Acting Out with Charlie

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There are three kinds of wine films these days: documentaries on the wine world, dramas set amid the vines and Charlie movies.

Charlie Arturaola, a charismatic Miami-based sommelier, is starring in his second feature film by Argentinean filmmaker Nicolás Carreras. The Duel of Wine, now making the rounds of international film festivals, was shot in some of Italy’s most evocative cities and wine regions, from Piedmont and the Veneto to Umbria and Sardinia.

The film is a madcap blend of farcical comedy and emotion, wine tasting and infomercial, featuring cameos of winemakers and chefs playing themselves. Among them are the naturally comic Marco Caprai of Montefalco’s Arnaldo Caprai, the elegant Nadia Zenato of Valpolicella’s Zenato, the reserved Riccardo Illy of Brunello di Montalcino’s Mastrojanni, members of the Accademia del Barolo and master chefs Gianfranco Vissani of Casa Vissani in Umbria and Jean-François Rouquette of Pur’ at the Park Hyatt Paris-Vendôme.

“We’re showing some of my favorite wine regions,” says Arturaola, 55, on a film-tour swing through Northern Italy. “It is the first time this many Italian wine families got together to make a film.” 

A native of Uruguay who speaks five languages, Arturaola is an expressive bear of a man with a mane of gray locks, a silver goatee and an infectious smile. “An Italian couldn’t do this project,” he says, “because they [Italian wine families] don’t all get along.”

At times, The Duel of Wine can seem contrived as the action bounces among terroirs, detouring into Spain’s Basque Country and Rioja. Arturaola and the film’s producer, Lino Pujia, tailored the script to feature the wine producers who sponsored the project.

“Our funding was all product placement—the American way!” laughs Pujia...read the full blog at winespectator.com