‘Being locked up in our houses during the pandemic has allowed us to appreciate pleasures like wine’

Distributors Legendary Television
Producers Dynamic Television; Legendary Television
Length 8 x 60 minutes
Broadcasters France Télévisions; Hulu Japan

If you are looking for a show that embodies how the global television industry’s cultural and geographical barriers have been broken down by the rise of streaming, look no further than Drops Of God.

The tri-lingual (English, French and Japanese) series is based on a Japanese manga graphic novel series of the same name, and is set in the world of gastronomy and oenology (the study of wine).

It hails from French-Vietnamese writer Quoc Dang Tran (Call My Agent; Marianne; Parallèles) and was commissioned by French public broadcaster France Télévisions and Hulu in Japan.

Drops of God 1

With the action taking place across Paris, Tokyo and Italy, Drops Of God is a story of family, inheritance and interpersonal rivalry sloshing around the fine wine industry.

When pre-eminent oenologist Alexandre Léger, creator of the famous Léger Wine Guide, passes away at his home in Tokyo, the gastronomic and fine wine industries are left mourning an icon. In Paris, his daughter Camille, who has not seen her father since her parents separated in her childhood, is summoned to Japan for his will reading.

She discovers that Léger has left her an extraordinary wine collection – the greatest in the world, according to experts. To claim her inheritance, however, Camille must compete with a brilliant young oenologist – Issei Tomine, her father’s protégé and often referred to as Léger’s “spiritual son”. But is their connection more than spiritual?

The sweeping international co-production is produced by Borgia’s Klaus Zimmermann for Dynamic Television, while Israeli director Oded Ruskin (No Man’s Land; False Flag) helms an international cast including Das Boot’s Fleur Geffrier and Tomohisa Yamashita (The Man From Toronto).

Co-producer Legendary got involved with the project through executive producer Anne Thomopoulos, who had previously worked with Zimmermann on Borgia.

“We’re very interested in doing high-level content. The scripts were interesting, the underlying IP was interesting, so it was pretty simple,” says Thomopoulos. “We’re interested in finding great voices and there was a great one in this.”

Thomopoulos says the “specificity” of the wine world, and the perhaps “unlikely pairing” of Franco-Japanese cultures, melds nicely with the “universality of a family drama” to present a premium series with recognisable themes for buyers and viewers alike.

“Gastronomy and ideas of the production and value of food are things people are much more in touch with now”

Concerns over the rarefied associations of wine programming are dismissed by the former HBO exec. “Wine spans all cultures and classes,” she says. “Gastronomy and ideas of the production and value of food are things people are much more in touch with now than they might have been a couple of years ago.

“Being locked up in our houses during the pandemic has allowed us to appreciate pleasures like wine.”

The talent involved in Drops Of God helps elevate the subject matter, Thomopoulos adds, making the show a prime target for streamers, because the “multiple languages and cultures would allow an SVoD to speak to multiple territories”.

The pairing of wine and “complicated family relationships” mean there are few limits on where the series could sell, she adds.