For as long as I can remember, I have always been incredibly passionate about wine. In my hometown in Oklahoma, my father still owns a wine, beer, and spirits store named The Market. When I was a teenager, he would often bring home wine from the shop for us to try in the evenings with dinner. Long after my mother and sister left the table, my dad and I would still be sitting together and talking about why we liked or disliked certain varietals. Some of my earliest passions for Australian Shiraz, Pomerol, and New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc in particular, were borne out of these discussions. In 2014, I began taking classes at UCLA’s Wine Education and Management Certificate Program while working in television in Los Angeles. The various courses on winemaking, viticulture, and the history of Bordeaux opened up a whole new world for me and further ignited my love for wine.
The origin of Fire and Ice began with very modest expectations. My original intention was simply to create a short three minute or under piece for a video contest on WineSpectator.com. At the time, I had just recently read Paul Gregutt’s book, Washington Wines & Wineries: the Essential Guide, which was very influential to me. I had always loved wines from Washington, but it wasn’t until Jean-François Pellet, the winemaker at Pepper Bridge Winery in Walla Walla, appeared as a guest lecturer in one of my UCLA wine courses that I began to learn more about the region and its unique terroir. Paul’s book revealed many new layers of richness that I saw as potential for an intriguing narrative and it became clear to me that this was the story that I wanted to tell.
Beginning with my former acquaintance Jean-François, I began sending out emails to various winemakers across the state, requesting time to conduct an interview. Unsure of the response that I would receive, I was blown away by how friendly and supportive each of them were. Before I knew it, I had lined up interviews with ten different winemakers and knew that I would have far too much footage than I could squeeze into a short three minute timeframe and thus the idea of a short film was born. I then reached out to Paul Gregutt, informing him of how much I loved his book and how instrumental of a tool it had been throughout my research process while developing the documentary. He agreed to be in the film as well, along with a local geologist that I had recently brokered a friendship with regarding a collection of incredible aerial footage that he had shot over the canyons near the Washington/Oregon border.
After comparing schedules with my 12 interview subjects, I booked a flight from California to Washington in early July and shot all over Yakima, Wapato, Zillah, Prosser, Benton City, Walla Walla, Richland, Woodinville, and Seattle. Standouts from my amazing trip include Merlot barrel tastings with brothers Patrick and Matt Rawn at Two Mountain Winery, the scenic drive through Mount Baker National Forest, private golf cart tours of the property at Owen Roe Winery and Sheridan Vineyard, and the stunning views from the top of the Two Sisters Hike at Wallula Gap on the Columbia River. Aside from the film’s production, which went virtually flawless from start to finish, my time there spent meeting great people and telling their story remains one of the better life experiences that I’ve had to date as well.
ELECTRONIC PRESS KIT (EPK)
Download the EPK for high resolution stills, cast and crew bios, production notes, and credits. Please courtesy WH Productions for all media usage.