A Celluloid Defense of a Maligned Wine

    Filmmaker Rudy McClain has embarked on an ambitious full-length documentary project hoping to “shed the light” on Merlot, which he feels has been unfairly maligned in the recent past.

     Filming on the documentary, “Merlove,” already has begun in California, with plans to expand the project to Bordeaux and possibly other locations.

     “Merlot has been limited somewhat by bad press, bad movies and people kind of thinking that the wine is no good — I’m trying to reverse that,” McClain told Wine Business. “In doing that, what I also want to do is relay the message that all these wines are part of a family, and that no single variety should be singled out as a good wine or bad wine.”

     McClain feels that the film will help inspire wine drinkers to take a closer look at the varietal. He said he was prompted to pursue the project after overhearing Swanson Vineyards winemaker Chris Phelps, a personal friend, discussing a possible Merlot movie.

     “I checked it out and told him that I had to do this,” said McClain. “After interviewing [Phelps], everything started falling into place. I got him, Jean Claude Berrouet from Chateau Petrus, Larry Stone [from Rubicon], Tom Rinaldi from Provenance, Andy Beckstoffer and then some of my friends. We have a huge list to do, so we are doing some fundraising right now.”

     McClain is hoping to raise enough funds to support a planned filming trip to France, and has developed a prospectus to offer potential investors.


     Ultimately, McClain hopes the film will be distributed in theaters and, eventually, on DVD. He already has begun contacting Los Angles-based distributors, though filming is far from over. Before the film is ultimately finished, he hopes to have a series of wine country screenings to get feedback and suggestions on the direction of the film.

Posted in Wine in the Glass
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