We’ve had a few weeks to absorb our first public screening at the Julien Dubuque International Film Festival and we’re still ramped up from our experience.  Our team arrived early to help facilitate the set-up process with wineries, the band, and make sure our film was loaded. By about 12:30 we were getting an inkling that our film was going to be well received, by 1pm people were mingling outside and not long afterwards we got word that our film was “SOLD OUT!”  Excitement and nervousness were the words of the day, but when we opened the doors at 1:30 and the Dubuque Museum of Art quickly filled up.

JDIFF 57During the pre-screening wine tasting event (with 10 wineries from across the region) and live music provided by Live Broadcast (a Cedar Rapids band) our guests were treated to some amazing wine and incredible music.

In my wildest hopes we would have a sold out show and that our team would have to give our seats away to stand. My wish came true!  The theater seated 140 people and we ended up with 153!  How about that for a first public showing!

After the screening our winery friends and a few of the Wine Diamonds team held a panel discussion that lasted for nearly an hour.

Overall, we couldn’t have asked for a better screening event and we want to thank John Donovan, the JDIFF team, our winery friends, Live Broadcast, and the entire Wine Diamonds team.  We’re now taking a few breaths and are making some final edits before we launch into the next phase of submitting our documentary to film festivals.  Wish us luck and follow us on Facebook!

P.S.  Here is a time lapse video of the pre-screening event:



The Crazy Life of Wine Film Makers!

Hi Wine Diamonds Friends!

Just wanted to catch you up on what’s been happening in our world.  This past weekend we revisited our friends at Elmaro Vineyard (Trempealeau, WI) to finish up with some interviews and shooting additional footage.  We happened to visit them during their 8th anniversary and the place with packed with local wine lovers (several of which we interviewed).  This was our longest day in the field: 16.5 hours on the road!  Mental note: next time get a hotel! 🙂

Just last week we released a promotional video for our friends at the Mid-American Wine Competition.  This pro-bono work underlines our commitment to the great wines being crafted in the heartland.  Give it a watch:

This coming Saturday we’re traveling to Galena, Illinois to film at the Corkless Galena event with 10 wineries and scores of wine fans on hand.  We’ll have a full complement on hand to film this event!  Afterwards, we’ve been invited to give a presentation to the Galena Center for the Arts.  We’ll talk about the challenges and rewards associated with filming a feature length documentary.  That starts at 7pm.  It’ll be a long, but fun day!

Have you seen our Official Movie Trailer!??!  We’re super proud of it and excited to  share it with you.  Have you considered giving a gift of support to the film?  Every donation helps us travel across the Midwest to tell our story.  Check out our “Contributions” page for more information.  If you’d like to donate, send to: JMZ Productions, 612 E. 4th St. Vinton, IA 52349

Check out the trailer and thanks for following our progress!

Filming Day 1: Mid-American Wine Competition

Yesterday we traveled from eastern Iowa to observe, interview and film the Mid-American Wine Competition one of the most prestigious wine competitions in the country.  With internationally acclaimed wine makers, talented wine directors, established sommeliers, skilled enthusiasts, wine scientists, program directors and a top-tier wine expert.  This competition is close to my heart because when I was an enology student at Des Moines Area Community College several years ago I had the opportunity to sit with these highly skilled and knowledgeable wine professionals.

On Saturday, July 12th our team was welcomed in to the mix by Bob Foster (MAWC director), Doug Frost, MS/MW (chief judge), Jim Stick (Dean), and Randall Voss (Program Director and MAWC organizer).  We began filming by 8am and shot until nearly 4pm.  In between wine flights, during lunch and after the end of judging for the day we were able to obtain interviews with many of the judges, organizers and volunteers.

There is an obvious passion for the wines coming out of Iowa and the Midwest and we look forward to sharing excerpts with you later, but in the meantime and over the course of the next couple of weeks we’ll share some photographs of the day of shooting.  After we left the competition at 4pm we visited a brand new vineyard (In Vino Veritas Vineyard) and on the way home stopped at JEV winery and shot some additional vineyard footage.  All in all it was a 15 hour day and we shot a ton of footage!

Thank you to the MAWC team, organizers, people behind the scenes who didn’t want to be filmed (that’s you, Michele :)), and the dedicated volunteers whose work is definitely appreciated and makes this competition flow very smoothly.  Cheers!

Volunteers and Judges
Judges are separated by panel as volunteers pour specific wines for a particular flight of wines. Judges never see the bottles, labels or have any idea of the winery represented. Blind tasting.
Each judge receives several wines to sample during a given round.
Each judge receives several wines to sample during a given round.
Kirk capturing the interactions between judges.
Kirk capturing the interactions between judges.