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Ms. at the Movies: Pairing Women & Wine with Females & Flicks – December 2015



– Toni Collette as Milly in “Miss You Already”

We’ve all read the statistics:

– Women only directed 4% of the top-grossing movies from 2002-2014.

– Less than 10% of women are chief winemakers at U.S. wineries.

And there’s plenty more where that came from. That’s just the tip of the iceberg, and numbers don’t lie. Despite the efforts of fierce female filmmakers and crafty women vintners to break through glass ceilings, gender bias continues to be an ongoing struggle.

What continues to keep our spirits high, however, are the audacious women who continue to fight for equality, and who won’t stop until their dreams come true & their voices are heard.

What keeps us all going is HOPE and BRAVERY.

December’s Movie: “MISS YOU ALREADY”

Image 1

What makes the new Cathernie Hardwicke drama “MISS YOU ALREADY” a little bit more unique than other classic “friendship films”, is that it probably never would have gotten made in the Hollywood studio system. The film has backing from a British production company, which gave writer Morwenna Banks the opportunity to make this film exactly how she wanted to. With two female lead characters and a female director at the helm.

Enter actresses Toni Collette and Drew Barrymore as “Milly” and “Jess”. Two best friends, inseparable since childhood, are now going through some of the most difficult experiences of their adult lives. Collette’s “Milly” finds out she has cancer, and what ensues is a moving film about the fearlessness of friendship. And a reminder how a best friend makes you laugh in the good times, and makes you strong in the hard times.

P.S. In an effort not to spoil this film for those who haven’t seen it, just trust me, bring a box of tissues.

December’s Wine:

Domaine Gramenon’s Poignee de Raisins 2011 Cotes du Rhone                      Image 2

To be a fearless female winemaker is practically a given. Despite the physical labor that goes into producing wine, the mathematics and science behind great winemaking has often been seen as “male work.” But what happens when you’re faced with tragedy in the wine world? Do you give up and call it a day?

Not if you’re Michele Aubery-Laurent, vintner of DOMAINE GRAMENON, you don’t.

Michele and her husband Philippe started DOMAINE GRAMENON in the early ‘90s. Sadly, in 1999, Philippe died in a tragic accident, leaving Michele with a young family to care for, and a vineyard that was just starting to see its efforts come to fruition. And so Michele pushed forward.

You see, Michele came to treat her vines with the same care, conviction, and passion as she did every other aspect of her life. And with great work came great reward, especially in the 2011 POIGNEE DE RAISINS COTES DU RHONE. Literally translating to “fistful of grapes”, this Grenache (with just a touch of Cinsault) has a medium-strength nose of ripe fruit with grapey highlights, but is not overdone. The nose is evocative of lean strength. In the mouth, black fruit coats the palate, leaving a lively gravely quality on the tongue. There are sweet, textured spices, and an iron-like minerality.

“MISS YOU ALREADY” and the 2011 POIGNEE DE RAISINS COTES DU RHONE from Michele Aubery-Laurent’s DOMAINE GRAMENON, side by side, are a powerful duo. To me, this combination is reminiscent of a loose over-sized sweater. Perhaps, the kind two childhood best friends borrow from their parents during a sleepover as they huddle in their fortress and tell stories at night. Together, this duo is a delicious and touching reminder that the unwavering bravery of women is nothing to be taken lightly.

Drink well this holiday season! Cheers!


Elyssa Phillips

About Elyssa Phillips

A native New Yorker, Elyssa has been acting since the age of 5 (she still owns the red dress with the black bow from when she played Annie at the age of 6). After studying at the British American Drama Academy in England, and graduating from The University of the Arts in Philadelphia, Elyssa spent her time performing around the country in various theatrical productions....from Shakespeare's "As You Like It" and "Measure For Measure", to the long-running improvisational comedies "Tony 'n Tina's Wedding" and "Shear Madness"...with some other tricks of her trade along the way. Elyssa is a house performer, writer, and producer at The Pack Theater in Hollywood. Her most recent TV credits include "Silicon Valley" and "The Mindy Project".