Joe Fattorini on The Wine Show

Wine show TV stills

Wine is about more than just what’s in the bottle and The Wine Show – a new 13-part TV series starring Matthew Rhys, Matthew Goode, Amelia Singer and our very own Joe Fattorini – is all about discovering and exploring the amazing world of wine. We caught up with Joe to find out more, from his most memorable experiences to the funniest moments.

You’ve travelled all around the world while filming The Wine Show. What was your absolute favourite place?

“That's hard – we visited 13 countries on every continent but Antartica and flew a million kilometres. But Chile is devastatingly beautiful. It's because of the way the towering Andes plunge down to the Pacific coast. We stayed in the smartest and humblest hotels of the series there. That leaves some indelible memories – good and bad. I'd spent years telling customers the story of The Garage Wine Co. All about Derek Mossman-Knapp, Don Nivaldo and the 2010 earthquake. Being in Maule, meeting Nivaldo and his wife Otelia, and seeing the old US Aid emergency shelters was special. That was my favourite film because Derek's a friend and it was personal.

“It's a classic story of triumph over adversity. Often the stories had great hope at the heart of them. Graham Beck was like that. We spent time with Mossie Basson in the nature reserve that surrounds Graham Beck. On one side of the fence in the estate is a world-class wine producer. On the other, Mossie is preserving species in this delicate habitat. There was something very special about spending time with someone so closely in tune with nature.”

In the series up until now, what was your most memorable experience?

“There were some great highlights. Drinking a 1791 Vin de Constance in South Africa. Can you imagine, a wine from the year Mozart died? We had a 1943 Lafite Rothschild too and a Kremlin-era Negru de Purkar from Moldova. But the highlight for a wine nut like me was spending time working with the winemakers at Chateau Margaux. We were given almost unheard of access, all thanks to contacts at Bibendum. Even if I only buy a single bottle I’m determined to buy a 2015 Chateau Margaux when it’s released. It’s the vintage I ‘made’.”

You set out to spread the word of wine and tell the stories of those behind the bottles. What was the most surprising outcome from releasing the show?

“We've perhaps discovered where the wine business has its priorities wrong. I get regular messages online from a nurse in Northern Ireland. The Wine Show is her treat when she finishes a series of night shifts. And she's trying new wines and buying them from wine shops she'd never been in before.

“But we're not 'recommending' them. I'm not some critic selflessly tasting 200 Carmeneres and declaring which I think is best. I'm just telling a funny story about someone playing music to their barrels. If you're a wine nut or a professional it's true that 'it's what's in the bottle that matters'. But for a lot of people the story a bottle tells matters just as much.”


You can plan all you want, but sometimes things just don’t go your way. Was there any time during filming that things went horribly wrong?

“Yes. The most obvious one for anyone watching so far was the angry communist rally in Moldova. We'd been told these statues of Lenin, Marx and Stalin were in an abandoned car park. And when we first visited they were. But when we came back there was a big pro-communist, children's parade. I started to talk to the camera and a bear of a man came over to shut us up. We've had to edit it because he'd clearly learned a lot of 'fruity' English. For a brief moment it was quite hairy. Although the camera guys had done work in war zones and they were as cool as cucumbers.

“Behind the scenes there are unexpected dramas. On a dawn shoot in Chile the cameraman and director were trapped in their van when a pack of dogs attacked it. They bit apart the tyres. There was a ridiculous scene where the cameraman was changing the tyre, while the director 'defended' them with a lighting stand and some squirty suncreen.”

You must have an amazing ‘blooper reel’ – what was the funniest thing that happened behind the scenes?

“Matthew Rhys and Matthew Goode may be great dramatic actors but they're a loss to the world of comedy. I can honestly say I've never laughed as much in my life as I did with them. We put a lot of the bloopers on screen when the titles run at the end of an episode. It's usually because Matthew and Matthew kept forgetting their lines. You'd think as actors they'd remember. The best moment was when Goode spilled wine all down his shirt after vigorous swirling. ‘It's alright darling, I'll just change it here if someone brings me a clean one’. As he stripped off all the women on the crew found an excuse to be on the set.”


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27th May 2016

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