Please The Palate Pick of the Week: Corked, A Short Film Based on a True Story

Over the past 20-30 years, women have made significant in-roads into winemaking. In California, it is not uncommon to find women as winemakers, assistant winemakers, cellar rats, and more. It is estimated that 15-20% of the winemakers in California are women. That number is slowly increasing but we have to remember that not so long ago, a woman choosing to become a winemaker was not commonplace. Corked is a short film that tells the story of a woman’s struggle in 1970s California wine country and is the Please The Palate pick of the week.

Please The Palate Pick of the Week: Corked, A Short Film Based on a True Story

The 1960s and 1970s were a period in which women sought equal rights, opportunities, and greater personal freedom. Corked takes place in 1971 in Sonoma, California. While only 45 minutes from “radical” San Francisco, Sonoma was a conservative town. Here Jane desires to work in wine but deals with the the chauvinism of her male colleagues until she finally reaches her tipping point.

Corked is based on a true story. The main character Jane is modeled after Janet Dyer, a fourth generation San Franciscan. She grew up in Marin county and Petaluma, CA and studied drama. She attended college at UCSB where she worked her way through school at the Santa Barbara Winery. In 1976, she convinced her boss to allow her to sell wine for a day in Santa Maria and she was wildly successful. Janet became the first woman to sell wine wholesale in Ventura County, was the first woman to sell wholesale fine wine in Santa Barbara County, and was one of the first women in the USA in the wholesale wine business. Having worked in almost every position in the wholesale wine business, except President, inspired her to write a screenplay about it.

Please The Palate Pick of the Week: Corked, A Short Film Based on a True Story

Corked, the short film, has received many accolades. It was a Finalist in the Big Apple Screenplay competition 2021 and Semi-Finalist at the Atlanta Film Festival Screenplay Competition. And it has won awards including the Audience Award at the 2021 Directors Circle Festival of Shorts, as well as the Best Short at the Indie Short Fest 2020.

The goal now is to turn Corked into a feature length film but until then watch the short film Corked and think if all the women who have set the path for us today.

Janet said it best at the end of the short:

“Currently in California approximately 13% of wineries are helmed by women. That’s 11% more than in 1970.

Time has given me the benefit of perspective. I realize nothing is ever accomplished alone.

My small efforts were supported by like-minded women: the ones that stood beside me and the ones that came before me.

Those women carved a path that each generation continues to follow. No matter how small or great the contribution, it matters for generations to come.”