Not a Bad Place for a Wine Film
My little little corner of the world appears to have been transformed into Hollywood North.
The cast and crew of the film "Bottle Shock" have invaded Glen Ellen. The ubiquitous movie trailers are here, the cranes, the porto potties and the minor traffic jams caused by rubberneckers have all found there way in to my little unincorporated town in the middle of Sonoma Valley.
The filming today appears to be focused on what we in Glen Ellen refer to as the "London Bar". "London" as in "Jack London". The bar is something of a dive and a poor reminder of Glen Ellen’s heyday when it supported upwards of 5 or 6 watering holes. I’ve spent some time there in the past, usually after a late dinner when everything else close to home has shut down and we all were not ready to stop for the night. But the wood paneled, scraggly old bar with its stale popcorn is probably a pretty good place to set a scene or two.
But I know what you are looking for. Celebrity sightings. Well, I’m pretty sure I had a such a sighting. Coming of the Glen Ellen Market, located opposite from the Jack London Bar, I’m positive I walked passed Rachel Taylor, who is cast as an intern at Chateau Montelena in the film about the famed 1976 Paris Tasting that put California on the map. That girl definitely needs to put some meat on her bones.
Glen Ellen is a pretty cool little town. There really isn’t much here. A few restaurants, some specialty food shops, a grocery store and a few other things. You can drive through the town in less than a minute. It used to be a resort town.
Two creeks converge in the town and they made for great swimming and fishing around the turn of the century when city folk would venture up in the summer to hang out on Sonoma Creek. The town of course drew most of its fame from the fact that Jack London made his home here. But by and large the town survived as a result of the "State Home for the Feeble Minded", which is still operating today as the "Sonoma Developmental Center". This large hospital for developmentally handicapped drew hundreds of workers to the town.
Today the wine industry and the attending tourism is what Glen Ellen is probably best known for. The Benziger Family, many years ago started a brand they named after the town, did a great job of marketing it and all of a sudden the name of
my town was on bottles on nearly every table in America.
But through all this, the town really hasn’t grown much. It’s unincorporated. But if you count those who live in the hills on either side of the town as well as those who live in the flats there might be about 3,500-4000 folks who live here.
Because of this the town has stayed rather quaint. That makes it a fine place to film a wine country-based film. To say the least, it will be fun to watch "Bottle Shock" and see what they’ve done with the raw material that is Glen Ellen.