Wine Diamonds Trailer

We are proud to release the second official movie trailer for Wine Diamonds: Uncorking America’s Heartland. Please watch, enjoy & Share!

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FIRST SCREENING A HIT!

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:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3dwdyiqpvFA

Thanks,
Brad

Official Selection to JDIFF!

JDIFF Official Selection_edited-1The Wine Diamonds team is excited and proud to announce our documentary film “Wine Diamonds: Uncorking America’s Heartland” has been chosen as an Official Selection at the Julien Dubuque International Film Festival and we’ll be showing a “special screening” on Saturday, April 23 (1:30-4pm) at the Dubuque Museum of Art (Dubuque, IA).

Wine Diamonds is a feature-length documentary film about the struggles and opportunities of building a new wine region.

The Julien Dubuque International Film Festival is one of the most important independent film festivals in the Midwest and we are thrilled to be a small part of this big event! Not only is this film festival in our home state and smack-dab right in the middle of where we filmed (Iowa, Illinois, Minnesota and Wisconsin), but this event brings in film distributors and buyers and if we can dream big – this is where it begins!

Showing Location: Dubuque Museum of Art – http://dbqart.com/
Time: Saturday, April 23 (1:30-4pm)
Activities: Pre/post wine tasting, Live Music with “Live Broadcast” and Panel Discussion
Tickets: Julien Dubuque International Film Festival – http://bit.ly/1q2wdrS

Appearing in this film:

• Doug Frost, Master Sommelier and Master of Wines, Kansas City, MO
• Michael Jones, Fermentation Expert, Petaluma, CA
• Lucas McIntire, Instructor and Winemaker at Kirkwood Community College, Cedar Rapids, IA
• Steve Larson, Winemaker, Train Wreck Winery, Algona, IA
• Tim Hanni, Master of Wine, Napa, CA
• Dr. Murli Dharmadhikari, PhD, Iowa State University, Director of the Midwest Grape and Wine Industry Institute, Ames, IA
• Drew Horton, Iowa State University, Enology Field Specialist, Ames, IA
• John Marshall, Winemaker, Lake Pepin Winery, Lake City, MN
• Ray Winter, Owner, Indian Island Winery, Janesville, MN
• Robin Partch, Winemaker, Northern Vineyards Winery, Stillwater, MN
• Michael White, Iowa State University, Viticulture Field Specialist, Indianola, IA
• Bob Foster, Director, Mid-American Wine Competition, San Diego, CA
• Mike Drash, Winemaker, Chankaska Creek Ranch & Winery, Kasota, MN
• Kent Schwickert, Owner, Chankaska Creek Ranch & Winery, Kasota, MN
• William Wyant, Co-Owner, Fireside Winery, Marengo, IA
• Rona Wyant, Co-Owner, Fireside Winery, Marengo, IA
• Lynita Delaney, Partner and Winemaker, Elmaro Vineyard, Trempealeau, WI
• Mark Delaney, Partner and Viticulturalist, Elmaro Vineyard, Trempealeau, WI
• Mark Wenzel, Co-Owner and Winemaker, Illinois Sparkling Co., North Utica, IL
• Nan Bailly, Owner and Winemaker, Alexis Bailly Vineyard, Hastings, MN
• Cassie Bott, Marketing and Events Manager, Fireside Winery, Marengo, IA
• Zach Bott, Winemaker, Fireside Winery, Marengo, IA
• John Burns, Owner and Winemaker, Barrel Head Winery, Dubuque, IA
• Mike Vincent, Owner and Winemaker, Wooden Wheel Vineyards, Keota, IA
• Tracy Drash, Kasota, MN
• Anne Zwink, Winemaker, Solider Creek Winery, Fort Dodge, IA
• Bob Wersen, Owner, Tassel Ridge Winery, Leighton, IA
• Laura Delaney Roessler, Partner and Winemaker, Elmaro Vineyard, Trempealeau, WI
• Todd Roessler, Partner and Marketing Manager, Elmaro Vineyard, Trempealeau, WI
• Dr. Paul Tabor, Owner and Winemaker, Tabor Home Vineyards and Winery, Baldwin, IA
• Mary Hofmann, Co-Owner and Winemaker, White Oak Vineyards, Carlock, IL
• Bill Secor Jr., Owner, Soldier Creek Winery, Fort Dodge, IA
• Ellen Landis, Wine Director and Sommelier Landis Shores Oceanfront Inn, Half Moon Bay, CA
• Lauren Chalupski-Cannon, Midwest Wine Expert, The Secret Cellar, Shueyville, IA
• Josie Boyle, Assistant Winemaker, Chankaska Creek Ranch & Winery, Kasota, MN
• Christine Lawlor, Winemaker, Galena Cellars Vineyard & Winery, Galena, WI

On behalf of the entire Wine Diamonds team we wish to thank Susan Gorrell, Executive Director of the Julien Dubuque International Film Festival for her encouragement and support; John Donovan, former board member of the JDIFF whose help making the event happen is greatly appreciated.

We hope to see many Midwestern winery owners and supporters, independent film fans, and our friends and family at our first public showing on Saturday, April 23!

Cheers,
Brad Johnson

Editing Suite…Sweet!

Hello Wine Diamonds Friends!

It’s hard to believe that after 18 months of filming all across the region we are finally at Editing Suitethe point in time where we have filmed, compiled, organized, transcribed and are now editing our documentary film.  One of the challenges we’ve faced is creative a cohesive narrative from the more than 100 hours of footage we’ve collected.  Our goal was to have a broad idea of what the story line would become but ultimately we tried to let the interviews guide our story.

And now that we are in the editing suite the story is really beginning to tell itself.  Kirk and I (Brad) have spent a few weeks, working intermittently, but as of today we have 70 minutes of content on our story line and with a little extra work we’ll be tightening it up, adding b-roll (the scenes you’ll see when an interview subject is talking) and bringing the full team together to edit.  Soon we’ll have the music The Sweet Lillies have created for the film and then we’ll meet with our soundtrack composer to bring it all together.

Our tentative goal is to have a “special screening” at the Julien Dubuque International Film Festival (pending final approval) on Saturday, April 23.  We’ll keep you posted.

This next weekend (Feb. 13th) Brad will at the Minnesota Grape Growers Conference (Cold Climate Conference) to show a sneak peek of the film to the wine industry.  The piece we’re going to show is all about Elmer Swenson, the grandfather of cold climate grapes.

 

 

Meet The Sweet Lillies

Sweet_LilliesWe’re neck deep in editing our documentary film right now and still have a few more interviews we want to complete and today we’re in the field filming wintertime scenes at Fireside Winery’s Brickyard Hill Vineyard.  We’ve spent about 12 hours in the editing suite already (with many more to come) and we’re thinking about the soundtrack and songs for our documentary.

Developing the sound and feel for our film is an iterative and creative process involving many artistic people and over the coming months we’ll introduce you to them.  Today, we’d like to welcome The Sweet Lillies to our project!

My good friend, Jennifer Farnum, lives in Colorado and turned me on to a new and exciting band that’s touring and I recently reached out to the band and spoke with Julie Gussaroff (band member, upright bass player and singer/songwriter) and pitched our idea of working with The Sweet Lillies.  They were incredibly warm and receptive and within a couple weeks Julie sent me an early rendition of a song for our documentary film (see YouTube video below; Video courtesy of Che Harness).

The music and soundtrack of our Wine Diamonds movie will give soul to our film and the unfolding process of working with talented artists is inspiring and heartwarming.  We encourage you to check out The Sweet Lillies, like their Facebook page, and support local music!

 

About The Sweet Lillies:  Skyrocketing to the top of the jamgrass scene, The Sweet Lillies’ high-energy, melodic tunes have quickly captured the hearts and music souls of fans in Colorado and beyond. The band, formed a mere one year ago, credits its appeal to the original and compelling songwriting of all four of its members along with the siren-like lead vocals of Alexandra Schwan. The magnetic combination of Alexandra on the guitar, Julie Gussaroff on the upright bass, Becca Bisque on the viola, and Danjo Lynn on the banjo–together with powerful three-part female harmony–give this band a rare and alluring sound. As testament to their appeal, The Sweet Lillies have already shared the stage with the likes of Peter Rowan, Vince Herman, Kyle Hollingsworth, Andy Hall, Bill McKay, Jake Wolf, Dave Abear, Leftover Salmon, Yarn, and Drunken Hearts. Based out of Colorado’s Front Range, The Sweet Lillies are continually expanding their audience and reach, building fan and critic support through an unwavering commitment to creativity, a contagious love of music, and a get-up-and-dance attitude that spreads lots of love and smiles.

Intermission

Hello Wine Friends!  It’s been one of those summers where one minute we’re going 90 mph and the next we’re on vacation and selling a house.  So, you get the picture.  We’ve been processing the film we’ve shot and organizing our last couple locations before we call it a wrap.  Here are a few photos we’ve taken from this past summer.  Thanks for following our progress and we’ll keep ya updated.  Cheers, Brad.

Elmaro8
The team revisited Elmaro Vineyard earlier this summer for more interviews and b-roll footage.
We returned to Chankaska Creek Ranch and Winery for a full day of interviews.
We returned to Chankaska Creek Ranch and Winery for a full day of interviews. (Mike Drash pictured in front of their new still). 
We met Illinois Sparkling Co owner Mark Wenzel in Galena and later visited him and his crew at his winery.
We met Illinois Sparkling Co owner Mark Wenzel in Galena and later visited him and his crew at his winery.

 

 

 

Phase 1 of Fundraising Complete

LaurenWineDiamonds copyHey Wine Diamonds Friends!

We’ve successfully completed phase 1 of our fundraising campaign and successfully raised nearly $4,000.  We want to express our sincere gratitude to those who have given to our project — thank you so much!   As you know making a feature length film is very expensive and our fundraising efforts aren’t over yet.  We’re launching phase 2 of our fundraiser to help us finish our summer filming schedule; phase 3 will complete the process with a post-production push and hopefully we’ll have enough funds left to travel our film around the country to various film festivals.

While our Indiegogo campaign is over you can send donations to us at:

JMZ Productions
612 E. 4th St.
Vinton, IA 52349

Corporate sponsorships are available. Contact Brad Johnson for more information: 319.329.1509.

Thank you!
The Wine Diamonds Team

Vin Village Radio

Last week Wine Diamonds producer, Brad Johnson, was on the weekly Vin Village Radio program.  This national Internet radio program has a tremendous following and we were honored to be on Rob Barnett’s show.

Click here to LISTEN NOW!

Vine Village RadioSan Diego, CA based Vin Village is an exclusive lifestyle organization for wine and food lovers. VinVillage lets its members create locally based social wine groups to connect them with other “like-minded” wine lovers in their home towns and around the country, bringing the membership together with a fun and exciting local and online “wine life-style” experience offering unique and exclusive wines, events, products and services.

NEWS RELEASE: Wine Movie Fundraiser Begins!

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 2, 2015

NEW FRONTIER OF WINE
Documentary Film Production Launches Crowd Funding Campaign

(Vinton, IA). Many people don’t realize the Midwest is emerging as one of the hottest new frontiers of wine. A new feature length documentary film will explore the challenges, opportunities and struggles of building a new wine region in the heartland and producers are excited to launch a major fundraising campaign today, lasting through April and May.

Watch Appeal Video: Wine Diamonds Film

They call the kinds of wine grapes that grow in this part of the American Heartland, cold-hardy grapes, grapes bred to withstand extreme temperatures that would kill traditional grapes common in California or France. These grapes, the farmers and wine makers of the Midwest are pushing the envelope of viticulture and enology, growing grape varieties that not only survive but thrive at temperatures as low as 40 below zero. This feature length documentary film is about the birth of a new wine region, the grapes, and the pioneering families dedicated to growing and making wines in America’s Heartland.

“The story of this burgeoning wine region is unfolding throughout the Midwest,” said Brad Johnson, Producer and wine industry insider. “The scope of the film quickly grew to encompass the upper Midwest region because of how interrelated the wine industry is, with grapes being developed in Minnesota and Wisconsin, knowledge of wine growing and production being openly shared, a continued trend in quality wines, and increased customer interest in the these new wines. There is an important story to share and we’re thrilled to be able to tell it,” said Johnson.

Wine Diamonds: Uncorking America’s Heartland is a feature-length documentary film about the challenges, opportunities and struggles of developing a new wine region, showcasing the economic and agricultural diversity brought about by the wine industry, and how families are returning to and reuniting to grow wine grapes and build a new wine region in the Midwest.

“This fundraising effort is an appeal to all of us who value locally grown and made wines and recognize that something special is happening in the Midwest,” said Jeff Zahrt, Wine Diamonds Producer and award winning documentary filmmaker.

Filming began in July 2014 and will continue through the fall of 2015. Release is planned for spring 2016.

“We’re passionate about what’s happening in new frontier of wine and creating a compelling story, beautifully filmed, with interesting and informative characters allows us to make a movie that not only is appealing to a regional audience, but a national one,” said Kirk Monson, Producer and Director of Photography and award winning documentary filmmaker.

This documentary film is an opportunity for wine fans, winery and vineyard owners, industry supporters, and wine enthusiasts from around the country to demonstrate their support for this exciting time in the wine history and to be a part of this movie.

Donations to the production of Wine Diamonds: Uncorking America’s Heartland may be made on the crowd funding site, Indiegogo. Check out the movie trailer, view the donation perks, and make your contribution today: http://igg.me/at/WineDiamondsFilm

Corporate sponsorships are available; please contact Brad Johnson, Producer at brad.pr.johnson@gmail.com

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Contact:
Brad Johnson, Producer
JMZ Productions
612 E. 4th St. Vinton, IA 52349
319-329-1509
Brad.pr.johnson@gmail.com
http://www.winediamondsfilm.com

“On-the-Road” at Tassel Ridge Winery (VIDEO)

Here is my disclaimer for this segment: Okay…this isn’t my (Brad’s) best work so a little background about our shoot at Tassel Ridge Winery. For this day of filming we’d woke up at 2am, drove about 2 hours, shot footage for 8 hours and decided to try this (our first “on the road” shoot). So please try to overlook my bad take.