Bottle Shock: The Search for Perfection

Posted: July 1, 2013 by jperritt in Comedy, Drama
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

bottle-shock-movie-poster-2008-1020442676Bottle Shock was a film that didn’t receive all that much attention. Chances are many of you haven’t even heard of it. I had seen previews for it a while back and thought it looked pretty interesting, but never got around to it. The reason we decided to recently watch it, was because my wife and I are planning a trip to Napa to celebrate for our anniversary. And this film, as you may know, explores the true story of the 1976 blind wine tasting of Paris.

The world saw Paris as the premier winemakers and laughed at the feeble attempts of the Americans. A man from Great Britain, Steven Spurrier, decides to explore Napa Valley, and the surrounding areas, to see if these “hicks” can actually make some decent wine.

I’ve always been a fan of Alan Rickman and he plays the snobby Spurrier really well. Bill Pullman also plays the owner of the Chateau Montelena, Jim Barrett, and does a good job at his character, as well as, his son, Bo Barrett played by Chris Pine.

There were some scenes that bothered us. For example, the love some of the characters throw around is pretty ridiculous. The film, however, is set in the 70’s when “free love” was a pretty popular cultural phenomena, so I guess the film could be labeled as accurate.

Even though some of the love and dialogue of the film was a bit cheesy, it was really enjoyable. I’m not sure how accurate the movie is, but I found the story interesting. One aspect of the film, which I will focus on today, is the notion of perfection. The French knew they were the perfect winemakers. No one else could rival their craft, however, that didn’t keep Americans from attempting to make premier wines.

As Spurrier travels to the US to laugh at their attempts, he is shocked to find out that Napa’s wines are excellent. I don’t want to give away the ending, but let’s just say he’s impressed enough to bring some samples back to the UK and invite some US wineries to compete.

There is a point in the film where Spurrier comes to the realization that Paris is not the sole provider of great wine. And, he goes on to say something to the effect of, “Now we are opening this idea up to the whole world.” In essence he’s saying, Now anyone can compete and attempt to make good wine. In a sense, they are stealing the ownership of wine from Paris.

What’s interesting to me is how this idea of perfection manifests itself in various ways. There are people who love to assert that their football team is the best. Others want to say that their school is the best (in America these lines of distinction aren’t all that distinct). People want to assert who has “the best” bar-b-que, whose doctor is the best, etc. We all have this notion of “the best” because of the fact that we were created perfect.

We were designed with perfection in our blood, so it is hard for us to cease looking for its remnants in other places. And it is equally hard for us when these various “bests” end up failing us – whether that’s our sports team, our friends, our food, or our wine.  It is good, however, when these things do fail us.  Even though we fell from grace and are tarnished with sin, there is still this underlying notion of perfection we grasp. And even though we get earthly tastes of it from time-to-time, we still long for that day of redemption when our sinful imperfections fade away and the unfading garment of perfect righteousness clothes us for all eternity.  Then we can each boast in our best on the basis of Another.


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