A story of wine…women…in song.


The French word ‘terroir’ is used across many languages and cultures to describe the soil and climate factors that give wine its character. Metaphorically, we can look at our human upbringing and the resulting character of various world cultures as ‘terroir’. Factually, we all originate from women, but it is the rare culture that respects or honors this truth. Why do we pervert the vessel of life to its own self-denial?

Production Dates: August 28-September 9, 2019

TRT:  6:58

Hardware: Canon6D, DJI Mavic Pro

Software: Adobe Premiere, After Effects, DaVinci Resolve

Filmed on Location: Wheaton & Peru, Illinois, USA; Font Romeu, France; Vilafranca del Penedes, Catalunya, Spain

Formats Available: All digital files, DCP & DVD

Director’s Note: When I was born in January of 1965, my mother’s father told her that he was very happy that I was a girl because “…women will really come into their own in her lifetime, I believe.” My father, also a ‘male feminist’, was always so available and effective at taking care of me, that I grew up calling out “m-Dad” or “d-Mom” (stuttering only as I thought about who might be nearer) when I needed help, as it had already been proven to me early on that both of my parents could equally meet my needs. When I fell in love deeply enough that I thought I could marry, my future husband didn’t bat an eye when he learned I’d be keeping my ‘maiden name’. “Why would you call yourself anything but YOUR OWN name?” he said. Growing up amongst people with this worldview, and choosing friends and then a marital partner who were also progressive, I floated in a blissful bubble for decades. As I approached classes, projects, jobs or opportunities, I never thought of myself as ‘less-than’ or considered that others might…because I am female. It truly wasn’t until the US Election of 2016 when trump, the Alt-Right and Russia were able to so easily sow chaos in voters’ minds about women’s rights and abilities, combined with the MeToo reporting, indictments and imprisonment of male icons in entertainment, news, business, politics, sports and education, that I started to look back at some of the things I’d experienced or opinions I’d held about ‘some women’. Whoa. 100 years after finally achieving suffrage in this country, women are NOT treated equally. Whoa. #metoo…I’d been a victim. But also, me too…I’d been harder on some of my “sisters” than I should have been. I started hearing things on TV and in general conversations when I’d go out that I’d never heard (or paid attention to) before…e.g. Women with good ideas who presented them forcefully were “shrill”; or, they made the listener uncomfortable because they reminded them of their mother when she was disappointed in them. That touched a nerve. Was that the key to suppression of women in so many cultures worldwide? A Mommy issue?! We naturally reject and/or move away from our mothers (and fathers) as we seek independence. It’s a normal part of human evolution and ensures that we don’t self-pollute gene pools. However, does that natural rejection of our mothers get perverted in some way so that we lay a blanket of distrust and suspicion upon very worthy, capable women who should be leading our most important institutions? And, what does it say about us, we humans who all entered the world from a woman, that we denigrate the very source of our origin?

I’d always liked the French word “terroir”…the soil and climate factors that determine the character of a wine…and how it looks like “terror” with an “i” inside. In listening to some old tapes I made at age 4, I was struck by an improvised song I came up with that starts, “Why should I be in this world? I can’t see why I am…” What a melancholy lyric for a kid being raised in such a progressive home…! Perhaps “i” could already sense the “terror” of being born female in a time when, as my grandpa hoped, we were supposed to come into our own?

For more information:

Dawn Westlake, Ron de Cana Productions, Inc.

E: dawnwestlake@gmail.com