Corked!

corkedIt is extraordinarily hard for me to imagine circumstances in which I would enjoy living in Los Angeles. I won’t go into detail as why that is, since it’s not the point of this post, so I’ll just say that spending any time in LA at all is like drinking the second half of a bottle of Opus One that was decanted a week earlier—No matter how good it still may be, I can only think about how rapidly it’s going bad. And that horribly pretentious wine metaphor brings me to the point I do want to write about.
If I did live in LA, I could go see a screening of the new indie movie, Corked! (IMDB), which I read about at Big Hollywood. And I chose the metaphor I did, because the massive pretensions of the wine industry are the fertile Burgundian (well, Sonoman) fields from which springs Corked! It is a Spinal Tap-style mockumentary about the competitors in a set of major wine awards.
From time to time, I worry about how pretentious we cocktailians, and the marketers and distillers we consort with, can be. Not much, but I worry. I can always go for solace to the fact that for each of us who are in (or fancy we are in) the cocktail industry, there are fifty mere restaurant patrons who are more profound snobs about wine than we are about cocktails. And then there are those actually in the wine industry….
I’m embedding the trailer for Corked! here. It’s worth a watch, then I’ve got some thoughts on how these characters reflect on us in the cocktail world.

I can’t vouch for how good the movie is, but I’m loving the truth I see in the trailer, truth that applies to us as well.
You’ve got the marketing types. These guys don’t even drink the wine they sell, or (apparently) like the people they sell it to. It reminds me a bit of a New England based subsidiary of a multinational liquor company that makes a spirit aimed at (they think) southerners, with an offensively stereotypical hillbilly name, and faux antique label.
You’ve got the overly earnest, one man operation who makes sure his migrant workers get manicures, and can’t get much done because he insists on doing it all himself. How many small spirit makers revel in their permanently tiny production capability, when it dooms them to never reaching a fraction of their potential market?
The big operation guy kills me. His essential, fabulous-sounding incoherence is shown in the trailer when he shows off his tuscan-themed garden that reminds him of… Provence? When they find a dead body (I think) in a wine vat… I hope this isn’t a spoiler, but if that was a small batch whiskey maker, the guy would just slam the door shut and rewrite the label to reflect the new, unique flavor profile.
Then there’s the critic. Imagine a pundit about drink…. Ahem. As an official member of the Cocktails and Spirits Online Writers Guild, I am honor bound to assume this guy is the hero….
Producer Brian Hoffman assures me that Corked! will be available on DVD (at least) in the near future. When I can get a copy, I’ll do a real review. In the interim, I call upon my legion (singular, I’m not so arrogant as to claim I have legions) of LA readers to get out and find Corked! in a theater around town if you can. Let me know what you think. If I lived in LA, I be there in theater with you.
(Oh by the way, the movie’s Facebook page is here.


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