New Wine Documentary ‘A Wonderful Kingdom’ Explores Douro Valley Traditions

What does it take to harvest grapes in one of the world's hottest wine regions? A new film narrated by Malcolm McDowell showcases centuries-old traditions in Portugal

New Wine Documentary ‘A Wonderful Kingdom’ Explores Douro Valley Traditions
"I can place the camera anywhere and it will look fantastic," thought A Wonderful Kingdom director Carlos Carneiro. (Joao Bernardino)
Sep 30, 2021

While France and California’s wine regions have long served as the most popular locales when wine goes to the movies, more and more film crews (and Hollywood stars) are heading to Portugal’s Douro Valley to chase compelling wine dramas. The latest documentary to come out of the Douro comes from Portuguese director Carlos Carneiro, who showcases a traditional harvest in a A Wonderful Kingdom.

"When I scouted the Douro, I remember thinking, 'Bloody hell, this is stunning. I can place the camera anywhere and it will look fantastic,'" Carneiro told Wine Spectator. "Seeing the region become a destination and the wines more international, I wanted to remind the viewer that this is a region of simple, hard-working folks." A Wonderful Kingdom, available on Apple TV and Amazon Prime, stars the 2018 harvest, specifically at Niepoort, Churchill, Maria Izabel and Negreiros. The documentary is narrated by English actor Malcolm McDowell, with selected passages from late Portuguese writer Miguel Torga.

Carneiro, whose mother is from Douro Valley and father nearby Porto, has fond memories of his father making wine. "I remember us picking and stomping, and seeing my dad and uncles putting their muscles to work on the winepress," he recalled. "I think I made a conscious decision of wanting to be like them." Instead of getting his feet soaked this time, Carneiro filmed it.

The world has changed dramatically since Carneiro wrapped the project, but he believes his story is more timely than ever. "The pandemic happened and we thought, 'It's kind of good timing for this film to come out, because people are traveling less and we are able to take them to a place they probably have never been."


Enjoy Unfiltered? The best of Unfiltered's round-up of drinks in pop culture can now be delivered straight to your inbox every other week! Sign up now to receive the Unfiltered e-mail newsletter, featuring the latest scoop on how wine intersects with film, TV, music, sports, politics and more.

Unfiltered film-tv fortified-wines douro Portugal

You Might Also Like

Counterfeit Lafite, Penfolds Seized in $150 Million Fake Wine Bust

Counterfeit Lafite, Penfolds Seized in $150 Million Fake Wine Bust

40,000 bottles of “extremely realistic” fakes discovered in China

Jan 30, 2023
Folly Follows Flood in Paso Robles Wine Country

Folly Follows Flood in Paso Robles Wine Country

After heavy rains washed out Adelaida Road, a county road crew quickly rebuilt it. If only …

Jan 17, 2023
Best of Unfiltered 2022

Best of Unfiltered 2022

From Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie’s legal battle over Château Miraval to a $13 million wine …

Dec 29, 2022
José Andrés Takes a Family Road Trip Around Spain in New TV Show

José Andrés Takes a Family Road Trip Around Spain in New TV Show

The star chef’s new show on Discovery+ follows his family as they tour the culinary …

Dec 27, 2022
French Star Patrick Bruel Bets on Rosé with Jaboulet

French Star Patrick Bruel Bets on Rosé with Jaboulet

The singer-actor–poker pro goes all in on an organic Provence rosé with the Rhône vigneron

Dec 21, 2022
2020 Château Mouton-Rothschild Label Artist Revealed

2020 Château Mouton-Rothschild Label Artist Revealed

British painter Peter Doig creates a vineyard dreamscape for the celebrated first-growth …

Dec 13, 2022