(picture: thanks to Channel 5)
With so many of us drinking wine these days, it’s an obvious theme for a TV programme. Yet, with the occasional notable exception (Jancis Robinson’s Wine Course many years ago still springs to mind), it seems wine is a difficult subject for programme makers to get right. Understandably keen to attract a wide audience (and the advertising revenue that brings), they concentrate on making their programme entertaining and fun and, as a result, usually produce something that contains little of interest to real wine lovers.
The 1st series of ‘The Wine Show’, transmitted in 2016 on ITV4, certainly fell into that trap, so I wasn’t particularly enthusiastic about its return last week, this time on Channel 5. My one hope was that the addition of the previously mentioned Jancis Robinson MW to the presentation team would introduce more substance without losing the entertainment.
Sadly, she made little difference. In the one programme transmitted so far, her input was restricted to choosing between a pair of rosés sourced by fellow presenters, actors Matthew Goode and James Purefoy during a delightful looking lunch overlooking the Provence countryside. And, indeed, it was the glorious scenery – both in California and in Provence, where the team is based for this series – that was, for me, the best part of the show.
Far better than co-host Joe Fattorini’s attempt to find a wine for a ‘Sprite’ drinker for whom anything dry – or even medium dry – was instantly rejected. His search involved a lightning tour of some of California’s wine shops, a fleeting visit to the bar that was used in the film ‘Sideways’ and, for no obvious reason, performing a stand-up routine in a California Comedy Club. Joe’s wine knowledge is without question but, as for being a comedian, I suggest he sticks with the day job!
I’m certain that, with all the tools available to producers, it is possible to make a wine programme that is both really entertaining and informative. On the evidence so far, regrettably, it’s not this one.