Films About Wine: Santa Barbara Fest

The first-ever vino + celluloid celebration screens over three late-winter weeks.


FINDING A CINEMA... close to a wine bar isn't too much of a challenge for most city dwellers. It's really a matter of locating a movie you want to see, at a theater you like, and then searching up and down the block for a place to enjoy a post-credits chardonnay. That post-credits chardonnay isn't just an afterthought, after all, but rather an essential part of the movie-going experience. You and your friend need to download all of those opinions about character and plot and that twist you thought you saw coming, yes? Call vino, for some over-21-ers, as much a part of a film night as a bucket of popcorn. That there are loads of movies, then, about wine, or the process of growing grapes and running a vineyard, shouldn't surprise. Sometimes the winery is but a stunner of a backdrop to the action; sometimes entire thrust of the film is about the ancient libation. We can all name a wine film we've seen, and probably a dozen on top of that, so that there's a new fest celebrating sips on screen shouldn't surprise in the least. It's called the...

INTERNATIONAL WINE FILM FESTIVAL, and it is headed for Santa Barbara County from Feb. 14 through March 5, 2016. There are a number of screenings actually happening at various vineyards -- "Somm: Into the Bottle" rolls at Larner Vineyards in Solvang on Sunday, Feb. 14, complete with a lush-tastes meal -- and there's a night of wine and film pairings in Santa Maria in early March. Even if you can't make the Santa Ynez Valley wine country region during this time period, there's a "live online screening event" of wine shorts on Feb. 17. Wine relies on time to give it some of its inimitable magic, as does a film, which can take its time building to a (fingers crossed) satisfying conclusion. And a wine-themed film festival looks to be a tasty addition to the Golden State's busy film festival calendar. "Would you like butter on your popcorn?" could be replaced with "red or white?" down the road.

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