Monday, 13 October 2008

Celebrity Winemakers – Ridley Scott

Ridley Scott, director of A Good Year, (starring Russell Crowe) and long time owner of a vineyard in Luberon in Provence does not want to get involved in making his own wine – which is quite an unusual move considering how many celebrities jump on the bandwagon (check out wine and celebrities). Scott told Details magazine:

"I have someone else run the vineyard. I know what I should make and what I should consume. That's it. Coppola started his winery and label, but he also almost gave up movies, didn't he? I want to be known as the guy who makes good movies, not good wine."

Scott came up with the idea for Peter Mayle's 2004 novel A Good Year after reading an article in the business section of the Times in 1996 about a vineyard in France that was selling garage wine for over £30,000 a case. Scott apparently still keeps a clipping of the article in his files in London. The Times article, by Ben Macintyre, told the story of Hugh Ryman, who moved to France when his father sold the family’s high-street stationery business. He had studied winemaking in Bordeaux and in the French châteaux of Yquem and Latour before attending the leading wine school in Australia, near Adelaide.

Much to the dismay of his neighbours, and using his know how and the latest technology, Mr Ryman began to create a range of wines that appealed strongly to the average consumer, mirroring the successes of the wines from the Antipodes, South America and the United States, and driving home — this time on their own soil — what the old guard of French viticulture had never wanted to acknowledge: that you do not need a recognised name to make and sell fine wine.

Scott's vineyard spans 27 acres in the sub-appellation Cotes du Luberon (where A Good Year was filmed). Its dominated by red grape varieties and most of the vintners (some 80%, including Scott) grow grapes and sell them to cooperatives to produce the local table wine (vin de pays) named for the appellation.

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