Throughout film history, there have been several real-life people who have showcased an enviable knowledge of wine.
We mentioned one of them in our feature of the 5 Top Wine Scenes in Film, and in honor of that post, we have compiled another list combining two of our most favorite things in the world: wine and film.
This time around, we turn our attention to 5 big screen characters who have a vast knowledge of wine.
We begin with wine connoisseur Miles Raymond (superbly played by the actor Paul Giamatti) in the movie Sideways (2004). Raymond is an expert on wine whose regard for Pinot Noir is undeniable.
The film itself spawned the so-called “Sideways Effect,” which caused sales of Pinot Noir to increase a year after the film’s release. Raymond passionately explaining why he loves that type of wine probably helped in that regard.
In Year of the Comet (1992), Margaret Harwood (played by Penelope Ann Miller) is a wine taster sent to the Scottish highlands to assess an extremely rare bottle of wine bottled during the Great Comet of 1811.
Anyone sent to check out what may likely be a once-in-a-lifetime wine must know quite a lot about it, and that is probably the reason why Harwood was sent in the first place. Turns out, the bottle of wine is, indeed, a gem of a find.
The superspy is infamous for his cocktails, notably the Vodka Martini, the Dry Martini, and the Vesper. But as SF Gate notes in its Top 10 Wine Movies, Bond is quite the oenophile himself, with a seemingly encyclopedic knowledge of Dom Pérignon, the brand that took 8 spots in our Top 20 Most Expensive Champagne Wines list.
Agent 007 (played by a young and dashing Sean Connery) proved his wine wizardry right in the first Bond flick, Dr. No (1962), where he tells his nemesis, “I prefer the ’53 myself.”
Gates (played with aplomb by Jack Nicholson) is a Miami-based wine shop owner in neo-noir thriller Blood and Wine (1996), and anyone who sells wine for a living most certainly knows much about it.
But for reasons unknown, Alex is unable to parlay his extensive knowledge of wine into a successful business, and he falls heavily in debt. Things go south right thereafter.
The world’s most famous private detective has a vast knowledge of pretty much anything, including wine, of course.
His mastery of wine, though, is not highlighted in any of the two recent film adaptations. Sherlock fans, however, know fully well that the cerebral investigator knows his wine. This knowledge has, in fact, helped him solve a handful of difficult cases. In “The Adventure of the Noble Bachelor,” for instance, Sherlock foils the plans of a scheming couple by understanding the quality/price ratio of fine wines.
This overarching knowledge of just about everything has made Sherlock an enduring character.
In fact, he has diverse fan base that is seemingly smitten by his inimitable intellect as well and his understated acumen in combat. He has particularly caught the fancy of gamers, many of whom can relate to Sherlock’s analytical skills, remarkable memory, and attention to detail. Unsurprisingly, various Sherlock-inspired games have given these same fans a means to connect and share with one another their passion for the British detective.
The best example is the 12-game Sherlock Holmes series by Frogwares, which is based, fittingly, on Doyle’s original The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. Project Factory’s Sherlock: The Network is a mystery game that also contains over 30 minutes of exclusive video content. Meanwhile, Sherlock Holmes: The Hunt for Blackwood by Slingo is a nod to the 2009 film of the same name, whose main antagonist is Lord Henry Blackwood. In it, Sherlock outwits Blackwood, of course, but not after downing a few shots of wine, including a spiked one given by Irene Adler herself.
Now, there are a bunch of other big screen characters that could have made this venerable list, but the 5 here are certainly quite deserving. We actually believe that they’d give real life oenophiles a run for their money.