Michael Perlis Visits: Bret Lyman, B. Napa

Winerelease.com is a great site for keeping informed on the latest releases from over 1,400 wineries. The monthly newsletter from Neil Monnens is a terrific resource.

But, a recent newsletter really turned me onto something terrific. Neil included a link to a short film called “Crush”, A B. Napa Film from Bret Lyman, a 13-minute documentary about, well, Crush.

Here is the link:


I found this lyrical work to be very moving. I was most struck by the deep generational connections, both out in the vineyards and at the winery, in this case Sebastiani. I decided to contact Bret for more information.

Although Bret was born in Napa, he was actually raised in Puerto Rico. As a result, the first feature film he saw was Star Wars, dubbed in Spanish! The language barrier didn’t really matter to Bret, as he was primarily interested in the visual aspect of the film, as he credits this experience with sparking his interest in the way television shows and movies were produced.

After more than two decades of working in the film industry, in positions ranging from production assistant to executive producer, in both free lance and full-time positions, he struck out on his own again in 2000, creating award winning films for Vitaminwater and other projects with national and international exposure.

In addition, Bret started making wine at 17 and worked several years as a cellar rat.

Bret came home to Napa in 2004, forming B. Napa (http://www.b-napa.com), a studio that not only provides “cutting edge creative solutions to the wine industry”, but also produces documentary films about wine.

And it turns out that I’m not the only person who loved “Crush”, as it won the Tropheé Especial best short documentary at the 2008 Festival Oenovideo in Paris, France.

Bret has also made films for Quintessa, and Wilson Daniels Ltd.’s French and Hungarian Properties, among others.

Recently, Bret has been hard at work filming the 2009 harvest, in places such as Shafer in Napa and Willakenzie Estate in Oregon. He also has a new film coming out called “The Picking Crew”. Bret says this is ‘a story about brotherhood, providing for family and the land through my experiences with a crew of Grape pickers.” I am very much looking forward to it.

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