Rebecca Richman Cohen’s feature documentary film Weed and Wine juxtaposes the viticulture of wine grapes in France, with the cannabis culture in the United States of America. In doing so the film features two families: the Jodrey’s of Humboldt County, in northern California; and the Thibon family in the Ardèche region of the Southern Rhone Valley.
The film features four subjects: Hélène Thibon and her son Aurélien-Nathanaël Thibon-Macagno, Kevin Jodrey and his son Nocona. Brief profiles of each appear beneath this review.
The Jodrey family runs a large cannabis farm deep in the Humboldt woods, and are dealing with the United States’ schizophrenic approach to cannabis as well as California’s chaos of laws and regulations following the state’s legalization. The Thibon’s are dealing with the annual harvesting and vinification of the year’s wine grapes.
Although the film includes a cornucopia of beatific vistas in France and Humboldt, it is the lives and challenges of the two families that we tune into as they harvest and work with their respective crops—and as they relate with their respective families.
How will the year’s vintages fair in the expansive and expanding world of wine? Aurélien is overseeing the vinification for the first time. The entire harvest’s commercial viability is in the hands of this young man. How will Kevin and Nocoma navigate the chaos of California’s legalization of cannabis?
Those questions are answered in this beautiful and delightful film about two families separated by a continent and an ocean. Roger Ebert once pronounced that no bad movie is too short, and no good movie is too long. I would happily spend much more time with these two families.
The film premiers at the 43rd Mill Valley Film Festival October 8 – 18.
Hélène Thibon (Hélène)
Hélène Thibon is one of the winemakers at Mas de Libian, a biodynamic wine estate in France’s Ardèche region of the Southern Rhone Valley, which has belonged to the Thibon family since 1670. Raised in a family of “peasant scholars,” as Hélene describes them, Hélene spent her childhood devouring books in her family’s library and caring for the animals on their land. After pursuing studies in viticulture and enology, she and her husband Alain settled at Mas de Libian to raise their son, Aurélien. Along with her parents, husband, sisters–and now son–she has cultivated organic and biodynamic wine at Las De Libian since 1993.
Aurélien-Nathanaël Thibon-Macagno (Aurélien)
Aurélien is the son of Hélene Thibon and a winemaker at Mas de Libian, an organic wine estate in France’s Ardèche region, which has belonged to the Thibon family since 1670. Before returning to his family’s land in 2017, Aurélien worked with winemakers in Germany, Switzerland and New Zealand, and interned at Domaine Méo-Camuzet in Burgundy while studying viticulture and oenology in Beaune.
Kevin Jodrey (“Kev”)
Kevin Jodrey is an internationally respected cannabis expert known for improving and forwarding the modern cannabis movement. Owner of Humboldt County’s Wonderland Nursery and co-founder of The Ganjier, Jodrey has been a cannabis cultivator for decades, running his own operations and offering consulting services to the broader community. A frequent speaker on cannabis-related issues, Jodrey is guiding the industry as it transitions to the so-called “Clean Rush”: a movement to regenerate the land through cannabis cultivation.
Nocona Jodrey (“Cona”)
Cona Jodrey is the son of Kevin Jodrey and helps to manage the family’s Wonderland Nursery in Humboldt County, California. When he is not supporting the family’s business, he is a multi-time and current US national champion kettleball lifter, whose results in his weight class place him in the world’s top-ten kettleball lifters for all competitive lifts.
Coda: As of today, September 28, 2020, California fires continue to rage destroying both wine and cannabis crops and facilities.