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The Ways of Wine: Berlin Review

The Bottom Line

A tasty little number about the pleasure to be found in a glass of wine.

Venue:

Berlin International Film Festival (Culinary Cinema)

Director, screenwriter

Nicolas Carreras

Cast

Charlie Arturaola, Pandora Anwyl

An interesting mix of documentary and fiction, Nicolas Carreras' tale of how ebullient sommelier Charlie Arturaola loses his tasting mojo and strives to get it back will please many a palate.

BERLIN -- (Culinary Cinema) An interesting mix of documentary and fiction, Nicolas Carreras' film The Ways of Wine (El Camino Del Vino) takes a while to ferment, but its tale of how ebullient sommelier Charlie Arturaola loses his tasting mojo and strives to get it back will please many a palate.

Screened in the Culinary Cinema sidebar at the Berlin International Film Festival, the film will delight wine lovers and those who share a connection with the way wine is made. It will add some cheer to film festivals and to food and wine gatherings.

Arturaola, a real-life, Miami-based wine expert originally from Uruguay, goes to a major wine festival in Argentina, where he also is on the look out for some good wine that his American wife Pandora Anwyl can sell in U.S. Arturaola is a robust and cheerful man who speaks many languages. He is at home in the frequently anxious world of vintners, who want him to love what they produce and announce it to the world.

A fictional conceit has him suddenly lose his ability to savour and taste wine. Where he used to discover elegance and a perfect finish in a sip of wine, now he finds only dust and acid. He asks Pandora to go home while he goes on a quest to find the best of all wines in order to rediscover his palette. Their separation leads to several entertaining long-distance videophone conversations that show their devotion does not preclude expressions of candor.

The genial but depressed sommelier decides to visit some of the top vintners in the Mendoza region of the country. Several big names in winemaking show up to help his recovery. In the process, he rediscovers his love for the soil, and the feel and the smell of grapevines.

There’s an amusing scene in which he talks his way into the cavernous cellar of a celebrated winemaker and schemes to be left alone so that he might taste from a dusty 70-year-old bottle. On another visit, he ends up teaching a peasant woman who has never tasted wine how to go about it.

In the end, it’s not just about grapevines and soil, it’s about the people who work in the vineyards and most of all about family. Only when his trek takes him back home to Uruguay to visit his father, son and newborn grandson does Charlie stand a chance of rediscovering his nose. These scenes seem genuine and are very moving.

He makes the point that whatever has happened in his life, whether good or bad, it always ended with a glass of wine.

Venue: Berlin International Film Festival (Culinary Cinema)
Production companies: Subterranea Films, Cactus Cine, Latte SRL, Rairo Navarro
Cast: Charlie Arturaola, Pandora Anwyl
Director, screenwriter: Nicolas Carreras
Producers: Christoph Behl, Tomas Cohen, Juan Francisco Di Nucci
Director of photography: Esteban Perroud
Music: Juan Pablo de Mendonca
Editor: Sebastian Carreras
Sales: Shoreline Entertainment
No rating, 95 minutes