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OPINION | BOTTLE SHOTS: Streaming services offer wine-centric programs

by Seth Eli Barlow | January 20, 2021 at 1:53 a.m.

I experienced a moment last week when I distinctly had the feeling that I had run out of things to watch. This occurred approximately halfway through the penultimate episode of "Bridgerton," the new Shonda Rhimes show on Netflix that chronicles what I think is supposed to be love in the early 19th century. (Honestly, for a show about love, everyone seemed pretty miserable, but that's for a whole other column ...) At this point, some 10 months into the pandemic, it seemed that regardless of how many streaming services I subscribed to, there just wasn't anything new coming out.

If you think you too might be reaching the end of the streaming internet, then no worries, because I've got a run-down of all the best streaming wine content to binge while the pandemic rages and our government is attacked.


Created by the team that made the hit documentary film "Somm," SOMM TV is a streaming service dedicated to wine-related content. It features full-length films like the original "Somm" (along with its two sequels) and wine-centered series. My favorite, "A Closer Look At," takes an in-depth look at some of wine's most complex topics, while the newly released "Sip Trip" is a guided tour through Italian wine that will have you brushing the dust off your passport. At just $5.99 a month ($49.99/year), you'll be hard-pressed to find better wine content on the web.


Set in Memphis, this Netflix original movie tells the story of a young man who wants to give up working at his family's barbecue restaurant to become a world class sommelier (Did I mention this was set in Memphis?). Will he remember all of the premier cru vineyards of Burgundy? Will his father accept his choices? Will Niecy Nash steal the show? You can probably already guess the answers to these questions, but that doesn't make the movie any less enjoyable.

"Bottle Shock"

Professor Snape and the best Hollywood Chris, er, I mean, Alan Rickman and Chris Pine star in this true-ish story of how American wines beat out a slate of France's best bottles in a 1976 blind tasting. The movie plays fast and loose with the facts but manages to make for an enjoyable back story to the rise of American wine.

"Sour Grapes"

If you're a fan of true crime, this is the documentary for you. It tracks the rise and fall of Rudy Kurniawan, a gray market wine dealer who got caught selling fraudulent bottles of near-priceless wine. This story proves that it's all fun and Champagne until the FBI shows up.

"A Year In ..."

If you're looking for a boots-on-the-ground approach to storytelling, look no further. These two documentaries, one each about Champagne and Burgundy, take you on a 365-day journey from vineyard to bottle at some of the world's most famous wineries.

To see what I'm sipping and what I'm streaming you can follow me on Instagram at @sethebarlow or send me an email at [email protected].


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