Each year, wine consumption continues to increase, and more Americans are savvier wine drinkers. Yet, so many questions still surround wine. How is wine made? What is a good vintage? Why does that bottle cost so much? What in the world does terroir, bouquet, aroma, body, finish, and tannins actually mean? Filmmaker David Kennard asks a simpler question: “Where does really great wine come from?” 

The answer Kennard comes up with is right there in the title of his latest documentary, A Year in Burgundy. Kennard, who writes, produces, and directs, provides a crash course in winemaking by following seven families through one entire year of winemaking. Each of these families has been making wine for many generations, and their knowledge and technique have been handed down through hundreds of years of tradition.

Kennard documents the 2011 seasons in spring with planting and budbreak and charts the progress from growing to picking, crush to ferment, barrel age, and cellaring to finally pruning the vines in the foggy and smoky winter in preparation of the next spring. Although the narration and sober piano that accompanies the soundtrack can get overbearing at times, Kennard seeks to educate his audience as best he can in the many steps involved with winemaking. It is far more complex than simply growing grapes. Winemaking takes an unbelievable amount of toil and attention, and Kennard lovingly documents the work. Burgundy wine is pricey to begin with and can get ridiculously expensive, but once you see the steps involved, it doesn’t seem as ridiculous.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

A Year in Burgundy (2013)
Written, produced, and directed by David Kennard
InCA Productions, Not rated, Running time 88 minutes, Released Nov. 5, 2013

The version of the above review first appeared in the pages of Boulder Weekly Vol. 22, No. 45, “Grapes and seeds.”