A Heavenly Vintage

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A Heavenly Vintage
The vintner's luck poster.jpg
Directed by Niki Caro
Produced by Niki Caro
Ludi Boeken
Pascal Judelewicz
Robin Laing
Laurie Parker
Written by Niki Caro
Joan Scheckel
Based on The Vintner's Luck 
by Elizabeth Knox
Starring Jérémie Renier
Gaspard Ulliel
Keisha Castle-Hughes
Vera Farmiga
Music by Antonio Pinto
Distributed by Ascot Elite Entertainment Group
Release date(s)
  • 12 September 2009 (2009-09-12) (Toronto Festival)
  • 12 November 2009 (2009-11-12) (New Zealand)
Running time 121 minutes
Country France
New Zealand
Language English

A Heavenly Vintage (originally titled The Vintner's Luck) is a 2009 film directed and co-written by New Zealand filmmaker Niki Caro.[1] It is loosely based on the novel The Vintner's Luck by New Zealander Elizabeth Knox and had its international première at the Toronto International Film Festival in September 2009. This is the second time Caro has worked with New Zealand actress Keisha Castle-Hughes, who was nominated for an Academy Award at age 13 for her role in Caro's international breakthrough Whale Rider in 2002.

Elizabeth Knox, the writer of the book, was disappointed at the direction the movie took as she felt Niki Caro "took out what the book was actually about", referring to the romantic relationship between Sobran and Xas which was a core aspect of the novel and was very noticeably toned down in the movie, even though it still hints at it.


The passionate tale of Sobran Jodeau (Jérémie Renier), an ambitious young peasant winemaker and the three loves of his life – his beautiful wife Celeste (Keisha Castle-Hughes), the proudly intellectual baroness Aurora de Valday (Vera Farmiga) and Xas (Gaspard Ulliel), an angel who strikes up an unlikely but enduring friendship that borders on eroticism with him. Under his guidance Sobran is forced to fathom the nature of love and belief and in the process grapples with the sensual, the sacred and the profane – in pursuit of the perfect vintage.

The film was shot in New Zealand, Belgium, and France – including in the medieval castle of Berzé.



The film has received polarized responses since the Toronto Film Festival. Paul Fischer of Dark Horizons said: "A film about humanity and spirituality, Caro directs this film with an exquisite sense of detail. Gorgeous in all facets of visual detail, "The Vintner’s Luck" is also a fascinating romantic melodrama, and at its core, comprises a cast that is spot on."[2] Peter Brunette of The Hollywood Reporter wrote: "It's difficult to believe that the same director who made the simple and affecting Whale Rider in 2002 ...is responsible for The Vintner's Luck, an overblown work of amazing silliness."[3] Justin Chang, writing in Variety, said that "Caro never finds the emotional pulse of the story" but praised the "lyrical widescreen cinematography."[4] Kate Rodger of 3 News said: "For me, The Vintner's Luck was a gorgeous collection of imagery, sound and movement, with moments of intoxicating beauty."[5]


A Heavenly Vintage premiered as an Official Selection at the 2009 Toronto Film Festival. Since its first screening, it has won multiple awards, including:

Year Award Winner/Nominee Category Result
2010 New Zealand Film & TV Awards Vera Farmiga Best Lead Actress in a Feature Film Won
Grant Major Best Production Design in a Feature Film Won
Beatrix Pasztor Best Costume Design in a Feature Film Won
Denis Lenoir Best Cinematography Nominated
George Ritchie Best Visual Effects in a Feature Film Nominated
2011 Houston International Film Festival Niki Caro Gold Remi Best Directing Won
A Heavenly Vintage Special Jury Award – Best Foreign Film Won
Sedona International Film Festival Best Period Film Won


  1. ^ a b c d e Patrick Frater (2007-05-22). "Caro, Castle-Hughes reteam on 'Luck'". Variety. Retrieved 2008-05-22. 
  2. ^ Fischer, Paul (14 September 2009). "Toronto Review: "The Vintner's Luck"". Dark Horizons. Retrieved 2 May 2011. 
  3. ^ Brunette, Peter (14 September 2009). "The Vintner's Luck -- Film Review". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 21 September 2009. [dead link]
  4. ^ Chang, Justin (13 September 2009). "The Vintner's Luck". Variety. Retrieved 21 September 2009. 
  5. ^ Rodger, Kate (7 November 2009). "The Vintner's Luck Review". 3 News. Retrieved 2 May 2011. 

External links[edit]