Roselyn Sanchez (Insidious Maids) plays Camilla an extraordinary sommelier who travels from the big city (Philadelphia) to green and beautiful New York. At home, her holidays are shaped by tradition – and that’s how she likes it!
His godfather Henry (Richard Fitzpatrick) owns a vineyard, and every year volunteers travel from all over to take part in the ice grape harvest (you have to pick these grapes when they’re frozen!).
But there are some unwanted wrinkles in Camilla’s vacation plans.
First, Henry gave up the vineyard so he could spend the winter in Florida! Second, sister Camilla (Anna Maria Demara) hires a wine connoisseur named Declan (Lyric Bent, He Must Have It) to dig through the vineyard and apply all kinds of science to the ice grape harvest.
Uh-huh, Henry always behaves internally and with a sense of filth, Declan, and all is well! What will happen to the vineyard? Will Camilla make this Declan man use logic to calm him down and trust his feelings? And more importantly, when will they kiss??
I don’t have to leave that to the contractors, but rather the chemistry between Sanchez and Bent. The vacation deals of a lifetime can be a bit more than Hallmark (though still wholly G-TV, mind you), and both have an irresistible natural appeal. For example, they know that after the credit ends, they will.
The annual harvest of frozen grapes is enormous. As explained in the first 30 seconds of the film, there’s less time to pick the grapes after they’re frozen if you want a premium iced wine taste. There’s also an annual Christmas festival, and Camilla’s family has a little tradition of their own: a gift-wrapping party in pyjamas.
Since they made thousands of films with the same proven formula for holiday romance:
Directors had to find a way to refresh their stories. This leads to several holiday films that revolve around great special topics, such as Christmas cards or Christmas trash hunts. The film is built around ice grapes. Since there’s no point criticizing the structure (we’d love to see big-city hosts blown away by small-town life!), we should focus on what makes this film unique: the central premise and the performances.
As I mentioned above, all performance is stable. The cast looks smaller than usual for these films, but it also means we have more time with our two very charming leads. There’s a maturity that Sanchez and Bent put into their roles that feels refreshing, like their adults playing adults with mature ideas for career, love and ice wine.
Ice wine is a particular requirement for these films:
And the central point of contention between our two presenters is that it’s all about the product and the production. He noticed the purity and sincerity of the ice wine made from grapes frozen for Christmas.
Declan thinks it’s a good idea to use cryo-extraction (sorry, it tastes like capital letters) to freeze and squeeze grapes all year round. Camilla could feel the difference, and all she wanted was efficiency. It’s for faith, and he’s for science. See what I mean by two adults arguing between adults?
Here the film fails. I fully support building a 90-minute break, whether it’s a niche like ice wine or not; Hell, Hallmark kicked off its season with the film arborist. I think Christmas with Eiswein needs a little more.
The plot of Camilla’s sister and daughter-in-law trying to raise a family. It could be a real subplot, but it’s barely affected. Camilla’s ecstatic mother (Maria del Mar) could have had some of her scenes, maybe with sweet old Henry.
Maybe Camilla and Declan’s encounter has nothing to do with wine. Or maybe the film can support the joke that Declan packs an inadequate outfit for the freezing greens.
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All the shows are there, and there’s no such thing. As too vague a topic to build any of the movies on. It would be best if you built something substantial around it. It just makes me want more.
Very doubtful mess. It’s perfect, ticks all the boxes, and has excellent contact, but it feels like it’s published before it’s ripe.