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!


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

Photo Album Update

Hey All,

Just wanted to let you know that I’ve finally gotten around to posting a photo album of day of filming at the Mid-American Wine Competition.  You can access the photos on our Facebook page by clicking HERE.

Thanks for supporting our movie…and tonight we’re flying a drone over a nearby vineyard at sunset.  Can’t wait!!

Anonymous wines are partitioned behind a screen during judging.
Anonymous wines are partitioned behind a screen during judging.

Next Steps

Doug Frost, MS/MW during interview at Mid-American Wine Competition. Footage being reviewed.
Doug Frost, MS/MW during interview at Mid-American Wine Competition. Footage being reviewed.

Right now we’re reviewing the footage we shot during the Mid-American Wine Competition and afterwards at the two vineyards we visited.  Reviewing the time-stamped video from all of the videos takes a good deal of time, but it is really interesting.  The interviews yielded some outstanding moments that we can’t wait to share in our pitch-piece – the  upcoming short video we’ll be releasing in October that will explain in greater detail what we’re planning to accomplish with this independent documentary film on the Iowa wine industry.  We’re still trying to decide which crowd funding site to base our fundraising efforts from, and whether that’s Kickstarter or Indiegogo or another platform that’s still up in the air.

In the meantime, we’ll be reviewing the footage, meeting to discuss and finalize the budget (yes, this is a work of love, but it’s going to cost a good deal of money to make an exceptional feature length film – don’t worry, we’ll ask for your help later 🙂 ), and begin to nail down locations and dates for shooting the film.

We’ll be heading to Fireside Winery soon to visit with the owners, Bill and Rona Wyant and their daughter Cassie and her husband Zach Bott to interview them for our story.  Bill is a fifth generation Iowa farmer who farms more than 3,000 acres of corn and soybean and in early 2000’s he and Rona decided to start a vineyard and winery, in addition to their regular farming operation.  Working in concert with Cassie and Zach, who at the time were living away from the farm, they returned and began building one of Iowa’s most successful family winery businesses.

iPick iStomp iDrink
iPick iStomp iDrink

This August we’re planning to attend their annual harvest event called: iPick, iStomp, iDrink.  More than 400 volunteers descend into their Brickyard Hill Vineyard to pick more than 12 acres of Iowa grapes.  It’s a lot of fun and makes harvest go super fast.

Iowa Wine Film – New Insights Gained in Interviews

We are already beginning to pour over all of the timestamped video Kirk shot this past Saturday at the Mid-American Wine Competition and it’s incredibly encouraging.  Talking with the judges and organizers it only re-doubles my passion for the Iowa wine industry and what’s happening all across rural Iowa.

Here are a couple take-away messages from two members of the Iowa wine industry. Randall Voss, PhD (Horticulture Chair and MAWC organizer at Des Moines Area Community College) mentioned to us that viticulture (grape growing) is creating a new perennial agricultural crop, something quite rare in a state known for corn and soybean production.  This idea was echoed by Dr. Murli Dharmadhikari, PhD (Director of the Midwest Grape and Wine Industry Institute and ISU Extension Enologist) when he discussed how grape growing is expanding the agricultural diversity and adding to the rural economy of Iowa.  We’re interested in learning more about these important issues and look forward to future conversations with industry leaders.

Below are some additional photographs taken at the Mid-American Wine Competition.  Enjoy!

This cart contains wine samples for a table of three wine judges. Volunteers busily prepare for each round of wines. This is an incredibly important part of the competition.
Bob and tonya
MAWC Director, Bob Foster and Tonya Wheeler (Volunteer and DMACC employee) discuss the order of wines to be delivered to the judges.
Doug Frost2
Chief Judge, Doug Frost (MS/MW) at his judging table taking notes on a wine he just tasted.
Brad (left) and Kirk (right) quickly review some footage pretending that their photo isn’t being taken. 🙂