“Rising above all the other similar films on wine, Harvest Season shines by focusing on all the people involved in making the wine and not just the people at the top.”
Told expertly and with some startlingly gorgeous photography, director Bernardo Ruiz gives a first hand account of small wine producers and the struggles they face both economically and politically in 2018 America... a film that’s as beautiful as it is intimate and emotionally moving.
Ruiz’s film making transforms the Napa and Sonoma Valleys into a stage for much larger stories about migration, politics and the American Dream.
A full-bodied film with a refreshing balance of amity and anxiety and only the faintest notes of political rancor, “Harvest Season” injects some sanity—and civility—into our vinegary immigration debate. You might say it takes the glass-half-full approach.
The movie follows three people whose lives are rooted in wine-making and takes place in the lush and luxe Napa and Sonoma Valleys of Northern California, known for their top-tier wine-making.
Brambila’s story and others are the focus of “Harvest Season,” a new PBS documentary examining the contributions of Mexican Americans in the wine industry of California’s Napa Valley.
Awash with the piercing sunlight of California wine country — full of lush greens and vibrant landscapes — Harvest Season breezily walks us through the world of winemaking.
Director Bernardo Ruiz said he wanted his project to show that people of Mexican descent have been a part of U.S. history since its founding and winemaker is just one industry where this is evident.
“Harvest Season”, sigue el curso del riesgoso pero muchas veces gratificante trabajo en los viñedos, desde la vida de pobreza y de ansiedad de los trabajadores agrícolas, hasta la ostentosa riqueza de Wine Country, hasta la histórica devastación de los incendios forestales en los condados de Sonoma y Napa.
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The beauty of the film is that in doing so, Ruiz strikes a very positive approach to progress being made, without glossing over the sins of the past and present.
The film sets out to paint a nuanced portrait of Napa’s Latino winemakers, as well as the often low-wage, largely Latino workforce of grafters, pruners, pickers and cellar workers.
One beautifully cut scene juxtaposes wine served for tourists in theatrical environments with wine being distributed in the eucharistic celebration during a Catholic Mass. Not only are the compositional elements aesthetically parallel, but Ruiz observes performative and ritualistic patterns in how wine is consumed, gastronomically and liturgically.
Crisp, colorful and gorgeous, “Harvest Season” is indeed profoundly political, but mostly because of the politics our era imposes on it.
Part wine story and part immigrant/migrant story, it is a loving portrait of the ups and downs of life in the vineyard and those who put their backs as well as their heart and soul into it.
With immigration raids across the state and increasingly strict enforcement at the border, Napa’s growers and labor contractors are facing a severe labor shortage.
“Harvest Season” retrata las vidas de empresarios y bodegueros de origen mexicano como Gustavo Brambila y Vanessa Robledo, cuyas familias se han dedicado a los viñedos californianos durante generaciones.