Beyond the Grape

Best wine videos

There’s a distinct global flavor to the Wine Spectator video contest that gives this collection almost an indie film-like quality – much like you’d see at a film festival like Cinequest or Mill Valley.

A scene from “Sound of Wine” one of nine finalists for Wine Spectator’s best wine video contest.

Voting for Wine Spectator’s best wine video contest is now open. I took a quick look at the nine finalists and was floored by the outpouring of creativity, overwhelming entertainment factor. I applaud the filmmakers’ ability to wring emotion from a topic that usually falls into cliche (violin-based soundtrack with subject(s) skipping through the vineyard) or boredom (wine-making process deconstructed in super slo-mo, extended cut). I’ve been producing Stark Insider TV vids for almost four years now and have come to appreciate what it takes to tell a compelling story focused on the subject of wine (we’re improving, but have a ways to go).

WS does a good job with this contest. There’s a distinct global flavor that gives this video collection an almost indie-film-like quality – much like you’d see at a film festival like Cinequest or Mill Valley. And speaking of quality, it’s uniformly impressive. There’s no Stark shaky cam here, or overwrought music and random spinning at wineries. Instead, we get inspired story telling, sumptuous cinematography, and high-end audio production.

Luc Plissonneau’s “Like my Father” tells the story of a small boy, and life growing up on a small family-run estate in the Bordeaux Supérior. Charming.

STARK INSIDER TV: Inside the Napa Truffle Festival

“Close to the Sky” features some of the best visuals of the bunch, taking us across the stunning landscape of Mendoza in Argentina.

“A Brief History of Merlot” is a clever ode to the rise and fall (thanks to Sideways and Pinot Noir) of the varietal that just wants a little respect.

And if you typically think of California, Italy and France when it comes to wine, “Winemaking in Thailand” may very well open your eyes.

My favorite, and the one that gets my vote for best wine video for this year, is “Sound of Wine.” There’s a Blue Man Group vibe to this one, that sees musicians playing wine instruments. No talking; just expression. It’s unexpected, and works beautifully.

“The Sound of Wine”

You can watch the other finalist videos, and vote here. The winner will be announced on September 18.

UPDATE: You’ll need to watch the videos on Wine Spectator, as they’ve disabled embedding.

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Clinton Stark
Clint is based in San Francisco and co-founded Stark Insider - a new media venture. His goal was to help fill the increasing gap in arts coverage. This site has consumed his every fiber. Yet, he still has time to talk Napa wine, review a play (ATCA member) or live show, and shoot videos. More: Clint's story...
  • Thomas Matthews

    Thanks for your comments! There’s a lot of passion and creativity in the world of wine, and we’re pleased to showcase it in this video contest. Wine in Thailand – who knew?

    Thomas Matthews
    executive editor
    Wine Spectator

    • Clinton Stark

      Yes, I didn’t realize there was such a high level of quality wrt to wine videos. Even better, discovering previously untold stories. Truly inspiring.

  • Tina Term

    Thanks Thomas and Clinton!!! This is Tina, the co-producer of the Thai wine video. I studied with Master Sommelier Peter Neptune in his WSET diploma class. During our first class, he asked me, “Does your country, Thailand, make wine?”

    I set out to find the truth and came back with the answer, “YES! Against all odds, Thailand does make wine… Really good wine.” Then I made a small video to tell the story. That humble video has now made it to be a finalist in the Wine Spectator Awards!

    Thank you for the recognition! And I hope you all will consider casting your vote for us and support Thailand’s budding artisanal wine movement!

    • Clinton Stark

      Tina, what a great story! I never knew that Thailand made wine, and really enjoyed watching your video. Just proves once again that wine is a never ending journey of learning, adventure.

      • Tina Term

        Clinton, the adventure gets even better! We are in the final stages of importing GranMonte wines to the U.S. And your ‘hood- the Bay Area- is getting it first! We would love to invite you to the unveiling, when it happens. Nothing firm at the moment. But we can keep you updated. Hopefully by November. We love your enthusiasm for new things!!!