Paris, Wine, and Romance

Grade: C

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Jen Lilley – Isabella 

Dan Jeannotte – Jacques

The story starts out with Uncle Travis and his niece Isabella walking through the vat room of their Oregonian winery - Ricci Ridge Winery

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“I’ve run the numbers Uncle T, and it turns out we’ll produce twice as many grapes as we can use this year!”

“Yep,” says Uncle T, “and we’ll sell the excess grapes that we can’t use to California just like your dad always did.”

 

First Impressions: These statements represent two very basic wine business concepts, so are these people new at the winery business? It sounds like her Dad used to run the business – so where is he? Did he die already and I missed it?

 

“I need you to try something,” says Isabella, and then she holds up a giant metal straw dropper thingy that is so large I couldn’t get it all in one shot.

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“Great!” says Uncle Travis, “First taste of your new wine?”

“You’ll see…” replies Isabella.

 

What does she mean “you’ll see?” because if there is some other use for this giant metal straw dropper thingy, I don’t want to know what it is.

 

“I lowered the sugar content and smoothed out the tannins in this year’s pinot noir,” she explains.

“Experimenting already,” says Uncle T.

“Just taste it!”

D*mn, okay girl…chill.

 

Here’s her Uncle looking amazed at the color. He knows red wine is red - right?

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And now here’s her Uncle looking like he was sent by Tony Soprano to shake someone down, but apparently he really likes the wine so all’s well.

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Next, we find out that this is her first attempt at making wine and apparently, it’s pretty good. At least Uncle T thinks so…and he’s experienced at this right…right?

 

Isabella wants to increase production of their grapes, but Uncle T says no can do, they need to sell more bottles to do that.

No problem, Isabella is on it!

 

So, she goes to visit a wine distributer, Anton, who was a friend of her maybe dead father’s. She would like him to distribute the wine she made.

 

Hi! This is the first wine I’ve ever made,

but this sh*t is freakin’ easy.

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Anton tries it and he likes it!! But he still looks snobby.

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He shows her some French wine. “See this bottle of Chateau St. Whatever? It won a medal. Does your wine have any medals? Go get some medals and we’ll talk

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“Pfffft! What competition did Chateau St. Whatever win?

I’ll enter and win because my wine is amaze-balls.”

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Anton points out that Chateau St. Whatever won the Grand Prix de Vin du Mond in Paris which is the Olympics of wine competitions – it is something that you work up to - not start with. Then he tells her his door is always open, but please pack up your non-medaled wine and go.

 

Isabella talks this over with Uncle T who thinks she should go for it and enter the Paris competition. Unexpectedly though, Isabella loses all her gumption at this point and refuses, so her Uncle has to sign her up behind her back.

 

“Tee-hee, fuggetaboutit.”

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Six weeks later he runs in with a letter. She’s been accepted! Go to Paris!

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She arrives in Paris and we see her hired car drive her past the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triumph, a Statue of George Washington, and the Louvre before she gets to her hotel. FYI all these sights are not on the same road from the airport, so in case you’re interested, I estimate her little Uber tour to be around, $125.00 depending on where her hotel is.

 

After checking into the hotel, she promptly realizes that the wrong bag has been delivered to her room. When she calls down to the front desk she is told, “Of course, we will do everything we can, but the hotel is really full right now so it may be awhile before we can get it back to you.” So basically, we screwed up, but tough sh*t, no apology required.

 

Isabella weakly thanks the receptionist, (for what? losing her bag and blowing her off?), honestly, I can’t tell if this character is plucky or not.

You don’t have it?

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Oh well, sucks for me!

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It’s fine. I’ll just sleep in these clothes, brush my hair with my fingers and fashion a tampon from a wine cork and a shoelace.

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Somehow Jacques, (a fellow competitor), gets her bag, finds out what room she is in, and returns it to her. I have no idea why he feels the need to do the hotel’s job for them…but whatever. Isabella mistakes him for the bellboy and tries to tip him 5 euro, and when he refuses it, she inexplicably gives him one of the 6 bottles of her wine she has with her as an entry into the contest.

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Side Note: Huh? Besides the fact that this substitution sorta kinda intimates her wine is worth only 5 euro, shouldn’t she keep these bottles to…I don’t know…pass out to potential distributers? Keep as back up in case of breakage? Drink with other vintners who will actually appreciate it?

Although I could probably blame this stupidity on jet lag…I don’t want to. She’s a dumba**.

 

Next to come knocking on her door is her friend Lacey, who happens to work in a Paris fashion house so she will be dressing our lead from now on (obvs).

 

“My only purpose is to clothe you…whaaaat!!”

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Later, Isabella meets Jacques again in line as she is checking into the competition. She notices that he gets passes to all the winemaker events and parties while she, as a newcomer to the competition, gets nothing.

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As Jacques leaves, he comments over his shoulder, “Don’t worry the events and parties are actually quite boring.” “Not to me…” she says to his back in a super pathetic voice.

 

Instant attraction = 0

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Weirdly, she chases after Jacques, a relative stranger, to complain some more about her “uninvitedness.” If the scriptwriter’s intention was to make her character seem h*lla needy, they nailed it. Jacques listens to her politely and then responds, “Well, now you have time to explore Paris – you should enjoy it…au revoir.”

 

Next, we see Jacques with his brother at the bar talking about their winery. The details are not important but basically, Jacques is a proponent of modern methods of winemaking and his brother, Maurice is a traditionalist. Isabella shows up at the bar and the brothers ask her to join them.

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After they find out she is entering the competition in the pinot noir group, Maurice says, “Tough category. Chateau St. Whatever has won for the last 5 years in a row.”

To which Isabella replies, “Well, their last year’s vintage wasn’t as good, and I think they’ve peaked.”

 

This just goes to show that you should probably know your audience before you open your pie hole.

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When Isabella finds out that both brothers own Chateau St. Whatever, she looks like “oh sh*t!” which, with her already large eyeballs, is saying something.

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After apologizing, she offers them a wager – a blind taste test of three wines. If she can guess the grape and region correctly, they have to help her get into the Returning Winemakers Luncheon tomorrow. If she loses, she has to admit that their wines are better than hers. How very third grade.

Whatever, they shake on it and let the games begin!

 

I like this shot of Maurice because he looks like he knows everything

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This happens.

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Of course, she gets all the wines right, and as they leave to meet with a distributer, she reminds them…don’t forget my invitation to the luncheon tomorrow!

At the opening of the competition the next day she gets the side eye of interest from Jacques.

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After all the announcements the boys turn to leave, and we get to see Isabella chasing them down again. Is it just me or is she getting annoying?

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Isabella: What’s on the agenda boys? Us pinot makers have to stick together.

Maurice: Well, Jacques will take care of you…he can introduce you to all the right people - journalists, distributers..

Isabella: This is so great! We’ll have so much fun!

 

However, Jacques does not look super excited about it.

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Right then a sommelier friend of Jacques comes over and they say hello to each other and exchange a few quick sentences. Isabella is not in the frame of the shot, but you can hear her clear her throat to get Jacques attention for an introduction. Ugh! What a loser.

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Christina asks Jacques for a bottle of his wine for her chef and this upsets Isabella. Jacques asks her what’s wrong and she says, “Everyone knows you and is throwing themselves at you. I need to figure out what I need to do to get noticed around here.”

 

Uh, you need to win dumba**.

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Jacques tells her she seems a bit too eager, (oh, is that what we are calling her hyper-pushy behavior?). He says she needs more patience and to try and breathe. To demonstrate he exhales through his mouth like a horse.

Isabella’s response, not surprisingly, is to push some more, “So anyway, how are you going to get me into the luncheon?”

“Well, my mother can’t go so you can use her name.”

“What! Do you actually think that people will think that I am your mother?” Jacques just shrugs his shoulders and says it is the best he can do and walks off. She runs after him sputtering.

 

Good for you Jacques…I would have bought a giant cake for the luncheon and made her pop out of it.

 

Sorry, our wager did not stipulate “how” to get you in so….tough m*rde.

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She goes to the luncheon and uses his Mom’s name but - uh oh! His Mom already checked in! Then she uses her own name…uh oh! she’s not on the list! Then Jacques comes in and says she is his “plus one” and she is allowed in…why didn’t they just do that from the beginning?

 

Next, Jonathan Ronin, a famous yet vicious wine reporter, comes over and starts to question the brothers about the rumor that both are entering separate pinots into the competition and the winner gets to choose the future of Chateau St. Whatever.

No comment from the family.

 

Hmmm…this actor is fun to watch. He reminds me of Pee Wee Herman.

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To insert herself into the conversation, Isabella pipes up and says, “I heard that Ricci Heritage Reserve is a real contender this year…”

“And you are?” asks Jonathan.

“Isabella Ricci, the maker of Ricci Heritage Reserve.”

He says he never heard of it.

“Well, it’s a great story about a scrappy Oregonian winery taking on the traditional wine establishment…” then she kinds of peters out on her pitch.

Jonathan shoots her down hard, “Well, my readers like to hear about wineries that actually have a chance of winning.”

Ouch.

 

Oh Isabella…you really suck at this.

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Jacques introduces her to a wine distributer who gives her his card and Isabella loses her sh*t over meeting somebody.

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Jacques tells her it is going to take time to get her wines off the ground and she says, “That’s the problem, I don’t have time!”

 

Side Note: Why not? Is her winery going to close down? Does she have a terminal disease? What’s the god-awful rush for? We will never know.

 

Hilariously, at this point Isabella gets a call from Lacey and says she has to leave the luncheon…even though she has been there for 5 minutes, she’s only met one person, this is the reason she is in Paris, and she hasn’t even had lunch at the luncheon yet.

 

In the next scene Isabella is with Lacey and apparently, she left the all-important luncheon so they could go get coffee together. #priorities.

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Also, as they walk around with their coffee, please notice that Isabella is wearing a trench coat.

 

This is important because back at the fashion house Lacey starts to choose clothes for her and the first thing she has her try on is a trench coat. Why? She already has this!!

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Lacey tells Isabella that Jacques was named France’s most eligible bachelor, however Isabella maintains that she is not interested. Uh huh.

 

Next, we get a shot of Paris at night and then a shot of the hotel. Whew! Thanks…I was lost for a minute!

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Jacques comes into the hotel bar looking for Isabella and carrying a bottle of her wine. Now we get to see him try it with the Eiffel tower in the background and Clair de Lune playing…stupid.

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He tastes it and says “perfect!” Only in Hallmark-land could someone’s first ever attempt at making wine be this good. Judging begins!

 

This is for serious…

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Meanwhile, Isabella waits outside the doors trying to peek into the judging like a eight-year-old child. In case you hadn’t noticed, her intrusive ambition has begun to annoy me.

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Jacques comes over and pulls her away from her obsessive spying to go for a walk around town.

First, they have wine and cheese near the Eiffel tower. Then they walk to Notre Dame, Fontaine de la Concorde, and the Petit Palace. So to recap, these two just walked about eight miles.

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Three important pieces of information come out of this walk: He thinks her wine is fantastic, he is divorced, and what Jonathan the Journalist said was true - he and Maurice each made their own wines for the contest and the winner is going decide the fate of the winery.

 

Back at the hotel, Isabella says she had a wonderful time and then he kisses her on the cheek. As she leaves, he looks after her and bites his lip like a fourteen-year-old girl. I’m kind of having a hard time picturing this guy as France’s most eligible bachelor.

 

“I’m going to write every detail of this down in my diary tonight”

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The next day she finds out that she, Jacques, Maurice and some other rando winemakers are finalists in the pinot noir category. Jacques gets a big hug out of it.

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Later Jacques asks her on another date to visit a perfumery. As they enter …wait is that extra wearing her trench coat???

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Jacques gets to smell her arm at the perfumery, so he is happy. Isabella invites him to the restaurant opening for Lacey’s boyfriend’s restaurant and he says yes.

 

Lacey, the fashionista, helps Isabella dress for the dinner. These are the close toed, shiny, patent leather office shoes Lacey gives her to wear with the cocktail dress below. WTF?

 

At least they’ll make her taller I guess.

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Another OMG moment: Jacques comes to pick her up, tells her she looks beautiful, and then informs her that he cannot go to dinner with her. Huh?

 

It seems that his mother just announced her retirement, and their public relations team wants to do a big campaign around it. Apparently, this marketing meeting is so important that it needs to be done during dinner that very night. Also, although he could have called Isabella instead of waiting until she is fully dressed and ready for nothing, he thought it would be better to let her down in person and at the last second.

 

He wishes her a good evening even though he just ruined it. What an a**hole.

 

Isabella is totally bummed.

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Arbitrary shot of the Arc de Triumph…still in Paris…got it.

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OMG! Jacques left his Mom’s retirement meeting to come and eat with her! So he’s only half an a**hole.

He orders escargot, (snails), for the two of them. If you have never had these before I googled some images for you.

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Here’s what their plate looked like.

I think somebody sneezed all over it…blech

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Jacques dares her to try one, which seems about right since I saw this same food on fear factor. Anyway, they are having a nice time when Isabella gets a phone call from Uncle T about some broken piece of equipment that he cannot manage on his own – so she needs to make some calls from France ASAP and they need to cut the date short.

 

Holy Moly! First Isabella needed to run out of her luncheon when Lacey called, and now both of them have been pulled out of this dinner…these two people need to stop answering their cellphones.

 

The next morning Jacques says is he is impressed at how she gets things done. He says she is “fierce and determined like a little bulldog”.

 

A bulldog? That’s sort of insulting but okay…

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Jacques takes her out for a croissant, and they talk about love.

Everything is going peachy until his phone rings. Don’t answer it Jacques!

Too late…their date is shut down once again.

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Oh no! His entire case of wine broke and he is out of the contest unless he can get another case to the judges within the hour! But Chateau St. Whatever is three hours away! What is he going to do? (yawn)

 

Luckily, Isabella remembers that Lacey’s boyfriend has a case of Jacques wine at his restaurant, so they use that wine to get his entry in on time. Isabella saves the day!

 

Run Jacques! Run!

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His mom and brother are so grateful to Isabella! If you want to marry Jacques…go ahead!

Next scene – the awards ceremony. The results are in!

 

Jacques sees her in this dress and looks like he is going to pass out.

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Mom says, I like Isabella, but the competition ends tonight, and she goes home tomorrow. How do you settle down with a woman you only see a few times a year? Good question Mom!

 

Now for the winners!

Isabella wins silver and Jacques wins gold!

(Maurice gets nothing)

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Then Jacques asks her to stay with him for a few days because life is short, and they kiss.

 

Um, well…it’s not exactly the proclamation of love we usually get at this point in the movie…but okay…sure.

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Then she gets a phone call. Don’t answer it Isabella!

 

Too late…it is Uncle T who tells her he just saw an article where Jacques said some derogatory things about her. According to the article Jacques, “laughed and said he wasn’t worried about some table wine from Oregon taking the prize,” Isabella doesn’t believe it, but in the photo Uncle T is looking at, Jacques is wearing his name tag.

 

Side Note: What she and Uncle T don’t know is that Maurice accidentally wore Jacques name tag on the first day of the contest and the photo and quote came from Maurice and not Jacques.

 

However, Isabella believes the worst and without giving Jacques a chance to explain she goes back and yells at him. She says she hopes he liked her table wine and goodbye!

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I don’t understand. Was I supposed to bring table wine?

Isabella!

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Later, Jacques finds out about the mix up and that Maurice said those things before he knew Isabella.

What’s Jacques going to do?!

Is he crying?

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Back at Oregon, Uncle T, (who has disliked Jacques ever since reading the article), does a complete 360 on his feelings. Since Jacques has called a bunch of times, Uncle T now thinks Isabella should give him a chance.

 

WTF?

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Anton comes to see Isabella and congratulate her. He tells her that Jacques has been telling everyone that her wine is the best he has tasted in 5 years. Even Jonathan the journalist said nice things about her wine.

 

Congrats on silver! Gosh, when I tasted your wine before I had no idea it was that good! Apparently, I’m terrible at my job!

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Back in Paris, Jacques gets a pep talk from his family about Isabella and his Mom says he needs to take a risk for love.

 

Popping back to Oregon again! Uncle T comes in and asks Isabella if she can come help him fix something in one of the winery rooms since, as we all are well aware by now, he cannot function on his own.

 

Surprise! Jacques is there with apology candles! He explains the mix up with his brother, and then he tells her he sold his half of the winery to come work with her to create a new pinot and build a new life together!

 

Although this proposal is light years from his previous offer of “stay a few extra days in Paris,”…I sure hope she says yes…otherwise he is screwed.

 

I look tres sexy by candlelight, no?

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French kissing a frenchman…uh, I think I am going to back off of this a bit.

 

It looks messy.

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That’s better…(kissy sounds).

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Pros:

  • Her red dress, her off-the-shoulder pink evening dress, and Anton. He wasn’t boring like pretty much everyone else was.

  • Watching people drink wine makes me want some – so I got some!

  • I prefer this fairy tale movie version of Paris. When my husband and I recently visited, Notre Dame was burnt, a man tried to scale the Eiffel Tower, so it was closed, and the Louvre workers were on strike.

 

Cons:

  • Isabella’s character comes across as way to pushy. Weedling your way into the lives of more influential people is not a positive trait

  • Sorry, but numerous weird emergency phone calls is a lazy way to move the plot of a story along.

 

The End

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Credits: All photos, unless otherwise indicated, have come from the Hallmark Movie “Paris, Wine and Romance” which can be viewed on the Hallmark Channel

Vectors by <a href="https://www.vecteezy.com">vecteezy.com</a>