Chagrin Documentary Film Festival – Official Selection

CONGRATULATIONS to the Wine Diamonds Film team for being chosen as an OFFICIAL SELECTION to the Chagrin Documentary Film Festival. The Chagrin Documentary Film Festival is “named to MovieMaker Magazine’s prestigious list of “Top 50 Film Festivals Worth the Entry Fee”, the Festival takes place at venues in and around the lovely century village of Chagrin Falls, Ohio.”

We are excited and honored to be chosen as an Official Selection to this important documentary film festival and thrilled to share the story of growing Midwestern wine industry with audiences across the country.


Fireside Winery Interviews

We walked into a bustling tasting room around 2pm this past Saturday and were greeted with a smile from owner, Rona Wyant. This wasn’t our first time at Fireside Winery to film. We’d had the pleasure to film here on several occasions, including early morning sunrise filming (time lapse), later during their annual harvest event where hundreds of volunteers comb through the vineyard picking it clean, and now for this visit to finally interview the family.

The family homestead is located about 5 miles from the winery and that’s where we met up with winery owner, William Wyant. His family has been farming this land for the past 5 generations and we asked Bill to talk about his family’s connection to the land, the challenges they’ve experienced and how he and Rona got into the winery business.

Later we returned to the winery where we’d sit outside under a new pergola, first with Rona, and later with Cassie and Zach for one-on-one interviews. Each interview yielded interesting perspectives of a rich family heritage, growing a business, and lessons learned and opportunities explored.

This coming Friday we’re off to film at the Illinois Sparkling Company!

Interviewing Rona Wyant
Rona Wyant
Cassie Bott
Interviewing Zach Bott
Bill Wyant pauses for a photo.

Fundraiser Begins in 2 Days!

Fundraiser2days copyThe Wine Diamonds film team is excited to launch our major fundraising campaign on IndieGoGo (a crowd funding website) on Thursday, April 2nd. We hope you will join us by making a contribution to our independent feature length documentary film about the new frontier of wine, the Midwest!

We’ll be filming in Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, Minnesota, Nebraska and Wisconsin. If funding goes very well (and there is enough interest) we may add to the number of Midwestern states and include Michigan or Indiana or Kansas. If you’re from one of these states and feel strongly that Wine Diamonds should film there we’d love to hear from you. It costs about $10,000 to take the team on a major filming road trip..but we’d love to be able to film all over the heartland.

“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.

Countdown Begins….

IndieGoGo copyWe’re excited, thrilled, elated and just giddy to announce we’re only 9 days away from launching our fundraising campaign!  Okay, not many people would admit to being excited to ask for donations, for your hard-earned cash, but this project means a lot to us and we’re confident if you’re a supporter of local wines (Midwestern wines) you’ll be excited enough to help us make this movie.

Our team decided to use the crowd funding website – Indiegogo, a fundraising platform commonly used for raising money for the arts.  Our launch day is April 2nd!

For the next two months we’ll be asking our friends, family, neighbors to help fund our film.  We’ll be a constant nuisance – always asking for more…and we’ll be thoroughly grateful for your contributions.  Fear not…we’ve created giving levels you all of you…no matter how deep your pockets are.  Seriously, any donation helps and you’ll have our sincere thanks.

Please make a point to join us…to be a part of our filmmaking team…to be able to say, “yeah, I helped make that.”

Making the Pitch Piece

It’s been a long time in the making but our team was able to finally get together and put the finishing touches on our pitch piece, our fundraising appeal video.  The three producers of Wine Diamonds met at Kirkwood Community College last night in the wine cellar of the KCC enology and viticulture program.  While there we quickly filmed a couple of segments and then headed off to the Hotel at Kirkwood where Lucas McIntire (Kirkwood’s program lead and winemaker) was sampling his wines and his brand new sparkling wine.

We filmed until 8:30 and then followed Lucas and some new friends back to the winery for a sample of the Frontenac Gris – absolutely delicious and probably the best white wine I’ve had in the Midwest!

Here are some photos from last night. Visit our Facebook page to view the entire album.

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Having a laugh at the Hotel at Kirkwood between takes!
Shooting an intro to one of our "on-the-road" segments.
Shooting an intro to one of our “on-the-road” segments.
An impromptu wine appreciation class in the lab at Kirkwood.
An impromptu wine appreciation class in the lab at Kirkwood.
Lucas McIntire, Program Lead and Winemaker at Kirkwood Community College.
Lucas McIntire, Program Lead and Winemaker at Kirkwood Community College.

Wine Judge Daryl Groom on Wine Evaluation

This past July we were fortunate enough to be welcomed at the Mid-American Wine Competition (on the campus of Des Moines Area Community College) to film and interview the competition organizers, judges and volunteers. Throughout the day we were given full access to film the judges in action and at one point we asked wine judge Daryl Groom, owner/winemaker of Groom Wines) to describe how he typically judges a flight of wines in competition. His comments are interesting, informative and it is clear he is passionate about the wines of the Midwest. Please take the 7 minutes to watch this short film and share it with your friends.

The Wine Diamonds Team

Baby it’s cold!!

One day it was 60 degrees and I was outside scrapping and painting the west side of my house and the next day it was 20 and, now after nearly two weeks, the ground is covered with snow and the temperature struggles to reach a balmy 15 degrees.  That’s life in the heartland.

Amy Promise LandWhile our vineyards rest we work.  Our winery friends are busy with holiday events and sales and managing the quiet cellar.  The Wine Diamonds team is busy processing footage we’ve shot since summer.  In fact, Kirk sent me (Brad) several new files, each one about an hour long, to view and notate.  My job is to review the footage, identify and code pertinent information throughout the roll I’m viewing, and then identify and transcribe the best of the best quotes (or images) we might want to use later.  It’s a slow process.  For about each hour of film it takes somewhere between 3-4 hours to “scrub” the footage.

One another note, our friends at Midwest Wine Press, an online wine industry news site, recently posted a story about our film and as a result we’ve received several notes of interest from wineries across the region.  Also, our good friend Mike White (Iowa State University Extension) gave us a mention in his weekly newsletter providing us additional exposure.  Thanks to Mark (MWP) and Mike White!

A couple weeks ago my good friend and wine expert, Penny Fitzgerald, connected us with Rob Barnett, owner of VinVillage and Vin Village Radio.  I snagged the following from their website: “VinVillage 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. And best yet, membership is free!”

Rob and I chatted recently about having us on his national radio program.  We discussed our film and I learned about his operation and his involvement with the wine-related film industry.  We’re excited to get on his program but we’ve decided to wait until we’re ready to launch our fundraising program so our national audience can help us! 🙂  Sounds great!

Thanks for following our progress and please remember to share us with your wine friends!