- Homepage for the Wine Industry

Napa Filmmaker Plans Documentary about Merlot

Date: 09/14/07

by Mary-Colleen Tinney

Filmmaker Rudy McClain has embarked on an ambitious full-length documentary project hoping to "shed the light" on Merlot, which he feels has been unfairly maligned in the recent past. Filming on the documentary, "Merlove," has already begun in California, with plans to expand the project to Bordeaux and possibly other locations.

"Merlot has been limited somewhat by bad press, bad movies and people kind of thinking that the wine is no good--I'm trying to reverse that," said McClain. "In doing that, what I also want to do is relay the message that all these wines are part of a family and that no single variety should be singled out as a good wine or bad wine."

McClain feels that the film will help inspire wine drinkers to take a closer look at the varietal "I think it is going to be really cool for Merlot wine in particular," he said. "Maybe it will help people bridge the gap between the $4 and $5 Merlot and the $20 to $60 Merlot."

McClain was prompted to do the project after overhearing Swanson Vineyards winemaker Chris Phelps, a personal friend, discussing a possible Merlot movie. "I checked it out and told him that I had to do this," said McClain. "After interviewing [Phelps], everything started falling into place. I got him, Jean Claude Berrouet from Chateau Petrus, Larry Stone [from Rubicon], Tom Rinaldi from Provenance, Andy Beckstoffer and then some of my friends. We have a huge list to do, so we are doing some fundraising right now." McClain is hoping to raise enough funds to support a planned filming trip to France in November and has developed a prospectus to offer potential investors.

Ultimately, McClain hopes the film will be distributed in theaters and, eventually, DVD. He has already begun contacting Los Angles-based distributors, though filming is far from over. Before the film is ultimately finished, he hopes to have a series of wine country screenings to get feedback and suggestions on the direction of the film.

The project's website,, also features suggestions for a Napa-focused Merlove tour. "I'm passionate about giving back to the [Napa Valley] wine community. I'm originally from Wisconsin, but being out here and growing up here, it felt like anything was possible. I kind of want to make a mark and say, hey, here's something really cool that I am giving back. Part of this whole thing is the people who don't drink Merlot, they may not know too much about wine. So, this is a translation of how to enjoy really great wines. It's also a way for me to give back to the people who helped me out with the movie."

Subscribe to Daily news Email

FREE Wine Business Daily News delivers the industry's top stories emailed to you from our editorial team.

most popular daily news links

latest used barrels

- used barrels  •  Sep 18, 2014 at 5:17AM PDT
- used barrels  •  Sep 17, 2014 at 3:35PM PDT
- used barrels  •  Sep 17, 2014 at 7:50AM PDT
- used barrels  •  Sep 17, 2014 at 7:50AM PDT
- used barrels  •  Sep 15, 2014 at 7:56PM PDT

latest real estate

- real estate  •  Sep 17, 2014 at 9:13AM PDT
- real estate  •  Sep 16, 2014 at 5:54PM PDT
- real estate  •  Sep 16, 2014 at 2:34PM PDT
- real estate  •  Sep 14, 2014 at 6:02AM PDT
- real estate  •  Sep 14, 2014 at 6:02AM PDT

latest used equipment

- used equipment  •  Sep 19, 2014 at 4:07PM PDT
- used equipment  •  Sep 19, 2014 at 4:07PM PDT
- used equipment  •  Sep 19, 2014 at 4:07PM PDT
- used equipment  •  Sep 19, 2014 at 2:12PM PDT
- used equipment  •  Sep 18, 2014 at 2:29PM PDT

latest services & supplies

- services & supplies  •  Sep 19, 2014 at 4:11PM PDT
- services & supplies  •  Sep 19, 2014 at 11:44AM PDT
- services & supplies  •  Sep 19, 2014 at 10:36AM PDT
- services & supplies  •  Sep 18, 2014 at 4:46PM PDT
- services & supplies  •  Sep 17, 2014 at 7:47AM PDT

industry events

Sep 25
Sep 26
Sep 26
Search Events:

Copyright© 1994-2014 by Wine Communications Group. All Rights Reserved. Copyright protection extends to all written material, graphics, backgrounds and layouts. None of this material may be reproduced for any reason without written permission of the Publisher. Wine Business Insider, Wine Business Monthly, Grower & Cellar News and Wine Market News are all trademarks of Wine Communications Group and will be protected to the fullest extent of the law.