1976. Steven Spurrier is a British wine connoisseur who lives in Paris as he considers France to be the center of the wine universe. He owns his own exclusive wine shop and wine tasting school, the problem being that he has few customers because he is seen as not being one of the knowledgeable French. His friend and one and only regular customer, Midwestern American Maurice Cantavale, believes to increase business, Steven has to show the French that there are other good wines in the world besides that produced in France. Half way across the world in Napa Valley, California, divorced and strong willed Jim Barrett packed in his corporate job as a partner in a lucrative law firm - one of the other partners who is now his ex-wife's husband - to start up Chateau Montelena, a vineyard. Jim is going broke because of the business. He loves wine making and believes that he and his fellow California vintners produce as a good a wine as anyone in the world. He runs the vineyard with his slacker dude son, Bo Barrett - the two who have an unusual way to release their aggressions - and Bo's best friend Gustavo Brambila, an ethnic Mexican and second generation hand on the land. Gustavo would like one day to produce his own wines, but does not have the resources to buy land. He believes he deserves greater success than nouveau wine makers since wine is in his blood. Sam Fulton enters their lives as an intern, she who shakes up the goings-on as a beautiful female in the otherwise male dominated business. Their collective lives intersect when Steven, on Maurice's advice, decides to hold a blind taste testing wine competition of California wines of his choosing against their French counterparts. Jim, who doesn't trust Steven, believes this competition is Steven's way of ridiculing the California producers. Bo, who is struggling to find his place in life, believes this competition is the opportunity to put California on the quality wine producing map globally, and their wine specifically if Steven chooses their Chardonnay. Even if Bo is able to convince his father to participate, their Chardonnay will not have a smooth road ahead due to many factors, some which confound Jim's perfect sensibilities.