Everyone loves wine. Hell, even Jesus loved wine and his affection for fermented grapes continues to this day with the Catholic Church offering complimentary sips of wine at every mass, even for the underage. The people whose passion and profession is wine are the subject of a new documentary from director Nick Kovacic, Decanted. A Winemaker’s Journey. It’s a rather dry documentary that is lacking in colorful characters and fascinating revelations. Simply, Decanted. A Winemaker’s Journey will be embraced by wine aficionados while the most passive of wine drinker will be left wanting something with a little more flavor.
Kovacic and his crew travel to the Napa Valley region of California, an area known for its wineries. The film starts during the harvest of 2014, the workers assemble the grapes from the segregated sections for each different blend. The grapes are then fermented and overseen by the vineyard’s winemaker. It’s fairly interesting how the winemaker’s are open about their process and are quite collaborative with one another, yet there’s very little within these segments that are going to be of great interest to anyone not extremely interested in wines.
From there Kovacic interviews his variety of subjects, though there’s little to actually differentiate between these people. Steve Reynolds runs Italics Winery and we are given insight into his business through interviews and the way the filmmakers follow him as he conducts his business and attends trade shows, giving tastes of his labors in the hopes of moving cases of his product. There’s also Heidi Peterson Barrett, whose claim to fame is selling one of her bottles for a half a million dollars in 2000. What Decanted. is missing is a wild card or someone with a strong personality. These subjects are all fairly inoffensive people of affluence. They’re nice people but they don’t make for captivating documentary subjects.
The most interesting aspect of Decanted. A Winemaker’s Journey is the brief history of the Napa Valley region, how it was a center of winemaking until prohibition outlawed alcohol at the start of the 20th century. It wasn’t until decades after the repeal of prohibition that the vineyards returned and Napa Valley became one of the most famous wine-producing regions in America. Other aspects that are lightly interesting are some of the layout of the county and the difficulties in procuring the land and requisite licenses required to open a winery.
If you’re a casual consumer of wine, there’s not going to be much that will captivate you with Decanted. A Winemaker’s Journey. This is really intended for the most ardent aficionados of wine, who will certainly find more flavor in this film than those with an uncultivated palate. Nick Kovacic’s film is certainly easy on the eyes with plenty of natural vistas captured exquisitely. If only Decanted. had more flavor with its subjects, because this film has a pleasant aroma but it just needs something a little more robust to bring out its true flavor.
Decanted. A Winemaker's Journey
A rather dry documentary that will only appeal to die-hard wine aficionados, Decanted. A Winemaker’s Journey is a mild, inoffensive documentary that is dire need of a bit of flavor.