Swirl, sip and savor at Del Oro mural benefit | TheUnion.com
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Swirl, sip and savor at Del Oro mural benefit

John Pugh is over half finished with the mural, says Del Oro Theatre owner, Mike Getz.

Those who have been following this story know what he’s talking about: This is the mural which is scheduled to adorn the wall of the theater that faces the freeway and that used to have the figure of a sourdough miner on it.

To help raise the rest of the money required (another $15,000), Getz is staging a fundraiser: A special showing of the film, “Bottle Shock,” on Friday (Sept. 19) at the theater on Mill Street in downtown Grass Valley. It begins with a wine tasting at 7 p.m. and the movie starts at 7:45 p.m.



A PG-13 rated comedy based on a true story, “Bottle Shock” tells of a winery in a small California town shocking the dominant French wine industry with a win at a blind tasting event and throwing the world of wine snobs into a tizzy.

The lead is played by Alan Rickman, who you “Harry Potter” fans know as Severus Snape in the movie series.




For the Parisian street scenes in “Bottle Shock,” classic cars and their owners from a Sonoma car club were used. The Sonoma-based producers of the movie, will be at Friday’s showing and will answer questions after the screening.

Reviews of the movie go from ecstatic to warm. Rolling Stone critic Peter Travers says, “Be on the lookout for ‘Bottle Shock,’ a hugely entertaining movie. It’s a winner. Brimming with spirit and wit, it’s something special: there’s magic in it.”

The Boston Globe called it mildly, “a pleasant varietal,” and the NY Times said, “… easy-going little movie made with more affection than skill.” But a person who went to the Sundance Film Festival posted a review on IMDb.com said, “The crowd at Sundance loved the move!”

Anyway, the purpose of the evening is to support the mural project and have some fun doing it. Admission is $15; tickets may be purchased in advance at the Del Oro box office. The Grass Valley Downtown Association is matching the net proceeds from this event. A special VIP reception with the producers will be held after the show at a private home near the Del Oro. This event, featuring delicious desserts and Lucchesi dessert wines, is limited to the first 25 people and costs $50, which includes admission to the movie.

Q&A with “Bottle Shock” co-producer

Prospector had an e-mail conversation with Jody Savin, co-writer and producer of “Bottle Shock.” She is the wife of Randall Miller, the director (and co-writer and producer, too) of the film. They work as a team.

PROSPECTOR: Regarding the actors…on a continuum, how many are well-known professionals (Alan Rickman, for example) vs. unknown amateurs? Was getting Rickman a coup?

JODY SAVIN: We had just finished working with Alan on a movie called “Nobel Son” (which is coming out in November). He is truly a genius and one of the most generous collaborators we have ever known. We were very excited that there could be a great role for him in “Bottle Shock,” and we pitched it to him before we even sat down to write our draft.

Every actor in the movie is a pro, some well-known, others less so.

PROS: Tell us more about Sonoma as a filming location.

JS: Unlike Napa which has been very developed and modernized in recent years, Sonoma still looks very Old World and has retained its historical charm. Since we were telling a story that happened before all the development, it made more sense for us to shoot in Sonoma and Glen Ellen and other little corners of the valley that had not changed very much.

That said, with the Old World look comes an Old World style. In order to get permission to shoot in Sonoma, we had to appear before the town council with a written plan. Any citizen with an opinion was allowed to weigh in. The town council then took a vote and the result – a unanimous yes. That is not the way one normally goes about getting a shooting permit.

PROS: Did the winery know what they had?

JS: The Barretts, who own Chateau Montelena, certainly believed they had a fine wine on their hands. The trouble is always getting the outside world to recognize that.

PROS: Have they won big time since, or was this a one-time thing?

JS: Since the ’76 Tasting, Chateau Montelena has been well known as a maker of excellent wines. Since “Bottle Shock” was released, it is nearly impossible to find a bottle (of the ’73 Chardonnay) to buy.

PROS: Awards? Anything at Sundance?

JS: This year director Randall Miller was awarded the Heineken Red Star Award which goes to an independent director with exceptional vision. Alan Rickman won Best Actor at the Seattle International Film Festival. “Bottle Shock” also won The Audience Award for Best Cast at the Maui Film Festival.

PROS: Why now, 32 years after the event? What was the spark that started the movie idea?

JS: We had never heard the story before. When we read Ross Schwartz’s early draft, we knew there was a movie to be told.

PROS: What would you say is the best thing about the film?

JS: It is very rewarding to make a movie that causes random audiences to burst into spontaneous applause in the middle of the show. People have consistently told us that the move makes them feel good, and that makes us feel good.


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