With the advent of on-demand movie sites, streaming video and subscription-based video sites, it has become a lot easier to sit down and watch a delicious documentary or a mouth-watering movie… Unfortunately, the issue of “1,000 channels and nothing to watch!” can plague even the most easy-going viewer. That’s why we’ve put together this list of wine and food documentaries and movies that are sure to inspire.
Release date: September 21, 2012
Take a look behind the scenes at high-class restaurants in this documentary. It includes interviews with celebrity chefs from France, Spain, Germany, the Netherlands, Denmark, the US and Japan.
Release date: June 21, 2013
Follow four sommeliers attempt to pass the Master Sommelier exam, a test with one of the lowest pass rates in the world.
Release date: November 9, 2012
Having just completed its third season, Mind of a Chef follows Chef David Chang (season 1), Chef Sean Brock (season 2), and Chefs Magnus Nilsson and Ed Lee (season 3) as they explore food from around the world and show viewers what it truly means to cook, think, create and live in a chef’s food-obsessed mind.
Release date: November 5, 2013
Learn about the winemaking process over the year in this documentary that follows seven families in Burgundy. It delves into the cultural and creative process of making wine, including the ties to the land, vines and grapes.
Release date: October 23, 2013
Experience the unforgettable stories of three restaurants and the people that make them what they are. The power of family, legacy, passion and survival reveal how meaningful food can be.
Release date: February, 2013
Never officially released in North American, this documentary explores the mythical status of Bordeaux and the change that is coming to the region prompted by the Chinese market.
Release date: October 2, 2011
A TV mini series, this three-episode show covers the story of the American activist struggle against the influence of alcohol.
Release date: June 7, 2013
This is the story of the rebirth of the bartender and the comeback of the cocktail. It follows two bartenders trying to achieve their dreams, features renowned bartenders and has commentary from Graydon Carter, Danny Meyer and Amy Sacco.
Starring: Catherine Zeta-Jones, Aaron Eckhart, Abigail Breslin
A top chef’s life changes when she becomes the guardian of her niece.
Starring: Catherine Frot, Arthur Dupont, Jean d’Ormesson
The story of Danièle Delpeuch and how she was appointed as the private chef for François Mitterrand.
Starring: Adam Bousdoukos, Moritz Bleibtreu, Pheline Roggan
In Hamburg, German-Greek chef Zinos unknowingly disturbs the peace in his locals-only restaurant by hiring a more talented chef.
Starring: Julia Roberts, Javier Bardem, Richard Jenkins
A married woman realizes how unhappy her marriage really is, and that her life needs to go in a different direction. After a painful divorce, she takes off on a round-the-world journey to "find herself".
Starring: Amy Adams, Meryl Streep, Stanley Tucci, Chris Messina
Julia Child's story of her start in the cooking profession is intertwined with blogger Julie Powell's 2002 challenge to cook all the recipes in Child's first book.
Need More Suggestions?
Read these articles for more foodie movies:
I’m lucky. My passion is also my profession. But wine and food are not my only passions. Great music also elicits the same strong emotional responses. Unfortunately, I am void of any musical talent. Growing up, I took the requisite piano, guitar and drum lessons, and while I could hear the music in my head and feel the music in my soul, it never quite sounded as good when delivered by my fingers. Oh yeah, I can’t sing either.
One of the greatest experiences of my life was owning a small blues bar … being a part of the live-music scene, getting to know the artists and drawing inspiration from them as they pursued their passion. I have always “celebrated the small” when it comes to wine producers, but that philosophy holds true for music as well. I have great admiration for those talented independent artists that are following their dreams and inspiring their listeners. They do it because they love it and they have something special to share that enhances our lives.
What better way to celebrate both than to pair some of Canada’s great indie artists with unique, distinct wines from “indie” producers? Life is too short to drink bad wine, and as the motto of independent artist label Six Shooter Records very succinctly puts it, “Life is too short to listen to shitty music.” So, this holiday season, give the gift of music and wine. Many thanks to Aimée and Shauna for helping me bring both together.
Hawksley Workman - Lover/Fighter
Bussola L’Errante IGT 2003, Veneto, Italy ($65)
Rich, bold, and deep with an edge. Hawksley’s a rocker, but he doesn’t need to yell. He does it with forceful grace and sophistication. Similarly, the L’Errante, made with dried Cabernet and Merlot grapes, is robust, intense, uplifting and penetrating. The tannins are deceivingly soft, but possess an underlying structure that gives the wine substance and meaning. Astounding how simplicity can evoke so much emotion!
Ann Vriend - Modes of Transport
Ruggeri Vecchie Viti Prosecco DOC 2006, Veneto, Italy ($38)
Ann and Ruggeri owner Paolo Bisol should get together and chat over a glass of Prosecco some time. They are both old souls in young bodies striving to create works of significance despite being surrounded by an abundance of generic, uninspired fluff in their respective industries. The Vecchie Viti is one of the most beautiful and pure sparkling wines that I have ever had the pleasure of enjoying. A perfect match for Ann’s music and lyrics — compelling, intoxicating, unadulterated and amazing.
Justin Rutledge - The Devil on a Bench in Stanley Park
Santa Maria la Palma Le Bombarde Cannonau DOC 2006, Sardinia, Italy ($17)
When life is hectic and you want to slow things down and don’t want to be disappointed — with both music and wine — you search for something soothing and comforting. Gentle and elegantly constructed with loads of character, richness, depth and a touch of spice. Down to earth and sincere, Justin channels wisdom far beyond his years, while the Cannonau possesses a gracefulness far beyond its modest price. Step out of the rat race for a few hours and let both put your mind and soul at ease.
Royal Wood - A Good Enough Day
La Crema Pinot Noir 2005, Sonoma Coast, California, USA ($38)
Listening to the gospel-like, theatrical sounds of Royal Wood, I can’t help but be taken back to the voice of a young Billy Joel and the song style of Paul McCartney. Calming (in a lonely sort of way) and introspective … yet you can feel the angst and heartache. Love and heartache — sounds like the relationship most winemakers have with Pinot Noir. You nurture it, love it, give your heart and soul to it and it either blossoms into something wonderful and sensuous … or it doesn’t ripen and stays green and bitter. Fortunately, the La Crema’s relationship with its winemaker is a clear example of the former.
Luke Doucet - Broken (& Other Rogue States)
Vina la Reserva de Caliboro Erasmo 2003, Maule Valley, Chile ($30)
Listening to Luke conjures images of a smoke-filled, back-alley club or middle-of-nowhere roadhouse where outsiders enter at their own peril, but where this balladeer is very much at home. His unique country-jazzy-rock-rootsy sound with engaging lyrics and captivating melodies definitely calls for something unfiltered from a winemaker that doesn’t play by the rules. Caliboro owner Francesco Marone Cinzano is rewriting the rules in Chile: dry farming, importing vines in quantities so large that the Chilean government has limited subsequent imports, macerating not for days but months and creating a wine so good that others are inspired to strive for greater heights. These two outlaws should go riding together on the plains of Chile (or Manitoba).
Rachelle van Zanten - Back to Francois
Col d’Orcia Rosso di Montalcino DOC 2004, Tuscany, Italy ($30)
Contemporary with traditional roots, never forgetting where you come from — holds true for both Rachelle’s music and the wines of Col d’Orcia winemaker Pablo Harri. Simply expressing in the bottle what the land and Mother Nature have given him, Harri’s Rosso is elegant with lovely cherry and dark-plum flavours with just a touch of earthiness. Medium-bodied with a silky mouthfeel and a longlasting finish. Honest, sincere and from the heart … both Rachelle and the wine.
Emm Gryner - Asian Blue
Rabl Kaferberg Gruner Veltliner 2004, Kamptal, Austria ($32)
Delicate, intense, exotic and undeniably attractive; Emm Gryner's Asian Blue is multidimensional, has incredible depth and complexity with a compelling edginess. The wine’s pretty damn good too.
By Gurvinder Bhatia
It’s becoming an annual thing, and I love doing it. Bringing together two of my passions … wine and music. Years ago, I wrote a column pairing independent wines with independent music artists. It was so well received that record company Six Shooter Records asked me to pair wines with bands at a new music festival they were planning for Edmonton.
At the inaugural Interstellar Rodeo last year, I put the pairings into practice. It seemed natural to draw parallels between the passion and creativity of both winemakers and artists. It was an overwhelmingly sensory experience, so we’re doing it every year.
Ultimately the wine pairings are meant to add another dimension to the festival experience, stimulating all your senses … sight, sound, touch and taste.
Life is too short to listen to shitty music. Life is also too short to drink shitty wine. I’m happy to continue to bring both together.
The Deep Dark Woods
Andre Aubert Grignan-les-Adhemar ‘Le Devoy’ 2011, Rhône Valley, France ($16.99)
Listening to the entrancing, beautifully lonely, theatrical sounds of The Deep Dark Woods, I can’t help but be taken back to past times as they seemingly pay homage to the late greats that came before them. Le Devoy offers depth, intrigue, loads of character and incredible value in this classic blend of Grenache, Syrah and Carignan from the historic Rhône Valley. Substantial without being intimidating, the music and wine both stop you in your tracks and draw you into a place of introspection wondering how they can be so good. Deep and dark combined with a little angst and heartache. Grab a glass, hold your partner tight and sway yourselves into submission.
De Angelis Rosso Piceno 2012, Marche, Italy ($16.99)
Vibrant and soulful with a bit of a raw edge, but undeniably amazing is the best way to describe both the band and wine. Relatively new on the scene, but hardly green, this southern roots-rock sensation, led by the powerful pipes of Brittany Howard, is tearin’ it up and making everyone rise up and testify. The delicious, smoky, meaty, juicy Rosso Piceno from Italy’s “upstart” Le Marche region is also making people jump to attention. Those who are calling Alabama Shakes and wines from Le Marche the next big things are a little late to the party. Both are already here. “Hold On” and be prepared to be blown away.
Cave Spring Gamay 2011, Niagara, Ontario ($21.99)
Expat Mike Plume may be living in Nashville, but his uplifting, undeniably Canadian lyrics make us proud to claim him as one of our own. Niagara-based Cave Spring is also distinctly Canadian; their wines make you feel good about wanting to show them off to the world. The wine’s juicy red cherry-fruit, silky tannins and spicy finish make you want to cheer go, Gamay, go! Both songwriter and winery have experienced success beyond our borders, but the fruits of their labour make it clear that home is where the heart is, and their hearts are, without question, north of the 49th parallel. Maybe nice guys can finish first.
Bougrier Vouvray 2011, Loire Valley, France ($18.99)
I can’t think of a more appropriate name for this lighthearted, spirit-lifting trio … they are, in fact, both good and lovely. A throwback to the boogie-woogie era, their music makes it impossible not to tap your feet and smile uncontrollably to their melodic harmonies. And what kind of vintage wine party would it be without Vouvray? Bright and fresh with a hint of sweetness, the wine can best be described as sunshine in a glass. Which begs the question, do people still boogie-woogie and drink Vouvray? If it’s to the Good Lovelies with a glass of Bougrier in your hand, you better believe they do.
Santa Maria la Palma ‘Le Bombarde’ Cannonau 2011, Sardinia, Italy ($17.99)
The mellow, psychedelic vocal intonations of Kurt Vile bring to mind the urban lyricism of a young Tom Petty or Bob Dylan. Mind-altering and intoxicating, the Cannonau’s multi-dimensional and penetrating spice and leather flavours are so good compared to its modest price, it will put you out of your mind. One sip makes you larger and one sip makes you small … careful, you’ve just been invited to the Mad Hatter’s tea party, and there’s no way out of the rabbit hole.
Don Rodolfo Tannat 2012, Mendoza, Argentina ($16.99)
There’s no easy way to describe the raw, genre-crossing sounds of CR Avery. Country, roots, folk, rock, punk, urban beatbox and spoken word are all encompassed in some form in this versatile artist’s creative and insightful music and lyrics. Similarly, the dark and edgy Tannat possesses old-world depth and complexity and new-world juiciness and approachability — defying traditional labels. They both lure you in with their intensity, but instead of trying to define their respective styles, just have a listen and a taste, relax, kick back and go with it. You’ll be glad you did.
Jean-Paul Brun Côte de Brouilly 2011, Beaujolais, France ($29.99)
The Skydiggers and JP Brun are making music and wines that stand the test of time. For almost a quarter-century, the band has been creating songs so familiar, they’ve become comforting standards on all our playlists. Elegant, soft and silky, Beaujolais (no, not Nouveau) has been around seemingly forever, but its quality (particularly the quality of the crus like Côte de Brouilly) today may be better than it’s ever been. Fresh, pure and unmarked by intervention, the wine and music couldn’t be more down to earth. An obvious choice for those seeking sincerity, honesty and quality.
Steve Earle and the Dukes
Fabiano Valpolicella Classico Superiore 2010, Veneto, Italy ($17.99)
Steve Earle and Nicola Fabiano are living legends in their respective fields. Both ran away from home as youths to follow their passions, and the longevity of their careers is a testament to their talents, tenacity, unwillingness to compromise and individuality. Earle and Fabiano are often referred to as rebels, but artistic geniuses are seldom conformists. Earle’s intelligent, honest and perceptive storytelling takes on another dimension when combined with his country-roots-rocking sounds. Fabiano’s wines are real, conveying the story of the land through the honesty of what’s in the bottle. No tricks or gimmicks here, just quality and the straight, unpretentious truth.
Podcasts have changed the way we listen to the audio… that the more avid podcast-listeners probably don’t listen to the radio. There are a wide variety of podcasts available in the vast list of genres, so finding one that will keep you entertained or teach you the skills you’re looking for can be difficult. Here are four podcasts that will never get boring.
Hosted by Sarah Koenig, Serial is a podcast that tells one true story over the course of a season (12 episodes). The first season is complete and available on their website. It covers the disappearance of Hae Min Lee and outlines the difficulties surrounding the investigation.
In addition to the story, the website provides visual content, such as letters, a timeline, maps and more, to help keep all the information straight. Each week they release the next chapter in the story, making it important to listen to the episodes in order.
Scotch N’ Games
Hosted by Will Orford and Graham Barr, Scotch N’ Games is a podcast dedicated to enjoying scotch and discussing video games. The hosts counter the usual stiff stereotype of scotch tasting with their playful banter and intelligent comments. After you’ve enjoyed the tasting, they pull you into the world of video games, giving tips, tricks and entertaining commentary while they explore each game.
Wine for Normal People
Bringing wine tasting to the average person – aka the “normal” person – host Elizabeth Schneider translates wine into terms that everyone can relate to. She interviews winemakers, estates and wine experts in addition to providing detailed discussions on the more basic concepts, like oak in wine.
Wine for Normal People has been running since 2011. The podcast is supported by an extensive website that hosts videos, written content and more.
Start Cooking Podcast
Created by Kathy Maister for busy people who don’t have time to learn the finer points of cooking, Start Cooking provides short cooking videos and step-by-step photo tutorials. The podcasts come in video format, while the website has a recipe index and search option, so that you can find the recipes you need.
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