Viewers of your series on Hulu, "The Wine Show" ingest complexities of history, geography and viticulture without feeling like bored school kids. Bravo, how do you do it?
Americans have a term, “edutainment.” That’s what we try to do and “The Wine Show” gets it just right.
The program stars bold personalities. I’m in awe of wine-world icon Jancis Robinson. But I would run and hide behind a tree if I said something stupid in front of her. You don’t find her intimidating?
When I first decided to set up my business I had seen her at a couple of tastings. I sent her an email asking, “Can I please come to you for job advice?” She invited me for a glass of wine at her house! She was really supportive and when “The Wine Show” happened she saw my dad and she said, “You must be so proud of her.” She’s gracious and generous.
Joe Fattorini seems like the guy who knows so much that it might be painful for him to continually hold back his vast Obi “Wine” Kenobi wisdom. True?
I think he likes being Obi but he can laugh at himself and that’s great. He is not this crusty old curmudgeon. He’s a very good communicator and knows how to suss out an audience. He can be comedic when he needs to. He handles the two Matthews [hosts] very well.
Those blokes must be a handful.
They’re like two little kids when they get together and he’s the towering school master.
But Fattorini has a different vibe with you, sparring at times. I guess he feels you can take it?
He is a bit older than me and we didn’t want that lechy older guy/younger girl thing — there’s no chemistry between us in that way. It’s more the older brother/younger sister so I can annoy him. And you know what the dynamic is being a younger sister and older brother bantering; when we tease each other or trip each other up it’s all fairly harmless. It works.
Tell us about the rest of the cast. How did you land two of the hottest stars on telly?
The guy who’s in charge of the production company, his brother-in-law is Matthew Goode. He knew Matthew loves wine and grew up with wine. And they knew Matthew Rhys, who jokes that he only drank whiskey before the show, and that he’s not a wine lover. So they’re two different types that viewers can relate to and they have a great chemistry. You can’t fake that they enjoy each other.
You didn’t film with James Purefoy, but what’s it like to be up close to the two Matthews. Please dish!
It’s amazing how much the camera loves Matthew Goode. We had late nights and still there was no such thing as a bad angle or a bad shot. He can just make love to that camera. It’s like Kate Moss: There are no bad shots of her!
The other Matthew seems a lightning wit.
Matthew Rhys I adore. He was originally going to become a stand-up comic and there you can’t hide behind lines; it’s a version of yourself. I think he’s using his stand-up personality because his mind is so quick and agile.
So he’s easy to work with?
Where he comes from there are no airs or graces. He’s very generous spirited with a lack of ego. I remember when the show came out it was announced on Hulu. I sent him a congratulations email and said “I’m in New York and I’d love to take you for celebratory cocktails.” He wrote back within a half hour and said “…I’d love to get together but we’re not in town this weekend, Keri (Russell his wife and costar in ‘The Americans’) has family in town.” He was just sooo nice. He’s the most unceleby celeb.
The show’s sometimes reminiscent of the Steve Coogan/Rob Brydon movies, a whirlwind bacchanalian road trip. Do the guys even realize they’re doing this?
Both could party all night long but they’re very reliable on set.
Now for the critics. Vogue calls it, “So bizarre it can’t help but be charming.” The Guardian wrote, “I hate myself for loving it.”
I love the Guardian! They’re so left wing they don’t like the fact that they like a wine show. That makes me really happy that they’re saying, “Damn it, we actually like it.”