Ξ January 7th, 2011 | → 20 Comments | ∇ A Day at a Time, PORTUGAL |
How to preserve grape varieties? How to persuade sons and daughters to continue a family’s viticultural practice? How to explain to the world what it is you do as a winemaker? Can one assign a dollar value to vine biodiversity? Does a vine’s agricultural history have a value? How to pique the interest of both consumers and wine culture influencers that the product of one’s labor is of significance, is worthy of reflection, long after the last dram of a bottle has been drained? These are not unusual questions. In fact, most (and others) are the very currency of the of the unsaid, the background whispers, of better marketing campaigns. Social media, too, plays an important role. As do other cultural performances as well, such the Portuguese documentary project I have been working on for the past year.
Filmed on the Azores, Colares, specific towns and villages in the Alentejo, Vinho Verde, the Dão (and a few surprising locations), the as yet untitled documentary is not a comprehensive look at the Portuguese wine industry, but an attempt to isolate wine-making styles and their producers, grape varieties and vineyards, that can bring into a fine focus all of the questions asked above.
It was in October of 2009 that I met long-time winemaker, consultant, professor, and gadfly of the Portuguese wine industry, Virgilio Loureiro, currently of the Instituto Superior de Agronomia in Lisbon. It was none other than filmmaker Jonathan Nossiter, no stranger to the wine community, who, in the course of our interview, insisted I look Virgilio up when in Portugal for the second European Wine Bloggers Conference. No better bit of advice has been ever given me.
For now, after many financial set-backs, I am very happy to report that the editing of more than 70 hours of footage will begin in earnest in a little over one week’s time with the arrival in California of my cameraman and editor Nuno Sá Pessoa Costa Sequeira, and associate producer and translator Lilana Mascate, from Lisbon. A labor of love, deep have the four of us dug into our own pockets; but through the generous contributions of the Instituto Superior de Agronomia, the Instituto Da Vinha E Do Vinho, the Pousadas de Portugal, wine-producing organizations in the Azores, and other Portuguese sources yet to be officially confirmed, we now have the wherewithal to assemble a film restricted only by the collective imaginations of crew.
As though the mere completion of such documentary were not its own reward, we have learned that the first screening of the film will be during the 100 year anniversary celebrations at the Instituto Superior de Agronomia itself later this year. Due to be finished by April of this year, I do not, as of this writing, have firm dates for the actual screening. More to come…