James Suckling continued his adventures on the silver screen this week. The eminent wine critic hosted the public debut of his new film, The Miracle of Alto Adige, at the Sonoma International Film Festival. The doc looks at winemaking in the oft-overlooked North Italian region.
Suckling worked on the 23-minute documentary along with his son Jack Suckling. In addition, professional filmmaker James Orr bought his directorial skills to the team.
Orr also directed Suckling’s two previous films Cigars: The Heart And Soul of Cuba (about Cuban cigars) and Cannubi: A Vineyard Kissed by God (about Barolo). However, you may know Orr better for his 80’s masterpiece Three Men and a Baby.
“Alto Adige is a picturesque place, dotted with castles, small towns, and apple orchards as far as the eye can see. But it’s on the steep mountainsides, where most of the grapes are grown, and some of those vineyards are as high as a thousand meters, making them extremely difficult to farm,” Suckling waxes poetic at the start of the film. “If you believe that greatness is never easy, then the producers in Alto Adige are making great wine because it certainly isn’t easy.”
The film is basically a lovesong to Alto Adige, filled with beautiful aerial shots of the vineyards, hillsides, and centuries old architecture. You also get interviews with some bold faced names of the wine world including Andi Punter from Franz Haas and Nals Margreid and Willi Sturz from Tramin.
For those unfamiliar with Suckling’s work, he is widely regarded one of the world’s top wine critics. During his long career at Wine Spectator, Suckling specialized in Bordeaux—and Italian wines. After leaving Wine Spectator, the oenophileile launched jamessuckling.com, a multimedia wine website featuring the man as well as collaborations with Orr and a motley crew of guests including Mike D of the Beastie Boys.
The Miracle of Alto Adige can be screened by the general public beginning on Thursday (3.29) on jamessuckling.com.