A Christmas 'Story' From Martin Malivoire


Have you seen “Crush: Message in a Bottle”?  It’s the Niagara wine region documentary by Maya Gallus, that premiered on TVO this fall.  If you haven’t, here’s why you should.

I certainly found it rewarding; finally, a narrative dedicated to the industry and the region I work in and believe in. I was eager to ask others their impressions and everyone I spoke to, even those with a more passive interest in winegrowing, said they’d found it well worth the time. 

If “Crush” has a limitation, it is that it has barely enough time to scratch the surface.  The size, complexity and multitudinous stories of Niagara’s wine region go far beyond what a program like this can address in 78 minutes. Still, as snapshots go, it is a well-crafted one.  This wine region has many more stories, and I hope “Crush” will invite more of them to be told.

Different people will find different things to intrigue them.  Something that resonated with me is the way the documentary celebrates the special Canadian-ness that sets Niagara’s wine region apart from its international rivals.  We see the respect for environmental and social responsibility embodied in its practices.  We see a diverse community of winemakers (a microcosm of Canada in itself), driven to pursue professional excellence and a distinctive lifestyle that lends charm to the subject.

I’m pleased that Maya gave credit to the agility of Niagara winegrowers when it comes to the weather, which can never be counted on to co-operate for our convenience.  I came to this industry already prepared, having worked in the production of “A Christmas Story”, a winter’s tale we had to film in a winter that refused to snow.  Like Niagara winegrowers, we took it in stride and found our own ways to make something great.

So now, though not festooned with BB guns or leg lamps, I’d like to offer my own warm wishes for the Christmas and Holiday Season.  To you and those close to you, good health, good hope and happiness, now and in the new year to come.

Martin Malivoire