What happens when a pair of former entertainment-media execs (Paramount, ABC and Lyrick Studios) make a lifestyle change, leave their jobs and turn their hobbies and skill sets into a business? For Tim Clott and Noel Resnick, the short answer includes moving to Napa Valley and making the winning video in Wine Spectator's 2015 Video Contest.
Although Tim told Wine Spectator, "Lifestyle has always been important to our personal lives. We have traveled extensively and probably eaten in too many Michelin-starred restaurants," the full answer is more complex. The couple saw a future in online/social media and began making videos for clients. Noel is the executive producer, client relations team and researcher-in-chief, while Tim, a musician and photographer, is the cameraman, editor and composer, as well as bookkeeper. (They leave the drone operation to a certified pilot.)
Why the focus on wine? Originally focusing on luxury real-estate clients, they found themselves regularly traveling north from their L.A. home to shoot in wine country. They love wine and enjoy the friends they are making through wine. And 18 months ago, they moved to Napa Valley.
When Lee Martinelli Sr. called Tim to discuss making a video about Jackass Hill, he shared an old video of the vineyard. Upon seeing the "hill" with its 60 percent slope (in comparison, black-diamond ski slopes have a slope of 40 percent or more), Tim wasn't sure he wanted to do the shoot, as it looked dangerous.
Tim and Noel decided to make this video because they knew it would be visually compelling and a good story. But the day was challenging, as simply moving around the vineyard was tough, and getting a good footing in the loose soils was nearly impossible.
Reflecting on the factors that made this shoot so enjoyable, Tim said, "The people! This is the second project we've done with Lee and it's a great family. And then there's the environment, being out in the vineyard at sun-up. These are the joys of what we do."
The video started as a 7-minute piece for the Martinelli family. When Tim proposed making a trailer for the Wine Spectator Video Contest, Lee agreed. Tim cut the video down to three minutes and added a dramatic score. He reports that the Martinellis loved the trailer. And so did the voting public, who picked “The Legacy of Jackass Hill” as the winner of Wine Spectator’s ninth annual Video Contest.
No strangers to the Top Ten in the Video Contest, Tim and Noel were the video team behind last year’s third-place finisher, “Tips to Save Water,” shot with Marc Mondavi.
For their first-place finish, Tim and Noel have earned a pair of tickets to the 2015 Wine Spectator Wine Experience in New York, where their video will be screened for more than 1,000 of the event’s attendees.
Coming in second is "Mad Scientist Winemaker." This video was concocted by the dynamo who's madder than any scientist we've ever met, Tina Termsomket. If her name sounds familiar, it's because she won the 2013 video contest with "Dawn of Wine." (Look closely in this year's entry and you'll see GZ, aka Godzilla, star of "Dawn of Wine," in the vineyards.)
In third place is a laugh-out-loud parody about the unrelenting pursuit for individual wines of great character. “We are able to take it further with the Single-Berry Ferment,” says Miles MacDonnell, owner of Round Pond Estate in Napa Valley. He somehow managed to keep a straight face; we couldn't.
Videos for this year’s contest came from around the United States, including wine regions in Napa Valley, Paso Robles and even Idaho. Additional entries came from Portugal, Italy, France, Israel, Australia and beyond.
Watch "Legacy of Jackass Hill," "Mad Scientist" and all the finalists, as well as the Honorable Mentions, at WineSpectator.com/videocontest2015. And start thinking about your entry to Wine Spectator’s 2016 Video Contest—submissions will be due in early September 2016.