SALT LAKE CITY, February 13th, 2019—A wine merchant’s wish to capture on film a moment in the life of an unlikely startup venture now serves as a testament to the idea that fine wine culture can exist, even thrive, in the most unexpected places. On the Fringes of Tierdom is a documentary short—written and narrated by Stephanie Cuadra, founder of Terrestoria Wine Imports in Salt Lake City—which suggests that unexplored tertiary markets are part of the answer to mounting challenges small winegrowers face as a result of consolidated distribution across the American three-tier system. The 13-minute movie weaves together portraits of five Italian female winegrowers; a disruptive message about the beverage alcohol industry; and a filmmaker’s artistic depiction of an entrepreneur who has made it her mission to reshape perceptions about wine culture in the Mountain West.
Following a convivial preview screening with wine enthusiasts in Salt Lake City last month on the eve of the Sundance Film Festival, the ‘Tierdom Movie’ premieres Friday, February 15th in Milan—a city that plays a central role not only in the film, but in Terrestoria’s daily operations as well. Members of the cast and crew will gather with locals for the showing at Cantina Urbana Milano, Italy’s first fully functional urban winery on the edge of Milan’s culturally progressive Navigli district.
“It seems like everywhere you turn these days, pundits of the U.S. wine industry are sounding alarm bells about the dire effects of second-tier consolidation on family wineries,” says Cuadra. “While so much is said in certain circles about what is wrong with the system, few seem to see newsworthiness in emerging markets around the country which are incredibly receptive to artisanal wines. It’s time to change the focus or opportunities will be missed.”
While the mini documentary zeroes in on the increasing dynamism of Utah in particular, Cuadra insists her thesis also applies to other regions where economic growth, demographic shifts and cultural changes have fueled unprecedented demand for wines of character in lieu of massively distributed brands. Nonetheless, an “existential conflict” with regard to the regulatory environment governing alcohol sales in the U.S. is cited openly in the film, alluding to an exciting, if unpredictable, road ahead for anyone operating within the tierdom.
On the Fringes of Tierdom stars winery owners Paola Riccio, Giovanna Paternoster, Donatella Giannotti, Manuela Gastel and Sonia Spadaro Mulone. The film was directed by Ester Elmaleh with the cinematography of Roberto Prosdocimo of REPARTO21 and musical arrangements by Morelli Costantini. Future screenings will be held in Utah this summer. Watch the trailer at terrestoria.com/tierdom-movie.
About Terrestoria Wine Imports
Founded in Salt Lake City and operating from satellite offices in Milan, Terrestoria was created to foster discovery among Utah’s burgeoning community of wine enthusiasts. While focusing on lesser-known wine regions and indigenous grapes of Italy and Spain, Terrestoria partners with small-scale producers whose voices are rarely heard beyond local borders. Terrestoria champions inclusiveness in the wine industry and is proud to feature wines from the following women-run estates: Adega San Salvador de Soutomaior (D.O. Rías Baixas, Galicia); Cascina Montagnola (Colli Tortonesi DOC, Piemonte); Podere Conca (Bolgheri DOC, Tuscany); Alepa (Terre del Volturno IGT, Campania); Quarta Generazione (Aglianico del Vulture DOC, Basilicata); Santa Maria La Nave (Etna DOC, Sicily).