The Russian Nobility Association was proud to present an important and absolutely superb film, André – The Voice of Wine narrated by Ralph Fiennes about a Russian émigré, André Tchelistcheff, who became one of most important wine personalities and founding fathers of American wine. This award winning feature documentary took us on a professional and personal journey of a man from his earliest connection with vineyards in pre-revolutionary Russia, to his rise to the pinnacle of wine culture in Europe and the United States. André Tchelistcheff, born into an aristocratic family in Moscow, remarkably survived the upheaval of the Russian revolution and civil war. His professionalism, knowledge of science, dedication to innovation, the depth and breadth of his multi-cultural background along with his unmatched taste helped move the American wine industry from a virtually moribund state after the repeal of prohibition on to its post-war renaissance. For over five decades, Andre worked with numerous wineries that together helped establish the American wine industry. His philosophy of life and his love for wine continue to influence generations of wine makers throughout the world.
This film is touching to any member of the Russian diaspora, presenting a familiar story of emigration and adaptation, ultimately enriching the life of the countries our families settled in. But its insightful depiction of personal accomplishment in the context of broad historic forces is what explains its much wider appeal.
Director Mark Tchelistcheff has assembled an illustrious team of filmmakers including multiple Oscar winner Walter Murch (Apocalypse Now, The English Patient, The Unbearable Likeness of Being), BAFTA winner Michael Chandler (Amadeus, The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg, Mishima in Four Parts) and Russian award winning composer Alexei Aigui (I’m Not Your Negro, Le Petit Poucet, Moloch Tropical).
This special evening and RNA exclusive film screening occurred on Thursday, March 21, at 6 PM, at the at the state-of-the-art screening room of the Crosby Hotel in SoHo, 79 Crosby Street (between Spring and Prince Streets, one block east of Broadway). After the screening there was an intimate Q&A with the director of the film, Mark Tchelistcheff (André’s grand nephew and president of Open Films) along with other distinguished guests including Count Gelasio Gaetani d’Aragona Lovetelli.
Following the screening, we dodged the rain to adjourn to a reception at the loft of Alexandr Neratoff Architect, half a block away, to enjoy a tasting of wines connected to André from America, Europe and Russia including Grgich Hills Estate, Alpha Omega, Schramsberg, Aiken Wines, Chêne Bleu, Quilceda Creek, Les Trois Croix, Lefkadia Valley, Alquimista, Chateau d’Esclans, Jarvis Estate with special sponsors Beaulieu Vineyards, with hors d’oeuvres, cheese and breads paired to these wines.