Harvest

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Shot entirely on location in Sonoma County, the documentary Harvest reveals the blood, sweat and tears that go into every bottle of wine. There is no swirling, no sniffing, no sipping or quaffing. This is all about back-breaking manual labor and night picks at 2 a.m. with only tiny headlamps for illumination. Over the course of three months during Harvest 2011, the film follows five family wineries – Robledo, Rafanelli, Foppiano, Harvest Moon and Robert Hunter, along with an amateur home winemaker and an extremely rare all-female picking crew from Mexico – through what many would call “the toughest harvest” in their lifetime, plagued by destructive rainstorms and widespread grape rot. Director John Beck is not interested in massive corporate wineries. Instead he casts his lens on salt-of-the-earth, tight-knight family farmers and field workers who are the backbone of the wine industry. Along the way, we meet Reynaldo Robledo, the first migrant worker to own his own winery. There’s Wayne Rogers, who loses 80 percent of his zinfandel crop to wild pigs. In his early 70s, Rudy Rodriquez has devoted more than half his life to Robert Hunter Winery. The women pickers share their border-crossing stories, showing how much they sacrificed just to get to Sonoma County, much less do a job that most Americans wouldn’t even consider. Engrossing and eye-opening, Harvest offers a rare, intimate glimpse in to the making of the wine you drink, one that has never before been captured on film. (Dir.by John Beck, 2012, 70 mins., Not Rated, 7th Art Releasing) Digital