Wednesday, November 24, 2010
SFMOMA 3: Wine and Design
On the fourth floor of SFMOMA, next to the "Exposed" photography show, a new exhibit has opened called "“How Wine Became Modern: Design + Wine 1976 to Now.”
There are soil samples, wine labels arranged by theme, smelling stations, architectural models and photographs of modernist wineries, videos and so on.
Henry Urbach, curator of architecture and design, talked and talked about what it all meant in a wider cultural context, but I felt rather like Axel at "Not For Fun Only" who thought the exhibit seemed like a particularly luxe Visitors' Center at a winery, except there was no Tasting Room at the end of it.
The 1976 starting date commemorates "The Judgment of Paris," the famous blind tasting in Paris between French and California wines where the California-bottled Chateau Montelena Chardonnay 1973 and Stag’s Leap Cabernet 1973 beat their French counterparts.
There's a good 2008 movie with Allan Rickman about the event called "Bottle Shock," which strangely enough isn't mentioned in the exhibit, possibly because of copyright problems. Instead, the museum has photoshopped together a mural of photos of the original participants in the style of "The Last Supper." In front of the mural above is Harvey Steiman, the longtime "Wine Spectator" writer and editor, who blends in quite nicely. He also has an interesting write-up of the show at his "Wine Spectator" blog.