After a career as a computer engineer and later as a TV actor, Jerry Bell Jr., of Beaverton, Oregon, found his niche as the director of documentary films that trace the rise of winemakers of color. His film, Red, White & Black: An Oregon Wine Story, about Oregon\u2019s wine industry, debuted earlier this year. Next up is Journey Between the Vines: The Black Winemakers\u2019 Story, which takes a national focus.\r\n\r\nHow did you become interested in wine as a documentary film subject?\r\n\r\nI didn\u2019t know anything about wine. For me, wine had to be sweet. But I bumped into an acquaintance, Bertony Faustin, at a wine festival and learned he was making wine at his own place, Abbey Creek Vineyard in North Plains, Oregon. He was telling me all about the challenges he\u2019d faced as the state\u2019s first recorded black winemaker and said he\u2019d like to do a documentary. I talked him into letting me do it.\r\n\r\nWhat was your connection to the film industry at that time?\r\n\r\nI left Intel [Corporation] to pursue my passion of TV and film acting. One of the commercials for Swiffer that I made with my young son, Jerry Bell III, went national and was so popular I had to put up a fan page on Facebook. I still do acting, but I like sharing people\u2019s stories. Now I direct and produce films.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nHow did you finance the film?\r\n\r\nPrimarily through the sale of wine. The winemakers in the film made a wine called Red, White & Black Collaboration. We sold out of it really fast. The winemakers poured and sold their own wines at all our screenings, too.\r\n\r\nWhat are you hoping viewers will get from watching your documentary?\r\n\r\nI feel like it\u2019s a good education opportunity and inspiring to any minority who\u2019s interested in doing this. I wanted to highlight the challenges, but I also wanted to celebrate the fact that they\u2019re doing this in an industry that lacks diversity. Minorities bring different cultures and different experiences to wine.\r\n\r\nHave you learned to appreciate wine more since you started this project?\r\n\r\nIt was a huge learning curve, just getting the lingo down. But being a wine-film director has its benefits, big time. I have a new appreciation of wine. And your appreciation changes once you know the winemakers and know a little bit about their story. That helps a lot.