The vintage of the century in the year of the dragon
Looking like something out of Lawrence of Arabia, a camel driver and his camels make their way at the foot of the Flame Mountains in Turfan, Far West China. This is where China is planting thousands of acres of new vineyards.
Camera crew craning high above the Great Wall, Ningxia Province, border with Inner Mongolia, NW China
Crew filming in XinJiang Province, far west China's wine frontier
Filming Gobi Desert, Inner Mongolia
Chinese faux Chateau (Chateau Changyu AFIP), 80 kms north of Beijing
Chopper rigged with Cineflex camera, Bordeaux
Cameraman Steve Arnold (l) and Andrew Caillard in the ancient city of Gaochang on the Silk Road, far-west China during one of our location surveys. The weather was scorchingly hot, in the 40’s. Grapes flourish here only because of ancient underground water channels, dating back 1,600 years, bringing snow-melt from distant mountains.
Filming mud brick end of The Great Wall, Inner Mongolia
Flame Mountains, Turfan, Far West China. From L-R: Andrew Caillard MW, Steve Arnold (cameraman), myself (Warwick Ross, Producer:Co-Director), Demei Li (winner Decanter Wine Award). We would never have gained access to these sensitive regions where cultural conflicts between Uighurs and Han Chinese erupt constantly, without Demei Li who found a way to get us in.
Camels under China's largest wind farm, Xinjiang Province, wine frontier, Far West China
This is a vineyard 80kms north of Beijing, Chateau Changyu AFIP.They had built a replica Chateau here, the same scale as the largest chateaux of France. The only difference was that when we knocked on the walls, which looked like stone, it proved to be fibreglass! Also, the air was heavily polluted.
No useable space goes to waste in China - here’s a great example. Apartment blocks tower over vines at Chateau Changyu Castel in Shandong Province, China. This is a juxtaposition you would never see in the West. This shot said so much to me about China’s polarised character.
The world’s largest Sex Toy manufacturer and billionaire wine collector, at his home in Shenzhen, China surrounded by empties. His wine collection is recognised as one of the finest in the world and is valued at $60 million. He was one of most intriguing interviewees and a tea connoisseur. He has bottles of Lafite Rothschild everywhere in his house, even his bedroom.
Here is one of our most enigmatic and interesting interviewees – he is the world’s largest Sex Toy manufacturer and has a wine collection valued at over $60 million. He stroked his white cat during the interview and reminded us of a James Bond character.
Tai Chi, early morning, The Bund, Shanghai, China
Andrew Caillard MW and celebrity TV talk show host Yue-Sai Kan, Shanghai
Flags fly from Colonial buildings above the Bund, Shanghai
Chateau Margaux, the most beautiful and harmonious of the great Chateaux of Bordeaux.You can see our crew setting up a tracking shot, dwarfed by the neo-classical edifice.
Chateau Palmer, Bordeaux, France
This shot was taken at Chateau Margaux, Bordeaux. Corinne Mentzelopoulos (l) is the owner, me (Warwick Ross, producer, co-director), Andrew Caillard MW (Associate Producer) and Grant Lawson (sound). Chateau Margaux was the most generous of all with their time and access.
En Primeur Commanderie de Bordeaux dinner
We were lucky enough to score an interview with Francis Ford Coppola in Hong Kong. He wears the dual hats these days of Wine Producer and Film Director, His estate, “Inglenook” in the Napa Valley, California produces some of the most expensive wines produced in the US. We asked him “Can wine tell a story?”
Horse and cart hauling grapes, Chateau Pontet Canet, Bordeaux
To really understand the scale of Bordeaux we needed to shoot from a chopper. We did this a few times over the year which also allowed us to capture a sense of seasonal change. This is Chateau Palmer, named after a British General who, after helping defeat Napoleon at Waterloo, fell in love with a young French widow on his way back to London. He changed his plans, married her, bought her Chateau, then named it after himself.
This is the futuristic barrel room at Chateau Cos d'Estournel in Bordeaux. It reminded of Stanley Kubrick’s ‘2001’ or something from Ridley Scott’s ‘Alien’. I fell in love with this location and feature it in the opening credits of the film.
David Roach, Nick Parkinson, Andrew Caillard MW, Robert Coe, Sir Michael Parkinson, Warwick Ross, London