National Release Planned

Hey Wine Diamonds Friends!  We are thrilled to let you know we’ll be launching our film on March 20, 2018 and are excited take this next big step.  Our goal is to have the film available to the general public through DVD purchases (and merchandise) and via Digital Downloads (sale and rent); and to our winery and retail supporters with a special purchase option for commercial businesses for both bulk wholesale purchases and screening opportunities and special purchases.

Once activated the graphics that appear below (and on the sidebar) will take you to our online stores.  Thanks for your support and we hope you shop with us soon!


Film Festivals!

We began sharing our film with the world earlier this winter, first by screening our film at wine industry conferences, and now at film festivals around the country. There is something humbling about putting yourself (and your art) out there for people to chew on, critique, love or hate, but it’s all good in that we’re learning a ton.

Q&A at the Julien Dubuque International Film Festival (2016) “audience test”

We’re inspired by the wonderful films we’ve seen, the filmmakers we’ve met, and the audiences that support all of us. Right now we’re waiting for responses from a couple dozen film festivals with most of the notifications coming mid-late summer, so we pause, wait, reflect, and maybe tweak the film just one more time 🙂

Vero BeachOur first acceptance came from the Oneota Film Festival (Decorah, IA) as an Official Selection, the second came as a Special Screening Selection for the Julien Dubuque International Film Festival (Dubuque, IA). We thank both festivals for selecting our film and providing us an audience to show our documentary. The most recent Official Selection acceptance came from the Vero Beach Wine & Film Festival and we’re gearing up for their June event in Florida!!  This is going to be a blast!!!

To our friends we say “thank you” for following along with us as we work our way through this process.  It’s been about 3 years since we began this journey and with good fortune we’ll find a home for our film so it’ll reach wine fans all across the country.

Cheers!  Brad


Give now:

Wine Diamonds: Uncorking America’s Heartland™  is a feature length independent documentary film about the struggles and opportunities of creating a new wine region in the upper Midwest.

We began filming in July 2014 and for the past 18 months we’ve driven more than 3,000 miles, filmed in four states (IA, IL, MN & WI), interviewed more than 200 wine industry people, and cataloged more than 100 hours of interview footage.

Right now we are in the final stages of editing the movie and need your help.  This last phase is a time consuming and expensive stage.  We need to raise several thousand dollars to help us pay for the movie soundtrack composition and production, entry into film festival competitions (to help us get picked up by a national distributor), and attendance at film festivals across the country.

We’re at a critical point right now and need your help today.  Your help means so much to our successful completion and if every local wine lover (or fan of independent film) gave $10 we’d be well on our way to achieving our goal of making a beautifully filmed and compelling story.

Your donation will help us tell this important wine story.  Please give now. 

Watch: Wine Diamonds Movie Trailer

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.

Wine(ding) down our filming

Hello Wine Diamond Friends!

Today we’re off to visit with Paul Tabor, one of the Godfathers of the Iowa Wine Industry, to interview him at his winery.  We’re excited to learn more about his story, how he came to have one of the very first wineries in Iowa, and hear more about the early days.

We’ve been filming since the summer of 2014 and we still have a few locations and individuals we want to connect with before we call it a wrap.  Right now we’re working on securing music for the soundtrack of our film and are excited to be working with a band out of Colorado.  We’ll make a more formal announcement in the coming weeks!

There are several things we’ll be working on during the holidays.  Kirk and Brad will begin to stitch the film together, to get a working draft (very, very rough draft) that will serve as a starting point to fine-tuning.  How do we decide what goes in?  Great question.  It’s a very slow process.  Each of the film reels (typically at least 1-2 hours of interviews) must be “scrubbed” – listened to, coded, and the most interesting quotes are cataloged for possible inclusion in the film.  The process is very much like some of the qualitative research I did back in graduate school – you listen, you notice emergent themes, you catalog, you code, you take notes…lots of notes.  Certain themes appear that become very relevant to the story we’re going to tell.  It’s fun, it’s time consuming, it’s mind-numbing at times, but it’s all worth it to tell this important story.

We can’t wait to show you more!

A fun “Breaking News” story that could be. 

Cheers! Brad