Shiraz or Syrah? New Film Exposes the Truth

Do you know the differences, and the secret stories behind these grapes?

Would you like to know why you love one style and not another?

Our guest this evening is making a movie that will turn the wine world on its head, and change the way we think about Shiraz and Syrah.

Director and producer Rudolf McClain joins me live from his home in Sonoma County, California.

Click on the arrow above to watch the video.

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If you’d like to read the comments for this tasting, or make a comment yourself, visit:

Here’s a sampling of our lively discussion from our tasting…

Jenn Havers15:38 Can’t wait to watch this. Love reading about wine and watching documentaries. Just watched Sour Grapes and am now reading In Vino Duplicitas

 Beverly Asleson
Beverly Asleson21:01 I’m drinking a Pinot Noir and I swear it tastes like Merlot. I wonder if they put the wrong label on it. Is that possible.
Lori Kilmartin

Lori Kilmartin50:57 Love Cotes du Rhone wines!!! 19th crime has a marketing thing now where if you find a cork you can win something

 Lise Charest Gagne
Lise Charest Gagne25:33 has he had any canadian wine! never tried ice wine wow – missing out dude on our still wine too cheers
Alan Cameron

Alan Cameron10:19 Wonderful chemistry between you both tonight, and background of rain and wind storm at one end and firestorm at the other end. Another GREAT show. Keep up the wonderful work. You are the Sheilagh Rogers of wine stuff !

Lynn van der Linde

Lynn van der Linde3:59 Thinking of you all in Sonoma and Napa – strength going out to you!
Carol Meredith
Stephen Andrews

Stephen Andrews3:09 Hello Rudy, saw you with Gary Vanderchuk

Beverly Asleson

Beverly Asleson3:38 Sorry about the smoke, praying its better for you Rudolf.

Lori Kilmartin

Lori Kilmartin54:58 They’re great Lise! Much different from US wines!!

Lori Kilmartin

Lori Kilmartin45:31 Rudolph should do another interview with Greg on this movie when he is done!
Lori Kilmartin

Lori Kilmartin44:25 What movie did Rudolph make after Merlove

Lori Kilmartin

Lori Kilmartin42:16 I am drinking a PEC Merlot from Wapous because I didn’t have a Syrah/Shiraz in my cellar!!
Rudolf in the Cellar
Lori Kilmartin

Lori Kilmartin33:39 European wines I find more austere, acidic – less fruit forward than New World.

Lori Kilmartin

Lori Kilmartin30:06 I always thought Syrah was old world – and Shiraz was new world style
Lori Kilmartin

Lori Kilmartin26:08 He said in an interview he was going to put some away and try in 10 years

Lise Charest Gagne

Lise Charest Gagne34:26 Rudolph is a Ham with all his humor and sayings

Lise Charest Gagne

Lise Charest Gagne31:24 I love that wine name bahaha good one

Lise Charest Gagne

Lise Charest Gagne29:57 not for me – too big unless i have a slice of blue cheese

Rudolf in the Cellar 2


Lise Charest Gagne

Lise Charest Gagne18:32 humm so new flix for the girls wine club
Lise Charest Gagne

Lise Charest Gagne15:31 Can you post these movies in this thread later on?

Lise Charest Gagne

Lise Charest Gagne13:06 Does Rudolph drink any Canadian wine ?😏
Lise Charest Gagne

Lise Charest Gagne5:24 Could Rudolph adjust his audio just a tad of a delay – and a few hang ups

Lise Charest Gagne

Lise Charest Gagne4:15 We are so heartbroken about these fires – sending well wishes

Paul E Hollander
Paul E Hollander3:34 Had a Shiraz last night. A 2005 Grail of Lisa from Marquis Phillips.
Rudolf Dining Out
Rick Dalderis
Rick Dalderis1:03:07 The air is getting better in NORCAL.
Stephen Andrews

Stephen Andrews23:41 We could use a movie about Niagara wines?.

Rick Dalderis

Rick Dalderis37:45 What wine are drinking now?
Rick Dalderis

Rick Dalderis28:43 Name some of your favorite Syrah’s or Shiraz’s wine’s you have enjoyed?

Stephen Andrews

Stephen Andrews29:45 Is there much Syrah in California?
Rudolf at Charles Smith Wines
Stephen Andrews

Stephen Andrews33:59 I like the metaphor of a journey

Rick Dalderis

Rick Dalderis7:25 Sideways was released on Oct 22, 2004.

Murray Johnston

Murray Johnston37:45 Being around the world what is your favorite wine Rudolf?

Murray Johnston

Murray Johnston29:29 I love the pepper bite spice kick of shiraz
Melanie Lloyd

Melanie Lloyd13:52 I’m loving this interview!

Beverly Asleson

Beverly Asleson58:32 Love it! thank you Rudolf for sharing


Rudolf with Charles Smith


Beverly Asleson

Beverly Asleson15:09 I love documentaries too
Lori Kilmartin
Lori Kilmartin29:00 Loved Rudolph’s interview with Greg on Merlove !!
Lise Charest Gagne

Lise Charest Gagne53:05 i want to try those french wines

Stephen Andrews
Stephen Andrews11:58 Do not hold it sideways!
Stephen Andrews

Stephen Andrews8:59 Can you still get Merlove on Amazon?

 Paul E Hollander
Paul E Hollander59:06 Thank you both. Wonderful evening.
Rudolf with Randall Grahm
Lori Kilmartin

Lori Kilmartin59:15 Thank you Rudolph!

Lise Charest Gagne

Lise Charest Gagne18:13

Lise Charest Gagne
Lise Charest Gagne59:42 Great guest!
Murray Johnston
Murray Johnston2:05 Shiraz yes
Stephane Denis
Stephane Denis52:07 19 crimes is nice 👍
Rudolf’s Tractor





“Que Syrah, Shiraz”
Hello Merlovers! Check out our next wine film!
“Que Syrah, Shiraz” a documentary all about Syrah!

This is a film about Syrah wine or should I say Shiraz? Is Syrah from the Rhone region of France or the city of Shiraz in Iran and what about Australia? Could the Romans have brought the varietal from Syracuse, Sicily to the Rhone Valley? How did this grape make its way to the United States? How do you know what to expect from a wine labeled Syrah vs. Shiraz?

What part does Petite Sirah play in all of this and why does this varietal have multiple spellings (e.g. Petite Sirah, Petit Syrah, Petite Syrah)?

Who will find the truth? We will! Join us as we travel the world to find the true story of “Que Syrah, Shiraz!”

Rudolf MClain – Bonny Doon Vineyards

Attached: movie poster
Rudolf at Saxum Vineyards

Director/Producer of Merlove’s new project

Sonoma, California, August 2017 —- Director/Producer Rudolf McClain, known for his documentary about Merlot, Merlove, has announced his new project, Que Syrah, Shiraz, and a crowd-funding campaign launching on August 28, 2017. The fundraising campaign’s goal is $350,000: this will underwrite filming in France and Australia, and support the post production process. The goal is to make the documentary film-festival ready by the end of 2017. “We welcome all lovers of great wines to lend us a hand so that we can bring this entertaining and compelling story to light,” McClain explains.
Donors are invited to the Indiegogo page. McClain explains some of the “perks” for contributing to the crowdfunding campaign: Signed Merlove DVDs, Full-Sized Movie Posters (24×36), (Limited Run) Signed Canvas Full-Sized Posters (26×38), The Girl and The Fig “Fig-Rig” Food Truck Outdoor Screenings for 100 of your closest friends, or see your name on the big screen as a Producer of the film!

Rudolf in the Vineyard


“The goal of Que Syrah, Shiraz is to explore the origin of the Syrah/Shiraz varietal and discover its expression in the world of wine today,” McClain explains. “We will tell the tale of its origins and the lives it has touched. This is an amazing story that includes civilizations around the world, DNA testing and the Wild West,” he adds. More than 20,000 acres of Syrah are planted in California, nearly 3,000 acres are planted in Washington State and hundreds of thousands of acres are planted in France and Australia. “This movie will turn the wine world on its head. Wine lovers will discover a new reality… a world in which, as Randall Grahm puts it, ‘Syrah tastes WAY BETTER than Cab’ (Cabernet).”

Rudolf Vineyard Photography


McClain continues: “This is a film about Syrah wine or should I say Shiraz? Is Syrah from the Rhone region of France or the city of Shiraz in Iran and what about Australia? Could the Romans have brought the varietal from Syracuse, Sicily, to the Rhone Valley? How did this grape make its way to the United States? How do you know what to expect from a wine labeled Syrah vs. Shiraz? What about Petite Sirah? Who will find the truth? We will! Join us as we travel the world to find the true story of Que Syrah, Shiraz!

Rudolf Recording


McClain has already filmed winemakers in California including Randall Grahm (Bonny Doon), Justin Smith (Saxum), Steve Lagier (Lagier Meredith), Pax Mahle (Pax), Gary Eberle (Eberle Winery) and Sean Thackrey (Thackrey & Company) – brief moments of these vintners discussing the quandaries surrounding this grape varietal can be found in the Indiegogo crowdfunding movie trailer. Also included in the Indiegogo trailer are retired UC Davis professor and viticultural geneticist Dr. Carole Meredith and the founder of Balzac Communications & Marketing, Paul Wagner. Charles Smith (Charles Smith Wines) and Christophe Baron (Cayuse) are scheduled to be interviewed this week.


The Winemaker

Rudolf McClain produced and directed Merlove, a feature length documentary released in 2008. The film celebrated Merlot in response to the film Sideways. Merlove was selected for four film festivals and enjoyed a week-long theatrical release in Washington State, 25 screenings in theaters around the country and is now available on Merlove has reached hundreds of thousands of wine lovers around the world. Since the production of Merlove, Rudolf has produced and directed many short films, commercials and documentaries, including the last scene of the upcoming film, Judgment of Paris.


Rudolf N. McClain ~ Producer/Director

McClain grew up in the Napa Valley where his family has roots running over 100 years deep. His mother Beth Lincoln was raised in Oakville (The Lincoln Ranch) McClain’s Grandfather, Bill Lincoln, formed “Lincoln Farm Equipment” which served the local wine industry for over 20 years.

Rudolf Directed and Produced the critically acclaimed feature film, Merlove. Merlove is a documentary about Merlot wine in response to the movie Sideway. Merlove stars wine celebrities Jean-Claude Berrouet (former winemaker for Chateau Petrus), Gary Vaynerchuk (host of Wine Library TV) and Michel Rolland (International Wine Consultant). Merlove was released in theaters June, 2008 and on DVD in November, 2009. It was also selected for the Sonoma International Film festival (California), Oenovideo Film Festival (France), and Paso Robles digital film festival (California).

Since the completion of Merlove, Rudolf has produced and directed over 50 films for clients in the Napa Valley.

He has demonstrated the ability to create and deliver content in all genres including commercials, fully scripted narratives and documentaries.




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