Oddly enough, he doesn't. Yet here we are anyway, with John Cleese – Wine for the Confused, a chance for him – and, by proxy, us – to learn about all things wine: How it's made, how to describe it and why it costs so much at a restaurant.
The documentary – designed to fit snugly into a two-hour block on the Food Network – features Cleese learning about the terminology used to describe wine (with several friends, including Brendan Fraser), traveling to different wineries on California's central coast and talking about what wine to serve with what dishes.
Having a wine neophyte host like Cleese adds a different air to the documentary. Usually a narrator's job is to be or sound like an expert, but the charm of Cleese is that it really does sound like he's discovering the information at the same time we are. It's a nice change of pace.
However, the documentary spends a good deal of time focusing on the most popular wine types. There is no substitute for tasting it, though; all the descriptors in the world will not help me decide whether I like merlot better than pinot noir without having some.
In addition, because of the participation of Cleese, a good amount of time is thrown away on useless information. Yes, Cleese does well in the disc's "funny" material, such as the overblown introduction to a faux wine documentary, but there seems to be a lot of information to impart about wine, and at 92 minutes, there doesn't seem to be a lot of substance here.