A Year in Burgundy

A Year in Burgundy by David Kennard

This is a film of beauty. The photography is extraordinary and the images will resonate with you for years to come. This stunning film is written and directed by David Kennard; the cameraman is Jaimie LeJeune.

First and foremost, A Year in Burgundy, A Film About Wine is a nature film guiding you through four seasons in one of the most important wine areas in the world. This historical region in east-central France is famous for Pinot Noirs, Chardonnay, Chablis, Beaujolais, but most importantly its Burgundy wines.

The year focuses on the 2011 harvest season which endured a challenging year of weather that the filmmaker could not have anticipated. Typically, the prime time for the annual grape harvest for most wineries in Europe is August, September, and October.

Secondly, it is a film about families – seven families with unique stories about family traditions, winegrowing and winemaking – each of whom guide the viewer through the lush landscape of Burgundy examining traditions that date back over 1000 years.

And third, this film explores the French culture, the romance and allure of wine. Burgundy is known for its handcrafted wines; in one village alone over 400 unique Pinot Noir wines are produced.

The vineyards of Burgundy are shared with the viewer stressing the deep connection between the winemaker, the land and the grapes grown by the family in vineyards which may be scattered throughout the region. The collaboration among growers In Burgundy enriches the knowledge of their neighbors.

But the winemaking takes place behind closed doors, each winemaker an artist, learning his craft from those in previous generations. The viewer watches the winemakers’ process ranging from traditional to modern techniques.The Burgundian winemaking traditions were established in the Middle Ages as monasteries were established. The famous Cistercian Abbey was founded in 1098. The caves built by Cistercian monks in which to make and store their wines are still used by wineries who now own the ancient structures. You will have an opportunity to tour these mysterious caves in the film.

Our guide through Burgundy is Martine Saunier, born in France, who is best known as a wine importer based in California, now retired. She starts our trip in Southern Burgundy at Dominique Cornin in the Màconnais and travels to Michel Gay and Domaine Morey-Coffinet in Côte de Beaune, ending in Côte de Nuits, the best region for Pinot Noir. The diversity of the terroir and geology of the soil is explored in this region while visiting Bruno Clavelier, Christophe Perrot-Minot and Domaine Leroy owned by Lalou Bize-Leroy, known as “Queen of Burgundy.” She has a passion for biodynamic farming methods and knows each of her vines intimately.

The year in Burgundy is the 2011 harvest which was a difficult year throughout all four seasons: drought, Spring showers, heat waves, hail storms and harvest moons. It is interesting to see each family deal with the challenges. The students and workers who arrive each year to help with the harvest enjoy wonderful home-cooked lunches, dinners and local wines each day. The end of the harvest is celebrated at each winery with a variety of traditions adding warmth and joy to the film.

The film is available for streaming on Amazon. David Kennard has produced a trilogy of films about wine. A Year in Burgundy is the first and finest, followed by A Year in Champagne, and A Year in Port. All are worth your time.