Too bad for fans of the book Judgement of Paris: California vs. France and the Historic 1976 Paris Tastings That Revolutionized Wine. Its adaptation might be overshadowed in the same way that Infamous was overshadowed by Capote. Of the dueling films about the 1976 Paris Tastings, Bottle Shock seems to be taking the lead. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the film begins shooting August 1 and it has just announced its principal cast. Meanwhile, I haven't heard much about Judgement in six months, despite the fact that it is supposedly the 'official' film about the event and had originally appeared to have the higher profile. However, according to Decanter.com, which has been following the clashing projects, Judgement producers Elizabeth Fowler and Clark Peterson are looking into suing the makers of Bottle Shock. So, maybe it is still too early to tell which film will hit theaters first.
Bottle Shock is not based on any book, but the project was commissioned by Jim and Bo Barrett, who own the Napa property Chateau Montelena. Montelena surprised many by coming in first in the blind Chardonnay tasting in 1976, which really put California vineyards on the map. The film will feature a varied ensemble of actors, including Bill Pullman as the owner of Montelena and Chris Pine as his son, who saves the winery by entering it into the tasting event. Alan Rickman has been cast as Steven Spurrier, the English wine merchant who organized the event, though his character could have a different name if Fowler and Peterson do in fact own all rights to the man's life story. Also in the cast are
Elisha Eliza Dushku, who will play a bartender, and Transformers' Rachael Taylor, who will play an intern at the winery. The original script for Bottle Shock, by Ross Schwartz, has been rewritten by Randall M. Miller and Jody Savin, and Miller will be directing the film.