Monday, September 13, 2010

Vino Veritas and Harris Bridge - A Magical Combination

There are plenty of obsessions in the world: sports, money, sex, politics and religion. But few endeavors attract as much devotion as wine. Aficionados will shell out hundreds of dollars for a single bottle and travel the world over to taste new vintages.

But some are called to wine on another level. They have that peculiar American quality that convinces them that they can leave everything behind and redefine themselves. They risk it all, giving up careers, families, friends…everything they’ve ever known…to reinvent their lives in wine.

With a decanter full of inspiration, passion, and technical capability, the production team at Three Crows Productions has embarked on an epic mission: produce a feature-length film documenting the story of ordinary people with an extraordinary passion. It’s the story of the moment they fell in love with wine. How on earth can you encapsulate the spirit of the American wine industry on film? Start with a cadre of Oregon winemakers, capture their story, and let the script write itself...that's how.
Last weekend, Micheal, Zac, and I had the opportunity to spend some time with the Three Crows team at one of our favorite local wineries, Harris Bridge Vineyard. Winemaker-owners Nathan and Amanda had contacted us with a tantalizing offer: come out to the winery on a Saturday afternoon, drink some wine, and see the release of the trailer for Vino Veritas, an American wine movie. Awesome wine, a wine movie, and an afternoon wine geeking out with filmmakers and winemakers? If I must.

It was a gorgous afternoon as we arrived at the winery outside of Philomath, Oregon. Amanda met us with the full lineup of Harris Bridge wine, some awesome dessert wine that we've written about before.
Before long, we had a nice buzz going on and Truen Pence of Three Crows gave an introduction to the trailer for Vino Veritas. In speaking to the philosophy of the film, he quickly hit a chord with me as the congruence with the vision behind The Oregon Wine Blog became quickly apparent. Wine as an experience, a journey, a passion. An approachable venture, with the spirit of the wine industry evident throughout wine regions nationwide. I was sold, then he fired up the trailer.

I was double sold. Early in the filming process they are already featuring some of our favorite wineries, Harris Bridge and Airlie, with more to come as funding becomes available. A sidenote regarding funding, you know that we don't ask for much here at The Oregon Wine Blog. Some decent wine, a bacon maple bar every now and then, and some nice-fitting spandex for Le Tour de Pinot...well, friends, I'm going to ask you for something now. [Steps on soapbox] As an independent, self-funded film, Vino Veritas requires all of our support to get off the ground. Three Crows has set a goal of raising $5000 by November 6 for production to move forward. Visit their kickstarter website, donate a dollar...donate a hundred...whatever you can give. I promise, this film will be worth it and it won't happen without you. [off soapbox]

As if an afternoon at the winery wasn't enough, we were invited to join the Harris Bridge and Three Crows crew for dinner after the event in downtown Corvallis. Micheal's perspective on dinner was spot on:

"It is the kind of opportunity you don't pass up." That is what Josh said as we drove away from Harris Bridge Winery and back to his place to kill time before dinner plans for the evening. Not one hour earlier we had been invited to dinner with Nathan and Amanda from Harris Bride where we had spent part of the afternoon. Reservations were at Cloud 9 in Corvallis. I had not been there before, and while I am always up for trying new things, I wasn't sure I completely wanted to go. This was because I am a natural introvert. I am a quiet guy who likes to be in the company of a couple of people. I don't overly like large crowds, and not that this was going to be a large crowd, I was nervous. Josh is much better and more comfortable at these things then I tend to be. But I didn't have any real excuse to not go aside of that.

This is one of situations where I was glad I did not let my trepidation dictate what I should do. It was so much fun! Not only was Cloud 9 amazing, but the conversations had due to the company that was there was incredible. I had the chance to sit next to Dennis on my right, who works at the Corvallis Gazette Times. To my right was Patrick, the boyfriend of Sarah from Sarah's Stories, a line on wine by Harris Bridge. Across the table from me was Kegen, one of the the producers of the movies. Next to Kegen was Nathan of Harris Bridge. To clarify, I was sitting in close proximity to one of the winemakers and one of the filmmakers.

We had conversations ranging from what should be done with free-time, to politics and finances, to wine and movies, to almost everything. I recall when I looked at the menu, I saw one of the wines from Harris Bridge. I turned to Nathan and asked him, "How does it make you feel when you see your wine on a menu?" To my surprise, Nathan mentioned that he was sure they were on the menu. When Patrick confirmed that it was, Nathan took some time to think about it. His response was not what I expected. Nathan stated, "It's not so much when I see my wine on a menu. What really gets me is when someone comes to the winery from far away after having either read about it, that's what I find really exciting." That was far from the answer I was expecting. I guess I thought that the having your wine in a restaurant was the pinnacle of being a wine maker, but how wrong could I be.

For as many wineries and tasting rooms I have been to, I think I should have noticed that. So many times we have written about not just the wines we have had, but the experiences we had while we there. I never thought about what it must be like for a winemaker to have people come into their space and have the experience that we have frequently had and appreciate. But that is like the natural habitat of the winemaker and what better way to "observe" them then in that natural setting. Okay, so maybe using an animal analogy was not the best, but seriously, think about it. We all have our natural settings, and for a winemaker, their winery and tasting room.

Throughout dinner, our conversations would continue. We would laugh, and think about things, and laugh some more. It was a great evening, and I was grateful to Nathan and Amanda for the invitation, and to Josh for suggesting we attend.

Dinner was the perfect end to a great afternoon, and I left feeling inspired and excited to have found some kindred spirit in the world of wine. I can't wait until the project is completed and we can enjoy an awesome film while sipping a glass of wine. It won't happen without your support, though, so consider supporting the project today!


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