Languedoc’s Winemaking (Movie) Stars

They may not rival Gérard Depardieu but that famous tax-exiled, wine-epicurean, would surely warmly embrace the unfamiliar faces featured in a full-length documentary about one of France’s rising quality wine regions, set for a screen debut in Montpellier this month.

Two of the terroiristes featuring in a new film about a rising wine star – the Languedoc . (Credit Les Terroiristes du Languedoc Facebook)

The Les Terroiristes du Languedoc documentary will have its premiere at the Diagonal Cinema in central Montpellier at 1945 on Sunday January 27 2013 — entry is free, but its first come first served especially as a bonus wine tasting follows. It will then start a round of showings at various festivals, including Oenovidéo Carcassonne in May-June. All information, including distribution and DVD can be found on the film’s Facebook page.

Les Terroiristes du Languedoc – Official Trailer (HD) from Nuno Sá Pessoa on Vimeo.
Production: Louise Hurren; Directing: Ken Payton; Cinematography: Ken Payton; Editing: Nuno Sá Pessoa; Music: Fréderic Chauffray

According to a media release: “The documentary focuses on ‘the region’s diverse terroirs, its viticultural methods…winemaking innovations (and) the economic realities of winemaking’ “.

The film zooms in on a dozen innovative winemakers in the Languedoc selected by Louise Hurren, a world-of-wine public relations professional and expert on Languedoc-Roussillon (see our  “Outsiders”  report by winemaker Caryl Panman) and includes in no particular order:
John & Nicole Bojanowski (Le Clos du Gravillas, St Jean de Minervois)
John & Liz Bowen (Domaine Sainte Croix, à Fraïssé-Corbières)
Emmanuel Pageot & Karen Turner (Domaine Turner Pageot, à Gabian)
Virgile Joly (Domaine Virgile Joly, à Saint Saturnin)
Cyril Bourgne (Domaine La Madura, à Saint Chinian)
Brigitte Chevalier (Domaine de Cébène, à Faugères)
André Leenhardt (Château de Cazeneuve, à Lauret)
François & Louis Adrién Delhon (Domaine Bassac, à Puissalicon)
Eric & Vianney Fabre (Château d’Anglès, à St Pierre la Mer)
Frédéric & Marie Chauffray (La Réserve d’O, à Arboras)
Jean-Pierre Vanel (Domaine Lacroix-Vanel, à Caux)
Thierry Rodriquez (Prieuré de St Sever/Mas Gabinèle, à Causse et Veyran)

In this, his third documentary film, Californian director Ken Payton explores the diverse terroirs and wine-making methods which are the foundation of remarkable wines. He trots along in the families’ footsteps filming the routines of some very committed producers who have opted to meet the challenge of turning out world class wine in the Languedoc- a region once widely-derided by wine snobs.

Ken Payton, a wine writer and filmmaker, worked for ten years in the Californian film industry before deciding in 2005 to specialise in the world of wine. In 2010 he shot his first feature length documentary ‘Mother Wine’ in Portugal (in 2012 this won two awards at the Oenovidéo International Grape and Wine Film Festival) and soon followed this up with a second Portuguese-themed film: ‘Azores, From Lava to Wine’.

A vineyard in the film Terroiristes du Languedoc (Credit Facebook page – Terroiristes du Languedoc)

Writing on his blog Ken says: “I don’t know how many winemakers I spoke with and interviewed in my previous directorial effort, Mother Vine, who did not know what was to become of their legacy. They had worked very hard to put their children through school, to clothe them and all the rest mothers and fathers do, only to see their progeny leave for the larger cities of Portugal. But of the Languedoc? The answers given by the winemakers are quite different, varied and, I believe, hopeful. And for those winemakers without children, they too must somehow find a way to preserve their partnerships and marriages through unpredictable growing seasons and fickle market trends.

“The first section of Les Terroiristes du Languedoc was shot in May, just after bud-break and first leaf, when hopes were high and the growing season was full of promise. The second section was filmed in September during the harvest, when the reality of a year’s work was coming into sharp focus. Ultimately, the documentary is about the practical dimension of labor, of winegrowers making day-to-day decisions bearing directly upon their families’ futures. It matters less to me who triumphs among the many excellent wine regions in the world than it is to put a human face on this underestimated, rapidly-changing region, the Languedoc.”

Story: Ken Pottinger

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