Storm: New Short Film Captures the Artistry of Winemaking

In many ways food—its pro­duc­tion, prepa­ra­tion and consumption—is the hottest art form today. Chefs are like celebri­ty auteurs, revered for their pas­sion and ded­i­ca­tion. We even watch real­i­ty tele­vi­sion shows about the dra­ma of com­mer­cial restau­rant kitchens.

The newest doc­u­men­tary by Daniel Addel­son puts anoth­er one of these artists in the spot­light. Addelson’s new film Storm fol­lows vint­ner Ernst Storm, a native of South Africa who makes wine in the San­ta Ynez Val­ley near San­ta Bar­bara, through a fall grape har­vest. The film is as earthy, bright and moody as the beau­ti­ful land where it is set. Storm tromps around his land in shorts and boots and a hat oper­at­ing fork lifts and hoist­ing pitch­forks full of grapes into huge tubs. We also see him in the lab, track­ing the chem­i­cal trans­ac­tions tak­ing place in his cur­rent batch.

The movie doesn’t shy away from the indus­tri­al side of wine­mak­ing, all the hoses and vats and stain­less steel casks.  But Storm’s voiceover reminds us that behind the heavy lift­ing is the dream of coax­ing some­thing plea­sur­able out of nature’s boun­ty.

Storm will pre­miere at the Sono­ma Film Fes­ti­val in April. Clock­ing in just over eight min­utes, Storm con­veys the hard work of mak­ing wine, the soli­tude and the fun. Most of all the film con­veys the craft’s artistry. The sen­su­al stuff—the smells and col­ors and flavors—are what dri­ve Storm’s affec­tion for process. He is dis­cern­ing and atten­tive. We see him climb­ing to the top bar­rel in a high pyra­mid, with a glass and a fan­cy turkey baster in hand. Remov­ing the big cork, Storm sucks out a bit and swish­es it around in his glass, then tast­ing it to see how things are going. Each vari­ety must be cared for, he says.

As a film­mak­er Addel­son isn’t mak­ing a com­mer­cial for Storm Wines. He’s inter­est­ed in the ingre­di­ents that make for a cre­ative person—the per­se­ver­ance, pas­sion and atten­tion to detail nec­es­sary to fol­low an idea through.

He will pick up this thread again in his next film, which looks at the ben­e­fits of teach­ing char­ac­ter to chil­dren in school.

Kate Rix writes about dig­i­tal media and edu­ca­tion. Read more of her work at .

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Comments (1)
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  • Pat Underwood says:

    my maine point:
    won­der­ful to see a wine­mak­er on this site,
    i love wine, it is art, just hard­er to see.

    on the side:
    this wine­mak­er is miles short of the stan­dard set by open­cul­ture,
    he is an abou­ve aver­age small­ish pro­duc­er, or appears to be through my eyes in this doco.
    would be won­der­ful to get some­one push­ing a bound­ary (of wine like oth­er post here cel­e­brate.

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