Life in Vine - A Year in the VineyardsYou get into the realm of metaphysics when you're dealing with grapes
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Innovative Life in Vine documentary to air on OPB January 16th

In the winter of 1999, miles from fancy wine labels and glitzy marketing, a handful of grape growers, winemakers and field workers in Northern Oregon set out into the rain to prune their vines. It's cold, tedious and anonymous work, and it's nothing like the glamorous life of ease most people picture when they think about the wine industry.

But it's the real-life beginning of how the most misunderstood of beverages is patiently coaxed from earth to bottle, as growers and winemakers have been doing around the world for thousands of years. And especially in 1999, as the cold and rain persist well into the spring, it will take a combination of humility, dedication, and a vow to make nature your partner, come rain or shine.

Life in Vine is this rarely-told story. Passionately shot, dynamically paced, beautifully scored and peppered with thoughtful, incisive interviews, this half-hour documentary takes viewers past the preconceptions to show what it's really like to live a life in vine. And in 1999, those lives won't be easy: we watch as the chance of a good harvest grows bleaker and bleaker – until a real-life surprise ending saves the crop.

Oregon Public Broadcasting will broadcast Life in Vine, A Year in the Vineyards on January 16, 2002, at 8:30 pm.

As the documentary guides us through the milestones which punctuate a year in a vineyard, a deeper pattern also emerges. Life in Vine is about the uniqueness of one year, but it's also about its place in a timeless, natural cycle which arcs from winter through spring and summer to the rewards of harvest in the fall. It's a cycle repeated every year, all over the world as long as vines have been cultivated, and it lends a universality to what these Oregonians will face.

Working in concert with these deeper rhythms is one part of what has tempted these individuals to make wine by starting at its source, in the dead of winter before the first bud has even broken. It's their personalities, molded by experience and the obstacles they must overcome, which are at the heart of Life in Vine. There's Doug Tunnell, a former correspondent for CBS News who now broadcasts handcrafted wines from his small, organically farmed vineyard. There's David Lett, the curmudgeonly pioneer of Oregon wine who planted the first Pinot Noir vines in the Willamette Valley more than 30 years ago. And there's Bill Wayne, the thoughtful, easygoing grower who's almost single-handedly worked his vineyard for nearly 25 years.

Life in Vine is independently produced by writer and filmmaker Matt Giraud. Working outside of any wine industry sponsorship, he wrote, shot and edited the piece on his own with the help of some talented friends, making the documentary authentic, unbiased and personal. Over the course of a year, Giraud shot about 50 hours of footage, taking afternoons off of work when he could to head west to watch a handful of vineyards evolve. The result, distilled into a half hour, is a unique look at the patience, experience and luck it takes to make a glass of wine.

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