Eleven-year-old Max Skinner (Freddie Highmore
) is being educated in the gentle art of savouring life – and wine – while summering on the vineyard estate of his earthy aesthete uncle Henry (Albert Finney
). Fast forward 25 years: Max (Russell Crowe
) has become a self-satisfied financier, striding through the steel-and-glass world of London business, a trail of dodgy deals, one-night stands and tyrannized underlings in his wake. He has just made another killing when he learns Henry has passed away, leaving Max the sole beneficiary. Max smells a profit and arranges a quick trip to France to appraise the old property. But can he callously sell off this vestige of his idyllic childhood?
Max’s haste to close the deal falters as wild cards are thrown his way. There’s the crumbling, careworn property itself. There’s M. Duflot (Didier Bourdon), the surly estate winemaker, who stubbornly clings to his post; the town siren, Fanny (Marion Cotillard), who haughtily fends off advances from a smitten Max; and the sun-kissed California beauty (Abbie Cornish) who shows up on the doorstep, claiming to be a long-lost cousin with a claim to Henry’s estate.
As Max reflects on his happy memories of the place, he finds himself pulled in all directions.