Cask Room Cinema: Winery Meets Movie Theatre

Merryvale Winery serves up some very good movies (and very good wine).

A SETTING WORTHY OF CINEMA: Movie mavens tend to watch flicks in one of two places: The den at home (or the living room or the basement) and a movie theater. Add on a third place, if you're feeling particularly wacky, and call it the local park in summertime, the one that sticks a temporary screen between two tall trees. But we don't really watch movies, as a whole, beyond those three places (nope, your friend's den and another multiplex down the freeway do not count as four and five). Occasionally a drive-in, occasionally a backyard, but that's about it. And then... the winery movie hums into view. It's a film shown not in a den or multiplex or park or backyard but inside a softly lit cave or space that's lined with wine after wine. It's cinematic to look upon without a film screening, but it lends a lovely flavor to any flick seen in that setting. A number of wineries walk this Hollywood-meets-merlot route every so often, but Merryvale Winery in St. Helena is going to show a trio of films in the months ahead in its famous Cask Room, starting with a work that truly fits good wine, the quest for perfection, kitchen drama, and the flair of the table: "Big Night."

OH, AND THERE'S TIMPANO... to enjoy, too, during the screening (think bites and tastes, not an entree). Plus? A gratis glass of wine. Price? Twenty dollars. Date? Saturday, Feb. 27. If you've seen the 1996 charmer, you probably didn't watch it surrounded by giant casks in an atmospheric wine-filled nook. Nor did you snack upon timpano, the film's famous dish. Call the Merryvale event a gourmet do-over. Two more flicks are ahead, if you can't make the foodie favorite: "The Natural" on April 17, just in time for baseball season, and "Four Weddings and a Funeral," just in time for the traditional wedding month (so June 19 is the night). Nope, you won't bid seeing cinema at the cinema goodbye, and your den couch is safe, but adding "gorgeous winery cask room" to your favorite places to watch old favorites just might be the next thing added to your list.

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