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.

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WD Special Screenings Winter Tour

screening-tourThe Wine Diamonds team is pleased to announce a Special Screening Tour for winter 2017.

Wine Diamonds: Uncorking America’s Heartland™

Documentary

Runtime: 76 minutes

Forget everything you thought you knew about wine!  Wine Diamonds: Uncorking America’s Heartland™ explores the difficulties and excitement of creating a new wine region in the Heartland and rewrites winemaking history in the process. The documentary begins by tracing the historical significance of one the early grape breeding pioneers of the Midwest, Elmer Swenson, and then explores the challenges of grape production, wine making and consumer acceptance in the upper Midwest. Five winemaking families share their personal stories of struggle and success as they attempt to create a new wine region. World renowned wine authorities, Doug Frost (Master Sommelier and Master of Wine) and Tim Hanni (Master of Wine) answer the big questions about cold-hardy grapes and wine. The film ends on a high note as key figures in the wine industry imagine the future of this new nontraditional wine region.

January 23 – Wisconsin Grape Grower Association, annual conference, Kalahari Resort in Wisconsin Dells, WI.*

February 6 – Iowa Wine Growers Association annual conference, Gateway Hotel and Conference Center, Ames, IA *

February 11 – NewBo Market, Cedar Rapids, IA* (Sponsored by: Linn Area Community Credit Union).

February 16-18 – Minnesota Grape Growers Association, Cold Climate Conference at Double Tree, Bloomington, MN *

*Special Screenings

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

GoFundMe/Winediamondsfilm

Gofundme
Give now: https://www.gofundme.com/WineDiamondsFilm

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

“2016 Outstanding Industry Partner Award”

 

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.

This past weekend we attended the Iowa Wine Growers Association’s annual conference to talk to industry about our film, show a clip and the trailer and were surprised and honored to be recognized with the 2016 “Outstanding Industry Partner Award!”  Thank you Iowa!

Watch: Wine Diamonds Movie Trailer

UPDATE: 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:  https://www.gofundme.com/WineDiamondsFilm

 

Award
IWGA “2016 Outstanding Industry Partner” Award
Mike White presents Wine Diamonds Producer, Brad Johnson, the 2016 “Outstanding Industry Partner” Award for the Wine Diamonds Team
Brad Johnson, film producer, talks with IWGA members about the film.
Iowa Wine Growers Association members watching Wine Diamonds clip.

 

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!

Rona1
Interviewing Rona Wyant
Rona2
Rona Wyant
Cassie
Cassie Bott
Zach
Interviewing Zach Bott
Bill
Bill Wyant pauses for a photo.

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!

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

####

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

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.”