Bottle Shock

Institute History

  • 2008 Sundance Film Festival


It's 1976, and Jim Barrett (Bill Pullman) is struggling to create the perfect chardonnay at Chateau Montelena, his vineyard in the not-yet-famous Napa Valley, where he has jeopardized everything for a dream. His son, Bo (Chris Pine), at first glance doesn't seem to have inherited his father’s love for the family business, and the two of them are often found duking it out in the backyard boxing ring, each hoping to knock some sense into the other. Steven Spurrier (Alan Rickman) is a British expatriate living in Paris who owns the Academie du Vin; out of necessity, he develops an idea to educate Parisians, not on French wine, but on the new wines coming out of California. A twist of fate along a dusty road brings the floundering vintner and the struggling shop owner together, changing both their lives—and the wine industry—forever.

Director Randall Miller delicately composes Bottle Shock as a cinematic love letter to California’s wine country, where he shot the film in its sun-soaked entirety. Based on a true story, the film reveals America’s initiation into and contribution to vinification, along with the brave and enterprising artisans who love nothing more than to bottle it.

— Jennifer Cochis

Screening Details

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