Read This Before You Watch Drops of God
by Jason Zuliani
Wine is Having a New Moment, & Everybody is Invited
Wait, there’s a place where wine nerds and manga fans are the same people? Of course there is. And that tent is about to get much bigger.
I got my first look at Drops of God on Instagram way back in 2013. A handful of posts showed up in my feed featuring gorgeous drawings of wines I was deeply into at the time and sommeliers doing their work in wild places. The series was still only available in Japanese, but the artwork was so insane I had to track it down to flip through it for myself. Fast forward to today, and I've read all 44 books (now available in English) and Apple TV is about to release a live action version of Drops of God. People are talking about this thing like it’s going to be the next Sideways. I’m pretty sure it’s not going to inspire a whole new crop of Merlot haters to show up, but what will it do to wine culture? Maybe it will thrust Bordeaux and classic Cali wines back into the spotlight. Maybe somm culture will get a little popularity boost and recover some of its lost shine.
Trust me, you're gonna want in on this epic wine adventure!
The art in Drops of God is a wild combination of technically perfect and fantastically sumptuous, with stunning illustrations that make the world of wine come alive. From high-energy Tokyo street scenes to bucolic French vineyards, the visuals are on point. There’s a depth to the work that pulls the reader in. You'll feel like you're right there with the characters as they navigate the expansive, wild hidden world of wine.
The series is packed with wine knowledge, much of it orbiting the Twelve Apostles and the Drops of God as the main attractions. These iconic wines, like the 2001 Château Mont-Pérat (First Apostle), the 1996 Ridge Vineyards Monte Bello (Second Apostle), and the 2003 Romanée-Conti (Third Apostle), are described so vividly and with such energy that you can almost taste them. Wine nerds: this is like your “Where’s Waldo”. The dive into wine is a deep one with dozens of wines from all over the world making their way into the story. If you’re a collector you’re going to start checking you allocation emails to see if prices of Dujac, and Leroy start to climb again.
But Drops of God isn't just for wine geeks. This is full-spectrum storytelling. The series explores themes like family drama, personal growth, and chasing your passions. We follow Shizuku as he goes from a beer company employee who couldn't care less about wine to straight-up wine berserker, a journey that'll hit home for anyone on the search for meaning and fulfillment.
There's this one epic vignette where Shizuku and his friends hit up a dinner party, and every dish is perfectly paired with a wine. There’s an impressive accuracy to the scene. The manga captures the balance of flavors, textures, and aromas so well that it'll make you wanna try it yourself. But it is also rendered with such energy that you can’t help but be captivated by it.
I’m clearly a fan. I'm super curious about the upcoming Apple TV live-action adaptation. From the trailers it looks like they’re going to nail the visuals. The big questions are all about character development, and wine energy. Will they translate to the screen with the same presence and impact the manga presents? Will a whole new cohort of wine fans erupt after the series takes off?
To wrap it up, read Drops of God, watch the Apple TV series, and stay tuned here. Over the next few days we’re going to publish lists of wines from the series and maybe even get a little treasure hunt (or drinking game) off the ground.