We would have loved to tell the entire story about the competition and all the wineries involved, it would have been impossible – one can only cover so much in a 100-minute narrative feature. Bo, Jim, Gustavo – REAL. Sam (the pretty blond intern) — FICTIONAL, but inspired by the groundbreaking and aspiring female winemakers who were out there working. Jo, the bartender — FICTIONAL, for fun.
Many will note that Mike Grgich, who was the winemaker at Chateau Montelena at the time, is not a main character, as we chose to focus on the Jim and Bo Barrett – the father/son story. We could only work through so many character arcs; and more importantly, when you are dealing with real life characters, there are many legal hurdles to contend with in order to portray them.”
Read on for more fun facts vs. fiction in the film or go online and buy the DVD to watch for yourself! Already seen the movie, CLICK HERE to share your story and enter the Bottle Shock Getaway Contest.
OTHER FACTS vs. FICTION:
FACT: Jim Barrett was a tough leader and loved his family, but sometimes tussled with Bo, his laid back son.
FICTION: They didn’t really box, or have a boxing ring on the Chateau Montelena property.
FACT: The Boxing ring was built by Craig Sterns, the Bottle Shock Production Designer, and it resides, still today, at KUNDE Estates Winery in Sonoma (a key filming location).
FACT: Bo was an avid surfer.
FACT: Chris Pine, with blond hair, looked a lot like the real life Bo Barrett (who Chris played in the movie) in 1976
FICTION: We made Chris wear a (some would say pretty bad) wig. Chris actually has short dark hair.
FACT: Chris, like Bo, is very handsome!
FACT: Jim Barrett was a lawyer.
FICTION: Jim lived in Southern California much of the time; he wasn’t always at the winery in Calistoga, in Napa Valley.
FACT: Jim did divorce his wife Laura.
FACT: Mike Grgich was the winemaker at Chateau Montelena at the time of the historic Judgment of Paris in 1976
FICTION: Mike didn’t appear in a speaking role in the movie (he was in it as an extra) because the producers did not receive his life rights or full support.
FACT: Mike left Montelena soon after winning the Judgment of Paris competition and started his own wonderful winery, Grgich Hills. Gustavo Brambila (played by Freddy Rodriguez in the movie) actually went with Mike and worked for him for many, many years.
FACT: Gustavo did tinker around with wine making on the side; he started his own winery, Gustavo Thrace in 1999 where it thrives in Napa today.
FACT: Rachael Taylor (“Sam” in the movie) is from Tasmania. She loves wine and was very knowledgeable. One of the kindest actresses out there.
FICTION: There were no female interns at wineries in Napa Valley until 1982. She was a fictionalized character, representative of the many talented female winemakers who were working under the radar at that time in the 70’s.
FACT: There was a bar called Rays in Calistoga that the “cellar rats” and other workers used as a hang out spot.
FICTION: Producers used a bar in Glen Ellen (Sonoma Valley) and made up “Jo” (played by Eliza Dushku) to add a little more sex appeal to the movie.
FACT: Eliza was on set for only 3 days and had to go back to LA to shoot “Dollhouse.” She needed a lot of massage therapy, due to her work on the TV show. She was extremely sweet and professional.
FACT: According the Jim and Bo Barrett, the chardonnay did turn a slight brownish color which completely spooked them, right before the Paris tasting.
FICTION: The “bad” wine was not purchased by a hot bartender (the before mentioned “Jo”) who “saved” the wine when it turned back to golden color.
FACT: The brown-colored wine did turn back to a golden color before the wine was shipped off to the competition in Paris.
FACT: The 1976 Judgment of Paris tasting was held at the Intercontinental Hotel. Chateau Montelena took the top prize in the white wine competition; Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars’ Cabernet Sauvignon took the honors in the red wine category.
FICTION: The filmmakers chose to stage the tasting in an outdoor setting, in the KUNDE Estate Winery Ruins. Thus, the header, “Somewhere Outside of Paris.”
FACT: Many of the grapes in the winning Chardonnay from Chateau Montelena in Calistoga, in Napa Valley, came from Sonoma County.
FACT: George Tabor was the only American, and only journalist, to cover the 1976 Judgment of Paris event. He wrote the book Judgment of Paris which was released in 2006.
FACT: The original Bottle Shock screenplay was written by Ross Schwartz and registered with the WGA years before the book came out. Marc & Brenda Lhormer (Producers) received the script from J. Todd Harris (Producer) in late 2005. And thus began the project called Bottle Shock, the movie.
FICTION: Bo Barrett did not attend the tasting event in Paris.
FACT: TIME Magazine published George Tabor’s article about the event that changed the way the world perceived wines from American and put Napa Valley on the map. Chateau Montelena’s Chardonnay was memorialized at the Smithsonian soon after the historic event.
FACT: Steven’s Spurrier’s business partner in London, Patricia Gallagher, made sure that the Napa Valley wines selected for the competition were well handled and carefully shipped overseas.
FICTION: Bo did not go to the airport to hand over his Chardonnay. Hate to admit that. As the “airport” scene was just so much fun.
FACT: The Bottle Shock cast loved the Napa and Sonoma wines. Favorites: Plump Jack, Cade, Viansa, Gundlach Bundschu, Chateau Montelena, Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars, Freemark Abbey, Heitz, and Buena Vista.
FICTION: All the drinking in the movie. No alcohol allowed on union sets. All the “wine” was cleverly crafted colored liquids by Propmaster Chris Ubick, and tasted like absolutely nothing. The martinis were water and olives. Yuck.
FACT: The bar scenes were filmed in a heat wave in Sonoma, and the cigarettes were real. Not the most pleasant experience.
FACT: Most of the rolling vineyard hill shots, as well as “Sam’s Cabin” scenes were filmed at Buena Vista Vineyards on Ramal Road in Carneros (Sonoma).
FICTION: Paris was not Paris. “Paris” was Sonoma.
FACT: The Chateau Montelena scenes were indeed filmed at Chateau Montelena.