[intro-text size=”25px”]I’m always intrigued by people’s passions. Personally I only have room for so many, but some of the best times of my life occur while indulging in the passions of others. No matter how deep you delve into the intricacies of someone’s particular interests, you will always emerge enlightened, and this was exactly how I felt after watching Somm: Into the Bottle.[/intro-text]
Directed by Cleveland native Jason Wise, Somm: Into the Bottle is a documentary that takes you on an excursion into the world of wine, guided by the people who live and breathe it. Into the Bottle is a spiritual sequel of sorts to Wise’s previous film Somm, which followed a group of young wine connoisseurs, contending to earn the prestigious title of Master Sommelier- experts in wine history, science and art- a title held by roughly a mere two hundred individuals. Earning the title is a rigorous process, and Somm captures the intensive nature of the program. While some of Somm’s participants return for Into the Bottle, this film stands on its own as an entirely new journey.
Into the Bottle is segmented into ten interwoven parts, each exploring a different facet of wine through the stories and of the people who love it most. Winemakers, connoisseurs, sommeliers. These are primary sourche of Into the Bottle’s narrative, and the people that squeeze every drop of information out of any given glass of wine. They can tell you what bottle of wine goes perfectly with your meal of choice, where it came from, and it’s worth its price. Their senses are sharp and refined, and they can describe every sip’s flavor with the artistry of a painter- which is fitting, because as any wine lover would attest, wine itself is an art.
Each element in the production of wine gives it character. Into the Bottle takes us on a trip to several vineyards, wineries, and cellars, where we learn just how much of an impact the surrounding environment can have on a bottle of wine. If there was a drought that harvest year, you’ll taste it. If that wine was stored in an oak barrel, its in the flavor. Mold in the wine cellar? All part of the process. Anything can have an impact on the vintage, and as the contributors in Into the Bottle demonstrate, these distinct characteristics provide wine with its endless diversity.
Every wine-lover strives to unearth the roots behind their favorite drink, and Into the Bottle gives these connoisseurs a chance to share t. We learn that certain events of the past have greatly impacted development, whether it be a World War occupation, a Napa Valley wine uprising, or a devastating earthquake. There’s history in every bottle, especially when you’re waiting thirty years or more to pop that cork, and some of Into the Bottle‘s most enthralling scenes occur when the experts excitedly open rare or favorite bottles of wine.
One of the film’s main themes is the thirst for knowledge, and from a viewer’s perspective this film is appropriately satiating, presenting a wealth of facts and anecdotes by a myriad of intelligent, passionate people. Visually, Into the Bottle is a pleasure to watch. The cinematography is outstanding. Jason Wise has captured the beauty of wine in every frame, and gorgeous hand crafted drawings by his brother, Cleveland native artist Brandon Wise, perfectly compliment each segment. Coming from someone who typically drinks his wine from a box, I found Somm: Into the Bottle to be an exciting foray into the world of wine, and would definitely recommend pouring yourself a glass and checking it out.
See Somm: Into the Bottle at 4:30 PM on April 17th at the Cedar Lee Theater for a special screening and Q&A with director Jason Wise, and get a glass of Robert Mondavi wine with each ticket. If you can’t make it to the showing, the film is out now worldwide on iTunes, Amazon Instant, Google Play,