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  • Writer's pictureTony Elvin

Jurassic Park with Wine at The Mockingbird

Updated: Apr 30

Thank you so much to everyone that joined us for our first ever Mockingbird event: Jurassic Park with Wine. We hope you enjoyed it as much as we did and that you returned home safely in your helicopters.

Read on for details on all the wines from the evening, our gallery of photos, and a bunch of trivia.

As promised, these are the wines we enjoyed, raided from John Hammond's cellar ...

Our Ancient Wine-a-saurs

Sparkling Passerina 'Loved and Found Range', Marche, ITA - Waitrose £9.99

This Anicent, rare variety, grown in Marche on Italy's Eastern coast has been used to make this excellent sparkling wine with notes of jasmine, citrus, apple and peach.

'Tre Fiori' Greco di Tufo, Campania, ITA - Waitrose £11.99

Another Italian wine, another ancient grape and another wine from Waitrose. We were planning to use a superb 92 point scoring Greco di Tufo from Lidl but they were sold out. This is just as good but more expensive. Campania can be found on the shin of Italy's boot, boasting rugged volcanic vineyards near Naples. Honeysuckle and almonds on the nose, grapefruit, melon and citrus on the palate.

Zibibbo 'Lost and Found Range', Sicily, ITA - Waitrose £9.99

More ancient rediscovery in Italy through Waitrose. This perfumed white from the Muscat of Alexandria grape dates back 5000 years to the Egyptian city of Alexandria. Phoenicians took the grape to Sicily and the Romans planted the vines across Europe. One of the few wine grapes also used to make table grapes and raisins, Z'bib actually means dried grape. Aromatic, medium dry, with exotic fruit flavours.

M&S 'Found' range Saperavi, Kakheti, GEO - M&S £9.00

Georgia, often referred to as the seat of wine making due to their 8000 year history with the vine. Saperavi is their signature red grape. Ripe cherries, blackberries and plum with a hint of vanilla from aging a small portion of the grape juice in oak barrels.

Two Hands 'Tenacity' Old Vine Shiraz, McClaren Vale, AUS - Majestic £9.99/£14.99

One of the oldest grapes on the planet, Shiraz or Syrah as it is also referred to has a modern spiritual home in both the Rhone Valley and in Australia. However legend has it that this wine comes from another of the original, historic wine producing countries, Iran and more specifically the former Persian capital Shiraz where is was grown some 7000 years ago. The name Syrah is thought to have latterly come from the Italian town of Syracuse where Roman soldiers planted vines. It was a Brit, the Grandfather of Austraian Wine, James Busby who took Shiraz cuttings to Australia. Black fruits are in abundance when you taste this wine, along with notes of black pepper, chocolate, jam and spice.

Which was your favourite?

  • Sparkling Passerina, Marche ITA

  • Greco di Tufo, Campania ITA

  • Zibibbo, Sicily ITA

  • Saperavi, Kakheti GEO

Galleriasaurus Next!


Some highlights from our movie trivia ...

Interest in paleontology waned during the Atomic Age and Space Race, but according to Dr. Nate Smith of the Natural History Museum's Dinosaur Institute, "Jurassic Park coming out generated a bunch of interest amongst young people that wanted to become paleontologists and get into the field." As a result, numerous new dinosaur species have been discovered since then, at roughly the rate of 50 new discoveries per year, or about one per week.

Universal Pictures paid Michael Crichton $2 million for the rights to his novel before it was even published, he estimates that just 10-20% of the book is actually in the movie.

This movie won all three Oscars for which it was nominated: Best Sound, Best Sound Effects Editing, and Best Visual Effects.

When Michael Crichton was asked why the novel has "Jurassic" in the title, and has a dinosaur from the Cretaceous period on the cover, he replied that had never occurred to him, and admitted "that was just the best looking design".

Michael Crichton wrote the novel in 1990, but he first got the idea in 1981. Crichton wasn't sure how to plausibly bring dinosaurs back to life until he learned about insects in amber preserving their DNA, which was the breakthrough he had been looking for. He later learned the idea is hypothetically possible. A weevil, containing dinosaur blood from more than sixty-five million years ago was discovered in amber. But DNA quickly breaks down in an insect, which is why Jurassic Park's dinosaurs are more fictional.

Director Steven Spielberg wanted the velociraptors to be about ten feet tall, but real Velociraptors were actually less than a metre tall, much smaller than the ones depicted in the movie. Shortly after the movie release, a dinosaur was discovered in Utah that was almost identical to the Velociraptor in the movie. Although the idea was finally scrapped, one of the proposed names for the new species was "Utahraptor spielbergi".

Classic giant monster films like King Kong (1933) and Godzilla (1954) were major influences on Steven Spielberg and the main reason why he wanted to direct it. Spielberg payed homage to Kong in the film with Dr. Ian Malcolm uttering "What have they got in there? King Kong?"

The crew had to have safety meetings about the T. Rex. It weighed 12,000 pounds, and was extremely powerful. They used flashing lights to announce when it was about to come on, to alert the crew, because if you stood next to it and the head went by at speed, it felt like a bus going by.

James Cameron has stated that he wanted to make this movie, but the rights were bought "a few hours" before he could bid. Upon seeing this movie, Cameron realised that Steven Spielberg was the better choice to direct it, as his version would've been much more violent ("Aliens (1986) with dinosaurs") which "wouldn't have been fair" to children, who relate to dinosaurs. The visual effects were directly influenced by Cameron's Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991), our next Movie with Wine at The Mockingbird.

James Cameron said in an interview he wanted to do the movie with Arnold Schwarzenegger as Grant, Bill Paxton as Malcolm, and Charlton Heston as Hammond. You can see this would have been a very different movie.

The dung from the poorly Triceratops didn't smell at all. It was made of clay, mud, and straw. It was drizzled in honey and papayas so flies would swarm near it. You may have seen a picture of Spielberg posing with the Triceratops on set. This was shared on Facebook in 2014 and crazily the internet had a melt down over the photo with accusations that Spielberg was a trophy hunter.

When Grant feeds the Brachiosaur, the head was twelve feet high, on a dolly, so it could move in on wheels, and the actors and actress would have something to which to react. The Brachiosaur snot was methacryl; Steven Spielberg insisted it be green, if it has a cold. Ariana Richards gets asked about that scene in every Jurassic Park interview; she refuses to talk about it anymore.

Sandra Bullock, Gwyneth Paltrow, Julianne Moore, Helen Hunt, Teri Hatcher, Elizabeth Hurley, and Sherilyn Fenn tested for the role of Ellie Sattler. Moore went on to play Dr. Sarah Harding in The Lost World: Jurassic Park (1997).

Sean Connery turned down the role of John Hammond.

Jim Carey was considered for the role of Ian Malcolm but Michael Keaton, Bruce Campbell, Johnny Depp, Ted Danson, Steve Guttenberg, and Michael J. Fox all screentested for the part of Malcolm. Campbell ended up starring in another Michael Crichton adaptation, Congo (1995).

William Hurt was offered the role of Dr. Grant, but he turned it down without reading the book or the script and Kurt Russell turned it down on the basis of salary demands.

Something I can relate to .. Sir Sam Neill struggled to affect an American accent for his role. Halfway through the first day of filming, Spielberg told him to forget it and just talk with his regular voice. Two days later, he asked him to "go halfway" between the two voices.

Some spoiler trivia we couldn't share on the night ..

The original ending had a rib from the T. Rex skeleton skewer one of the Raptors, and the jaw drops and kills the other. But it seemed too phony, and the crew approached Steven Spielberg to come up with a better ending. They all pitched ideas, but Spielberg came up with the finale. He needed the T. Rex to be the star at the end.

Samuel L. Jackson was supposed to fly to Hawaii to film Arnold's death scene, but a hurricane destroyed the set, and the scene had to be scrapped. He regrets this, because he was physically chased by them and killed, and he really wanted to do it.

 In "Return to Jurassic Park", the two hour making-of documentary released for Blu-ray, Steven Spielberg admits that the shot of the Barbasol can falling away from Nedry and being covered in mud was intentionally inserted to set-up a potential sequel. It was not until Michael Crichton's second book, "The Lost World", where Spielberg then realized the story would go in a different direction.

In the original novel, the armed forces of Costa Rica play a key role in the end of the story, both rescuing and holding the surviving characters and bombing the island and the dinosaurs into oblivion. Filmmakers decided against this idea for budgetary reasons and to remain open the possibility of any sequels but, interestingly, this is also a mistake by author Michael Crichton himself, since Costa Rica hasn't had a military force since 1948.

Thank you!

We are back at the Mockingbird again very soon for more great wine and movie fun with Terminator 2 and Goodfellas, we hope you can make it! In the meantime, why not check out our website or sign up to our monthly mailing list to find out about our new events first:

Tony and the Wine Events Co Crew


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