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Winemaker Hosts Filmmaker, Subjects of "Somm"

The documentary "Somm" traces several aspiring sommeliers as they struggle to pass one of the most rigorous examinations in any industry. The film's subjects and director were guests of honor at Ehlers Estate Saturday.

"This week has been torture by the best things in the world," said a weary-looking but exhilarated Jason Wise when he arrived at a brunch in his honor Saturday.

The director of the documentary Somm, Wise was kept busy as his movie showed several times during the Napa Valley Film Festival, which wrapped up Sunday night.

Somm follows the progress and struggles of four candidates for Master Sommelier, a certification that requires passing one of the most grueling examinations in the world.

It earned wild applause and standing ovations at its NVFF screenings, according to the Huffington Post.

Saturday, Wise joined the young sommeliers featured in his film for a brunch at Ehlers Estate in St. Helena, catered by Tra Vigne restaurant.

The meal brought Wise and the four "somms" together with local and national media representatives, including reporters from Zagat.com, the Examiner and OK! Magazine

Ehlers winemaker Kevin Morrissey and sales manager Maria Newman poured rosé, cabernet sauvignon and merlot from the estate's organic, biodynamic vineyards for about 40 guests in the winery's tank room, warmed on the brisk autumn day by propane heaters.

Morrissey also treated the group to a sample of the 2012 Ehlers cabernet, which "was grapes six weeks ago," he said with a smile.

Drawn straight from the tank, it was a rare taste of how a vintage wine sets out on its journey to greatness: Through its soft tannins smiled the promise of fine drinking in years to come, when the film's four young sommeliers who tasted it Saturday may be pouring it from high-priced bottles in their offscreen careers.

Did you see Somm? What did you think? Tell us in the comments.

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