Friday, September 23, 2022

Blood Of The Vines - Black Lives Matter

Pairing‌‌‌ ‌‌‌wine‌‌‌ ‌‌‌with‌‌‌ ‌‌‌movies!‌‌‌ ‌‌‌See‌‌‌ ‌‌‌the‌‌‌ ‌‌‌trailers‌‌‌ ‌‌‌and‌‌‌ ‌‌‌hear‌‌‌ ‌‌‌the‌‌‌ ‌‌‌fascinating‌‌‌ ‌‌‌commentary‌‌‌ ‌‌‌for‌‌‌ ‌‌‌these‌‌‌ ‌‌‌‌‌movies‌,‌‌ ‌‌‌and‌‌‌ ‌‌‌many‌‌‌ ‌‌‌more‌,‌‌ ‌‌‌at‌‌‌ ‌‌‌Trailers‌‌‌ ‌‌‌From‌‌‌ ‌‌‌Hell.‌‌‌ This week, we have three films which center on race relations in America, with wine pairings for each, from African-American winemakers.

Racial tensions and the violence that often results from them are the focus of Spike Lee's 1989 classic, Do the Right Thing. The scenes in this movie have been played over and over in real life through the decades - the mistrust, the fear, the anger, the chokehold, the senseless death, the trashing of a business, the remorse. It makes one wonder if, indeed, we can't all just get along.

Many critics of the day hailed Right Thing as one of the best movies ever made, while just as many shrugged it off as a play on white guilt. The latter crowd no doubt asked themselves, "Does he have to play that boombox so loudly?" The film ends on the differing views of Dr. Martin Luther King and Malcolm X, with no real indication of which man had the better idea.

Our wine pairing has to be the right thing. Stuyvesant Champagnes sounds like it hits the mark. Vintner Marvina Robinson named it after her hometown, Brooklyn's Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood, where the movie is set. It is real Champagne, however, made from grapes grown mainly in the Marne Valley. Robinson says she is one of only a few African-American women to own a Champagne brand.

1968 was a big year for racial tensions. Baltimore, Boston, Cleveland, Detroit, Pittsburgh and Washington, D.C. were ripped apart by racial rage following King's assassination. The Story of a Three-Day Pass was written and directed by Melvin Van Peebles, and given a major release after the violence that erupted the following April.

Pass is the story of a black American serviceman in France who is given a three-day pass after his promotion. During his weekend in Paris, he has a whirlwind fling with a white woman. When they get wind of this back at the base, he is busted. His crime: interracial romance. Don't ask don't tell, indeed. Someone told on him.

La Fête du Rosé comes from the Côtes de Provence region. Founder Donae Burston says he discovered rosé while in St. Tropez for his 30th birthday. He admits that he thought everyone was drinking white Zinfandel. One taste set him straight. Now he gives a portion of his proceeds to organizations which help people of color find their way in the wine world.

1961's A Raisin in the Sun has a superb cast, headed up by Sidney Poitier and Ruby Dee. In the movie, we see a black family's struggle to get ahead in Chicago amid personal tragedy, money troubles and race discrimination.  Unlike TV's The Jeffersons, they never make it to a "deluxe apartment in the sky."  They do, however, manage to maintain the family's dignity while "movin' on up" to a modest home.

Poitier's performance fills the screen, while everyone else in the credits got rave reviews, too. The film was honored at Cannes with the Gary Cooper Award. It was directed by Daniel Petrie - a white Canadian - while the play's original director on Broadway was Lloyd Richards - a black Canadian. I really would love to have seen what Richards would have done with this on the screen. 

Simply Love Wines is based in Chicago, but owner/vintner Barbara Jackson uses Napa grapes to produce a white, a pink and two reds.

Wine Enthusiast magazine has a more complete listing of black-owned wine labels.

Follow Randy Fuller on Twitter

No comments:

Post a Comment