Reviewed By: Anantha Alagappan
Once in a blue moon comes a book, a movie or a series which walks away with your heart and it takes some time to settle down to normalcy. It’s been a while since I have taken a strong liking towards a television series. I am glad I watched The Vineyard, a Spanish show with English voice over on Amazon Prime. This short 10-episode series is based on a book La Templanza by Maria Duenas. It is a historical romance set in the 1860s, between two strong individuals who live in two different parts of the world.
The Vineyard Season 1 Storyline
Soledad (Leonor Watling), an heiress in the family of winemakers marries a widower, who is a wine importer to keep up the family business. Her husband is a very successful businessman in England and builds a huge empire. She leads a good content domestic life in England with her three daughters until her husband is diagnosed with dementia. Her husband’s condition becomes a dangerous predicament when he starts losing sense of time and safety. He fails to recognize people and Soledad is forced to step into the man’s world and take charge of the business.
This is not met with an approving nod by his business partners and his accountants. To make matters worse, her husband’s son, from his first wife, smells the opportunity and plots to take over the entire business and his father’s wealth. To escape the prying eyes and protect the family business, she flees to Jerez in Spain, her childhood home to La Templanza.
Mauro Laurea (Rafael Novoa) is a Spaniard who migrates to Mexico with his two small children after his wife’s untimely death. He works as a mine worker to feed his children and encounters a lot of hardships. But with a shrewd business acumen, he strikes a deal with a businessman and strikes gold in mines. He becomes rich and lives a good life with his children for a few years but his recklessness and his nature to take chances with life steals his fortune away from him. After getting his daughter married and mortgaging his house, he travels to Havana, Cuba for a fresh start and makes some money to pay off his debts.
There he gets into trouble with slave traders, those who import slaves from Africa to Cuba and make profit. He also is tantalized with the charms of an influential married woman, and makes some wrong choices. Desperate to flee from the lady and the slave traders, he agrees to play a billiards match with the lady’s husband and puts his fortune at stake, once again. This time around, he gets lucky and wins La Templanza, Soledad’s vineyard from the cunning lady’s husband, who also happens to be Soledad’s cousin. To settle his debts and secure his children’s future, he sails to Jerez to sell the vineyard.
It is only then these two incredible individuals have their first encounter, in Jerez, when they come together, it is nothing short of magic. But their pasts haunt them and danger comes in their pursuit. Soledad’s stepson arrives in Jerez to kill his imbecile father, the cunning lady from Havana comes to Jerez to claim back the fortune her husband lost in the billiards match. To make matters more complicated, Soledad’s sister Inez, still burns in vengeance and hatred against her sister for stealing her love from her. Inez has embraced sisterhood when Soledad’s husband chooses Soledad over her. But she refuses to forgive Soledad and blames her for her condition. So, when opportunity arises, she tries to steal Soledad’s husband away from her.
Torn between their love for each other and rescuing their dear ones, who are vulnerable, Soledad and Mauro have to face complex choices and make hard decisions. How they sail through this plight forms the crux of the story.
My Observations And Views On This Amazon Original TV Series
It is difficult to come up with a romance which can hold the attention of the audience. Romance is a genre which has a tendency to get stereotyped very easily. This is one of the unique romances I have seen. The chemistry between the lead pair is amazing. They are magnetically drawn towards each other but they also understand the responsibilities towards those they love. Never once does Soledad desert her husband and Mauro desert his children. They are clear on the direction they are headed to. I absolutely loved their attitude towards life. With spectacular visuals, elaborate costumes and brilliant screenplay, this series is worth our time. The screenplay is also very unique, it alternates between Soledad’s and Mauro life after every frame. So, we are able to witness their life trajectory simultaneously and by the time they both meet, the audience is fairly acquainted with their hardships and are already very attached to them and their vulnerabilities. It is one of the brilliant series I have watched in recent times.
The only thing which I did not like is the English voice over, which practically ruins the whole show. They should have let it be in Spanish with the English subtitles. But I did not mind it , this series is a classic and cannot be missed . Give it a shot.
The World of Movies Rating – 9/10
Title: The Vineyard
Based On: La templanza by María Dueñas
Year of Release: 2021
Original Network: Amazon Prime Video
Director: Guillem Morales, Alberto Ruiz Rojo, Patricia Font
Writers: Sarah Streicher, Jai Tiggett, Melissa Blake, Shalisha Francis, Amy Harris, Daniel Paige, Tonya Kong
The Vineyard Season 01 Cast Members: Leonor Watling as Soledad Montalvo, Rafael Novoa as Mauro Larrea, Emilio Gutiérrez Caba as Don Matías Montalvo, Juana Acosta as Carola Gorostiza
Genre: Drama, History, Romance, Web Series, TV Series
Number of Seasons: 01
Number of Episodes: 10
Episode Length: 45-52 minutes each
*Images created from screenshots captured from the series.