Bottle Shock! – A Cultural Romance the Poetry of Wine

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By Kathy Carpenter

Cast – photo by Karli Cadel

California Center For The Arts Escondido Presents the World Premiere of “Bottle Shock.” After fourteen long years for Ross Swartz, Lanette Pabon, Judy Savin, and Randall Miller, a dream has been realized. With the encouragement of the California Center for the Arts the musical is now live. BOTTLE SHOCK is Hallmark Movie-channel worthy. It is captivating, sweet, and romantic.

Based on a true story, and the 2008 movie version of “Bottle Shock”, the authors of this musical present us with a fairy tale version of the actual event, the “Judgement of Paris.” When a hotel in Paris hosted a blind wine tasting 46 years ago the finest French wines were tested against the newbies on the block from California, Napa Valley wines. The unexpected came to pass with underdogs from California beating wines from Bordeaux and Burgundy. The lone journalist in attendance George M. Tabor, of Time Magazine who bestowed upon the event the name. “Judgement of Paris” known as such ever since. This is the foundation of the BOTTLE SHOCK saga.

Emma Degerstedt as Sam – photo by Karli Cadel

The story takes place at a struggling Napa Valley vineyard. weaving together a new intern’s journey, the prodigal son’s return, and a trusted friend’s role as the father’s right-hand man.  All the ingredients to produce an engaging well-rounded plot. The intern symbolizes growth. The prodigal son’s homecoming adds emotional depth, and the friend adds a sense of unwavering loyalty. Together, these threads form a tapestry of human relationships, aspirations, and dilemmas. 

J.. Scott Lapp is the director, and Louis Pardo, TJ Mannix, Patrick Ortiz, Will Riddle, Emma Degerstedt and Taylor Renee Handerson are the stars. Louis Pardo is amazing as the comic relief. Patrick Ortiz and Emma Degerstedt bring chemistry, and romance. Ms. Henderson has a tremendous voice and is a perfect fit as Jo. The village comes together to encapsulate us in another world. This is an epic tale of wine, family, and fighting for what we believe in.

Louis Parso, as Steven Spurrier – photo by Karli Cadel

The set showcased magnificent arched vineyard walls adorned with vines, complemented by rustic wooden wine barrels. A backdrop screen depicting a picturesque vineyard scene brought additional ambiance. The towering trees above the walls added an authentic touch. The attention to detail was remarkable, as every aspect of the set design contributed to the illusion of stepping into a vineyard.

“Bottle Shock: The Musical” delivers a memorable and enchanting theatrical experience that celebrates the world of wine and the triumphs of the human spirit.

Along with the musical, the center is offering wine tasting experiences, with three options to choose from. For more information inquire at box office.

Cast – photo by Karli Cadel


California Center for the Arts


Center for the Arts

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