The Dirt On The Dirt On Wine

As you know, I love wine. You may not know that I also love television and web-vision. I think my favorite shows are any and all of Anthony Bourdain’s work because they take you to a place and give a no-holds-barred look at the people and the stories therein. It occurred to me long ago, that there were no shows like that about wine. There was the odd show that might talk about wine, or go to wineries, but they always seemed so snobbish and bland.

I decided that I wanted to make a show (just like Mickey Rooney in Babes in Arms!) that would be funny and interesting to wine geeks and non wine lovers at once. I wasn’t sure exactly how to go about it, but the idea was there. I started talking about it with my wonderful wine reps. Who did they know that would make an interesting show? Who would have me? Grant Stanley was excited about it. He wanted me to come to Quail’s Gate at harvest time which was great, but I didn’t have a crew or anything yet.

Finally, in talking with the first salesman I ever worked with back in the early Pacific Wine days, I was offered two nights at the cottage at Road 13 in August. Which was great… but I still didn’t have a clue how I was going to make it happen.

One night, leaving the restaurant after closing, I noticed that one of the guys who’d been helping out in the back of house had a tri-pod. I’m always interested in other artists, so I asked if he was a photographer. “Videographer” he said, and he told me about his company. That was a good coincidence, so I asked him if he wanted to shoot a pilot in the Okanagan in August. He was going to be in the Okanagan in August, so we planned to stay in touch.

We did stay in touch and when August came, I found myself on a plane headed for Kelowna where we were meeting up. I was seized in a moment of fear. What if this guy was a bore? …or …or annoying? I only knew him from the work I’d seen on his website and I have a theory that if you want to get to know someone, travel with them.

Fears aside, we spent two full days shooting and writing and writing and shooting and I discovered that Mr. Mike Robertson was neither boring, nor annoying and was a great problem solver and in general, a great director. …And i discovered that I really like the whole process of making a show.

The pilot turned out extremely well and as we talked to people about it, we started to refine our idea. We decided that if we were to make a full-on series, things would have to be a little different. After all, there are only so many ways to make wine and the process is not really the most interesting thing about it.

The interesting things are the stories about the people that make wine. Trust me, I’ve heard some doozies and there are hundreds of bizarre stories in the wine world. More than enough to make several seasons of great viewing.

This year, we went to the Banff World Media Festival and made some great contacts and learned a ton of stuff. Well, I learned a ton of stuff and that’s the greatest thing about this whole project. There’s so much to see and to learn in the media industry and in the wine industry that I’ve been a part of since birth. It’s like I’m re-born. I finally have a vehicle to talk to people about wine that’s fun and will erase, once and for all, the snooty off-putting image of wine and wine-drinkers.

The latest  chapter in The Dirt’s history is telus’ Storyhive. We’ve entered a fund-raising competition to make a pilot for a web-series. Fifteen projects in the Edmonton/Calgary region will win $10,000 to produce a pilot and those fifteen pilots will go on to compete for a $50,000 prize to make a full web-series including mentor-ship. It’s terribly exciting and you can help!

Just go to to vote. You can vote up to five times and get bonus votes for sharing on twitter and facebook. So if you love wine and want to see a super fun show about it get made, go vote. You too can be a part of THE DIRT ON WINE!

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