A three-part wine series featuring Château Margaux, Berry Bros and South Africa is to air in February and March on BBC Four.
The programmes are narrated by Matthew Macfadyen, who plays MI-5 agent Tom Quinn on the BBC series Spooks and starred as Mr Darcy in the 2005 film of Pride and Prejudice. Each instalment focuses on a different aspect of the industry.
‘I was attracted by the approach, which was based on characters and stories rather than an attempt to capture something that is quite ephemeral,’ said Richard Klein, who commissioned the series and is now BBC Four’s controller,
‘After all, it’s just a drink. But each scenario illustrates just how much this drink means to so many people around the world.’
The series contrasts the wine world’s oldest merchants and most revered winery, with some of its newest and most iconoclastic participants.
The first episode, entitled ‘The Firm’, highlights wine according to Berry Bros, while the second, ‘The Faith’ focuses on the 2008 growing season at Chateau Margaux – and follows the domaine’s director Paul Pontailler to China, where he is mobbed by fans.
The final episode, ‘The Future’, features retired professor Oupa Rangaka of M’Hudi Wines (Stellenbosch), the first black-owned vineyard in South Africa – and Mark Solms, neuroscientist-turned-winemaker of Franschoek’s Solms-Delta, who uses the ancient method of dessication on the vine.
‘While winemaking in some cases can be very mechanical, wine is a very human industry. There’s tremendous drama in peoples’ stories, in the weather, in economic forces,’ said director Nick Angel.
‘The series is not about wine tasting or appreciation, not a question of multiple adjectives and orgasmic reactions.’
Wine, produced by Oxford Film and Television, starts 16 February on BBC Four.
Written by Maggie Rosen