Wine in Movies

The Most Memorable Cinematic Moments


Wine and the movies – it’s a natural pairing! The bottles make great props and help set the tone for a scene. Some examples may be surprising, but others just seem so natural. For example, I have compiled such a great list of Bond wine references, Bond, James Bond, that I’m putting that list together next, but for now I’m just listing a few of my favorite cinema moments.

Coming in at number five is the great Hannibal Lecter in Silence of the Lambs. In one particularly intimate moment during the seduction of Agent Starling, Hannibal shares one of his trademark food and wine pairings:

"A census taker once tried to test me. I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice Chianti."

While making an impact, that sounds like an awful match to me! Find out Hannibal’s preferred pairing for liver and fava beans inside. The truth is Thomas Harris’ original line, in the book Silence of the Lambs paired the liver with the richer and much more assertively flavored Amarone – a pairing I can see working nicely.

So what are some other great Wine in Cinema moments?
Well, I’m glad you asked.

Coming in at number four would have to be that unforgettable moment in The Jerk when newly-wealthy Navin R. Johnson ups the ante and moves onto bigger and better bottles, and let me tell you, this wine ain’t no slouch!

Waiter: Would monsieur care for another bottle of Chateau Latour?
Navin: Ah yes, but no more 1966. Let’s splurge! Bring us some fresh wine! The freshest you've got - this year! No more of this old stuff.

At number three there’s that all-time classic food and wine pairing from the wine (and vodka) producing Actor Dan Aykroyd in his incarnation as Jake Blues in the movie The Blues Brothers. Recently released from Joliet Prison, Jake and Elwood set off to reassemble the band, man! One stop calls for a little snacking: Shrimp cocktail and Champagne, as it were. As a bonus - Peewee Herman plays the waiter!

Jake: Give us a bottle of your finest Champagne, five shrimp cocktails, and some bread for my brother.
PeeWee: We have a Dom Perignon '71 at 120 dollars.
Jake: That'll be fine, pal.

Hell, yes, that would be fine! And at that price, bring me another, please. And while you’re at it, maybe a paper cup, since that’s what everyone remembers from the movie Sideways. Well, the main reason everyone remembers the next scene is primarily because it was expertly set up when Miles uttered those famous words, “We’re not drinking any f%^&*ng Merlot!” The inside joke (and moment number two), of course, is that his most prized bottle featured a good dollop of Merlot!

Maya: Seriously, the '61 Cheval Blanc is peaking... it might be too late already. What are you waiting for?
Miles: I don't know, a special occasion. With the right person.
Maya: The day you open a '61 Cheval Blanc, that's the special occasion.

And my number one wine moment in cinema? Oddly enough, it involves another 1961. Not only were the wine references in Ratatouille spot-on, but the entire movie brought back vivid memories of my many years in the kitchen. Plus, it was all presented with remarkably witty dialogue. Some of my favorite lines of all time come from this movie, and Skinner delivered a doozy as he tried to get Linguini drunk. I love this scene!

Skinner: Toasting your success, eh, Linguini? Good for you.
Linguini: Oh, I just took it to be polite. I don't really drink, you know.
Skinner: Of course you don't. I wouldn't either if I was drinking that. But you would have to be an idiot of elephantine proportions not to appreciate this '61 Château Latour, and you, Monsieur Linguini, are no idiot. Let us toast your non-idiocy!

So, there’s more to come, from Bond movies to TV scenes, so stay tuned!

Mentioned in this article


  • Snooth User: davecarpe
    572855 3

    As someone who has had the distinct pleasure of drinking a 1961 Haut Brion, I definitely appreciate these reference to that amazing year in Bordeaux!

    I am looking forward to you Bond Movie references since I enjoyed them all so much as well.

    Sep 23, 2010 at 1:26 PM

  • Snooth User: Wesa123
    526352 7

    Two of my favorite things--loved this! Thanks!

    Sep 23, 2010 at 2:28 PM

  • Snooth User: nvansicklen
    Hand of Snooth Voice of Snooth
    211788 552

    What are people's top 5 wine related movies? I am most familiar with Sideways, but would love to hear some other feedback.

    Sep 23, 2010 at 3:35 PM

  • Of course it's a thousand times better if you watch Paul Giammatti saying it in the movie ("Sideways"), but this is pretty epic:

    --"Um, it's a hard grape to grow ... it's thin-skinned, temperamental, ripens early ... it's not a survivor like Cabernet, which can just grow anywhere and thrive even when it's neglected. No, Pinot needs constant care and attention ... it can only grow in these really specific, little, tucked- away corners of the world. And only the most patient and nurturing of growers can do it, really. Only somebody who really takes the time to understand Pinot's potential can then coax it into its fullest expression." --

    Also meant to kinda describe Miles' character in the movie I think...

    Sep 23, 2010 at 3:36 PM

  • I think Bottle Shock is the best all time wine movie, it is a must-see!

    Sep 23, 2010 at 3:53 PM

  • Snooth User: judyeri
    348274 5

    They should have worked a line with 'Chateauneuf De Pape' into one of the Peter Sellers Pink Panther movies. His characterized french accent was hysterical (favorite word 'moth').

    Sep 23, 2010 at 4:33 PM

  • Snooth User: winetastinginLA
    Hand of Snooth
    498900 29

    This is a real fun posting. I enjoyed all the references. Now I will forever think of Hannibal when I drink my Chianti. Thanks!
    Norma Serrano

    Sep 23, 2010 at 5:22 PM

  • Snooth User: Arconte
    563202 2

    is that Remington Steele in the picture?? I'm looking forward for your James Bond article. Most people think of Bond when sipping a martini, but truth to be told, he has drank far more champagne than martinis in the whole franchise. Greetings!

    Sep 23, 2010 at 6:30 PM

  • Snooth User: maud130
    228715 51

    I'm fond of Rear Window when Grace Kelly offers James Stewart some Montrachet to accompany her take-out from 21. I wonder about that choice.

    Sep 23, 2010 at 7:27 PM

  • Rizzo: [breaks out a bottle of wine] How about a little Sneaky Pete to get the party going?
    Jan: Anyone want a Twinkie?
    Marty: Twinkies and wine? Oh, that's real class, Jan.
    Jan: It says right here it's a dessert wine.

    Though many may frown upon it, I still prefer my Jack in the Box cake with a really wonderful, chewy, deep red Zin...yum...

    Sep 23, 2010 at 7:38 PM

  • I'm going with Bottle Shock too....own it and have watched it many times. Never tire of it.

    Sep 23, 2010 at 7:43 PM

  • Snooth User: Hawk101
    554560 37

    Sideways: Miles and Jack are tasting. Miles looks at Jack, sees something that scandalizes him. "Are you chewing GUM!?". That cracked me up.

    Sep 24, 2010 at 1:41 AM

  • Never forget that Daniel Craig finally put the delightful french vermouth Lillet back on the map again. Far too small a part in the Vespa cocktail for my liking!

    Sep 24, 2010 at 4:47 AM

  • Snooth User: Anton BLIGNAULT
    Hand of Snooth Voice of Snooth
    562988 4

    Wow! Never knew that there are so many quotes on wine in the movies.
    Of those mentioned, my favourite by far is Ratatouille. It is so witty, uplifting, plus it has a great love story.

    Here is my take on wine and the movies, posted in February as WINE, WOMEN & MOVIES on my blog.

    Wine and women go with most things, in most circumstances and almost at any time - preferably just the two of you. When you include the movies, it becomes a date.

    Sofia Coppola has won fame as director, producer and screenwriter, mostly for LOST IN TRANSLATION (2003) with Bill Murray (Bob Harris) and Scarlett Johansson (Charlotte) for which she won an Oscar for best original screenplay. Sofia is of course the daughter of film director and wine producer, Francis Ford Coppola. Taking this further, she created a range of SOFIA sparkling wines, which also contains a striking pink single-serve mini can.

    Now, producing a film (a romantic-comedy) set in the wine industry is an entirely different matter.

    You can take A WALK IN THE CLOUDS (1995) with Keanu Reeves (Paul Sutton) and Aitana Sánchez-Gijón (Victoria Arago), escaping on a nostalgic dream at The Clouds, the wine farm of the Arago family.

    Ending A GOOD YEAR (2006) in Provençe, such as in the story with Russell Crowe (Max Skinner) and Marion Cotillard (Fanny Chenal), is certainly a much better option than drifting SIDEWAYS (2004) with Paul Giamatti (Miles Raymond) and Thomas Haden Church (Jack) in the Napa wine counties. Apart from two entirely different styles of romantic comedy, it displays the French and American lifestyles in the winelands and their different attitudes toward wine, women and love.
    SIDEWAYS is the more critically acclaimed movie, however much you like the French ambiance.
    This created a major cult following for Pinot Noir in the States. So, is it something to be exploited?

    Since both France (but seen from an English point of view) and the US have had their version of wine and women amongst the vineyards, what about the rest of the wine producing countries? Here we already have an old world versus new world approach.

    Have there been any other movies made with the winelands as a backdrop? More importantly, are they any good?

    Sep 24, 2010 at 5:35 AM

  • A couple of Bond wine lines off the top of my head, and hence probably misquoted, both delivered by Sean Connery.
    "Ah, the 63, unmistakable."
    "There is no vintage for sherry 007."
    "I was refering to the original recipe it was based on, the 1863."
    Dr. No to Bond grabbing the bottle of Champers as a potential weapon: "That's a Dom Perignan 1955, Mr Bond, would be a shame to waste it."
    "I prefer the 53..." And smashes it anyway (?)
    There are so many Champers-related lines, including one with I think Bolly this time, can't remember if it was Sean C or Roger M and which vintage, on the lines of "If it's the ??, you were expecting me."
    Look forward to more.

    Sep 24, 2010 at 6:24 AM

  • Snooth User: RamonG
    448652 81

    Great movies, great quotes.
    My favorite quotes from "Sideways" -

    Jack- (says this many many times)

    "Tastes pretty good to me"

    Still cracks me up.

    Sep 24, 2010 at 10:34 AM

  • Snooth User: bilge
    359745 4

    If we're talking about 'coupage' of wine and movie , to me , ' A GOOD YEAR'
    of Ridley Scott is a perfect match.'SIDEWAYS' was good but 'A GOOD YEAR ' was romantic.Russell Crowe and Marion Cotillard were very good.I don't remember the quotes but the old chateau and vineyard (in Provence, south of France)and the views were very charming and natural.

    Sep 24, 2010 at 6:33 PM

  • Snooth User: pghjerry
    589594 72

    Agree with bilge, A GOOD YEAR is a wonderful film if you love wine (or just good movies). One of Russel Crowe's best performances.

    Sep 24, 2010 at 10:21 PM

  • Snooth User: dmcker
    Hand of Snooth
    125836 4,997

    Anton-B, good call on the movies, but one error--Sideways was situated in the Santa Barbara County area (particularly the Santa Ynez Valley) of the Central Coast of California, not Napa. It was kind of freaky for me watching the movie because I currently live off shore, and often on trips home would drive up PCH from LAX to visit my mom in the Ventura/Oxnard area then head up to Santa Barbara for wine, etc., just as the two main characters in that flick did on their stag trip....

    Sep 25, 2010 at 7:33 AM

  • Snooth User: napagirl68
    Hand of Snooth
    87843 2,860

    Hey.. what about bottle shock...loved that movie.. almost better than Sideways...

    Sep 25, 2010 at 9:45 PM

  • Snooth User: dmcker
    Hand of Snooth
    125836 4,997

    Napagirl, why do you think Bottleshock was better than Sideways as a movie? The story around which it was based was a good one, and I always like the lead, but as cinema I thought the movie was barely half baked....

    Sep 26, 2010 at 8:18 AM

  • Snooth User: napagirl68
    Hand of Snooth
    87843 2,860

    Dmcker- I said ALMOST! LOL-

    I did love Sideways- thought Thomas Haden Church was just priceless in his role. I did not think I would like Bottle shock, but was surprised to find that I really did!

    Sep 26, 2010 at 11:45 AM

  • Snooth User: dmcker
    Hand of Snooth
    125836 4,997

    Again, Rickman was good in Bottle Shock, but I think the direction was poor, including his use of Rickman's skills. Editing was also inchoate, and the script, however it evolved to what we saw, lost in meandering. All told it was a major loss of a great storytelling opportunity. We all, of course, like the ambience and locales, so those couldn't really get messed up all that badly.

    Sideways, on the other hand, had a tight script, good direction and good editing. Giamatti, Church and both their love interests were able to present some of their best performances. I'll give a 92 to Sideways, but only an 81 to Bottle Shock. And Sideways will lay down better in the cellar....

    Sep 26, 2010 at 6:49 PM

  • Snooth User: hhotdog
    Hand of Snooth
    78705 481

    gota say that "a good year" was my favorite...russel crowe picks a good movie...that said, sidways and bottle shock in that order. any excuse to drink and watch wine in a movie!!!

    Sep 27, 2010 at 12:22 AM

  • Snooth User: yummywine
    139936 4

    I was tickled when Queen Latifah playing a tough ex-con, remarks "Nice legs" while enjoying a glass of red wine. The movie is "Bringing Down the House" co-starring Steve Martin.

    Sep 27, 2010 at 1:43 PM

  • This article was very funny, I loved it. I did however find it strange that someone would think ANY wine could go well with a human liver. Haha..I did grasp the point though, I just found it funny. My favorite is from Ratatouille as well, Especially when the food critic wants to be served a "little perspective".

    Sep 28, 2010 at 9:48 PM

  • Snooth User: Rich102
    478209 14

    My favorite wine scene is in "A New Leaf" (1971), in which Walter Matthau's suave, sophisticated, but broke, playboy character Henry Graham has decided that he must marry a rich woman and picks a brilliant academic, Henrietta Lowell (played by Elaine May), a woman completely lacking in sophistication and social graces. He is talking about fine wine and she asks him if he's ever tried one she likes, "Mogen-David extra-heavy Malaga wine with lime juice and soda". The look of utter dismay which floods over his face is priceless.

    Oct 04, 2010 at 1:58 AM

  • Loved the use of Pahlmeyer Chardonnay as a key (and killer) point against Demi) in Disclosure. The look on her face when the fact that she has sent her admin around town looking for the bottle was priceless!

    Oct 06, 2010 at 2:47 PM

  • Snooth User: Gjaxs
    1324852 54

    Agreed - Bottle Shock was much better than Sideways. It had a bad guy from Die Hard and a detective from Law & Order (RIP) I had zero expectations and really enjoyed seeing Napa back in the day.

    Aug 06, 2013 at 5:48 PM

  • Snooth User: rhw168
    635553 144

    Here is a list of 26 "Wine" movies from IMDB, compiled by librapaladin (created 14 Jul 2011 | last updated - 16 Sep 2011)


    "Movies That Go Great With Wine"

    This list hopes to include the best movies with either:
    A) Wine as a theme
    B) The best movies to watch while drinking a bottle (or two) of wine.

    1. Sideways (2004)
    2. Bottle Shock (2008)
    3. A Good Year (2006)
    4. Stealing Beauty (1996)
    5. Under the Tuscan Sun (2003)
    6. The Princess Bride (1987)
    7. The Thomas Crown Affair (1999)
    8. The Phantom of the Opera (2004)
    9. Romeo + Juliet (1996)
    10. Clue (1985)
    11. Before Sunrise (1995)
    12. Labyrinth (1986)
    13. Vicky Cristina Barcelona (2008)
    14. Amélie (2001)
    15. Waking Ned Devine (1998)
    16. Message in a Bottle (1999)
    17. Meet Joe Black (1998)
    18. Before Sunset (2004)
    19. The Curse of the Jade Scorpion (2001)
    20. Serendipity (2001)
    21. A Midsummer Night's Dream (1999)
    22. Nights in Rodanthe (2008)
    23. Casanova (2005)
    24. Lost in Translation (2003)
    25. Pride & Prejudice (2005)
    26. Gosford Park (2001)

    <<<END QUOTE>>>

    Both of the two "Before" movies are on this "Wine Movie" list.
    I'm pretty sure if you liked the first two, you will enjoy this year's last installment of the "Before" trilogy, "Before Midnight" even more.

    Aug 06, 2013 at 5:51 PM

  • And in From Russia With Love, Bond recognizes that Robbert Shaw is an imposter and not the sophisticate he is supposed to be when Shaw orders white wine with meat! Or maybe the other way around. But of course Bond knows better. That is when, even though I was just a kid, I knew I wanted be like Bond.

    Aug 06, 2013 at 6:40 PM

  • Snooth User: Bobby Boy
    219559 29

    I'm surprised nobody has mentioned the excellent French Film (with English sub-titles), "You will be my Son" -
    set in Saint Emilion released in 2012 about a family owned vineyard and succession planning. The owner of the Winery has the Cellar to end all Cellars replete with Romanee-Conti etc. A well made film with a great ending. Highly Recommended.

    Aug 06, 2013 at 8:45 PM

  • Snooth User: Bobby Boy
    219559 29

    A brief video clip here of "You Will Be My Son"

    Aug 07, 2013 at 12:50 AM

  • Snooth User: zinfandel1
    Hand of Snooth
    154660 1,085

    Bobby Boy
    Thanks for bringing up that movie. It is a "must see" movie.

    Aug 07, 2013 at 8:24 AM

  • Snooth User: David Moore
    1329622 34

    When Rick offers a Veuve Cliquot '29 to those Germans in Casablanca

    Aug 07, 2013 at 10:00 PM

  • Snooth User: Isaac42
    98135 33

    Dan Akroyd played Elwood, Blues, not Jake. Guess I'm the only one who thought that worth mentioning.

    My wife suggests Arachnophobia. A bottle of Margaux has a role.

    Aug 20, 2013 at 7:34 PM

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