red, yellow, blue, and other colors abound.  “The bottles are all different colours, but the hardest to get hold of are blue ones,” reported Richard.

In the United States, The Minnie Evans Bottle Chapel in Wilmington, North Carolina was created from 4,000 bottles.  (The bottles, however, are not limited to wine bottles.)  Though not as translucent as Richard Pim’s construction, the Chapel, built by Virginia Wright-Frierson in 2004 as a retreat, attempts to mirror the natural light, color, and shape of its surroundings.  The interior even contains a sculpture of a tree.  If a visit to England is not in your immediate timeline, the Minnie Evans Bottle Chapel is certainly a closer sight.

So, the next time you finish a bottle of wine, have a look at the bottle.  Perhaps it may inspire you, too, to create a shimmering work of art?

The Minnie Evans Bottle Chapel in Wilmington, North Carolina

The Minnie Evans Bottle Chapel in Wilmington, North Carolina

“A Case for Wine” Exhibit at the Chicago Art Institute

September 15th, 2009 No comments

I’ve often found that wine lovers and art lovers are the same people. After all, the two are a significant portion of what makes up the “finer things” in life. This view was confirmed for me this weekend when I was in Chicago and took a trip to the newly-expanded Art Institute, where a special exhibit, A Case for Wine, is currently on display.

Wine has been an important part of the Art Institute’s prestigious collections since the beginning of the museum’s history in 1879. Some of the first classical antiques the Institute acquired included jugs for storing wine, and the first collection of Dutch master paintings they purchased included a familial scene that portrayed wine drinking.

In the early part of the twentieth century, the museum was fortunate to purchase a portion of Jacque Muesum’s collection of European glass and a similar collection that had belonged to J.P. Morgan. A Case for Wine, currently on view at the museum, features many beautiful drinking vessels from both of these collections.

What struck me the most is how skillful artists can bring new beauty to everyday activities such as drinking wine. Paintings and tapestries displaying wine drinking, winemaking and simple motifs of grapes and vines were an impressive reminder of the muse-like qualities of a great glass of wine.

The exhibit, subtitled “from King Tut to Today” also reminded me of the great heritage all wine drinkers share, as wine has been an essential part of human culture for thousands of years. I was most interested to learn about the development of the different shapes of wine bottles, and to see examples of innovations in glass technology that make wine storage possible today.

If you happen to live near Chicago, or to be visiting anytime soon, the Art Institute and A Case for Wine are both well worth a visit!

Learn more about the history of wine cellars.