Movie Star Max Thieriot Reveals his Wine Project Secrets

The actor and star of Bates Motel chats about co-founding his Sonoma Coast wine project, Senses.

Do you see a connection between making movies and making wine? 

Being a part of a film from the beginning to its release is sort of like making a bottle of wine. The location, the people involved, and so many other creative choices along the way ultimately define the product that will be released to the public. Whether it’s a movie or a bottle of wine, at the end of the process, you have put countless hours and all of your energy into the final product in hopes that the audience or customers will cherish and enjoy what you have worked so hard to make.

When did you become interested in wine?

I began to have a real appreciation for wines when I saw how much pairing with different foods really influenced the taste of the wine. Watching my dad for so many years in the vineyard, I always knew I wanted to be a part of the industry, but my real passion was sparked when I was able to drink and appreciate the complexity and unique process that went into each bottle.

Outside of your own wine projects, are there other styles, regions and producers that interest you right now?

A recent interest of mine is cult Cabernet Sauvignon, and lately, I have had a lot of fun trying new Pinot Noirs from a variety of producers and wine regions. I have made a commitment to myself to taste wines from all different regions so I can broaden my understanding of wine. Wherever I am filming, I am always sure to grab some local wines. It has given me a great excuse to try things outside of the California producers that I have become fond of.

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What wines do you try to have with you on set? Anything in particular that helps the creative process?

I always try to bring Senses with me to share with cast and crew. I find that a nice glass of Pinot Noir is a great way to unwind after filming the tormented scenes of Bates Motel.

Do you have any favorite movie scenes that include wine?

Number one: The Silence of the Lambs scene where Hannibal Lecter says to Clarice Starling, “A census taker once tried to test me. I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice Chianti.” Number two: In Tombstone, the Latin conversation bar scene between Doc Holliday and Johnny Ringo where Doc says, “In vino veritas.” And there will be a dinner scene [in] this season of Bates Motel where we drink Senses, so I am very excited about that. It sure was a lot of fun to film!

Published on March 31, 2015
Topics: Celebrity WIne, Wine and Film, Wine Trends
About the Author
Virginie Boone
Contributing Editor

Reviews wines from California.

Contributing Editor Virginie Boone has been with Wine Enthusiast since 2010, and reviews the wines of Napa and Sonoma. Boone began her writing career with Lonely Planet travel guides, which eventually led to California-focused wine coverage. She contributes to the Santa Rosa Press Democrat and Sonoma Magazine, and is a regular panelist and speaker on wine topics in California and beyond. Email:

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