The Ways of Wine
(El Camino del Vino)
Wine is not only the work of famous Sommelier Charlie Arturaola, it is his life, which includes a working relationship with his wife Pandora who is a wine distributor. At the important and glamorous Masters of Food and Wine event in Mendoza, Argentina, Charlie loses his ability to taste wines precipitating a very serious life crisis.
For help with his taste trauma, Charlie seeks advice from other experts. He visits Michel Rolland in Pomerol who advises him to drink the best wines of the region. However, the superior wines turn to sour grapes on his tongue. Then he tries to learn the ways of wine by literally returning to its roots and working in a vineyard. He even tricks his way into a famous vineyard to sample a 70-year-old wine but is caught red-handed by the perturbed owner. In the middle of his muddling he keeps in touch with Pandora by internet video. Pandora needs him to select some wines for her or she will lose a contract. But despite her business aggressiveness, Pandora and Charlie share a very loving marriage that takes precedence over her business deals so she agrees to meet Charlie in his home town in Uruguay. While together again with family, Charlie provokes his palate but perhaps more significantly, heals his heart.
The best aspect of this film is the originality of the characters. Charlie is indeed a character and a sommelier in real life. Pandora is actually a brassy wife. Together their performance is better described as catching their unique personalities on film while they use a few fictional lines rather than acting out parts. Another character, Michel Rolland, is a Bordeaux-based oenologist with over a hundred clients in thirteen countries. Michel was also featured in Mondovino (2004), a documentary about the wine industry. In The Ways of Wine, director Nicolas Carreras presents a kind of docu-drama where the story is fiction but the actors are truly charming, extraordinary people. Enjoy with a bottle of your favourite red wine. Cheers!