The movie Sideways tackles the romance and mystery of wine and wine-making the way so many films chase the magic of art and music—through stories about places and people. Virginia Madsen’s character Maya, in one nighttime scene, speaks of wine as a living thing informed by history, nature, and relationships, an organism, much like a human being, that grows, peaks, and eventually, slowly and inevitably declines: wine embroiled in mid-life crisis, mirroring the professional and personal dilemmas faced by the film’s middle-aged characters.
Fittingly, Santa Barbara’s Santa Ynez Valley, with its sun-kissed vineyards and hills and rustic, down-to-earth vibe, plays a starring role in the film. It’s hard to watch Miles and Jack, driving along the region’s winding, scenic roads from winery to winery without wanting to jump in the car and head west for your own wine-centric, Central Coast adventure.
Thankfully, the time is ripe for doing just that.
To celebrate Sideways’ high-definition debut on Blue-ray Disc as well as the DVD release of California wine country’s more recent blockbuster tribute Bottle Shock, the California Travel and Tourism Commission, along with its partners, has mapped out a driving itinerary to help fans re-visit their favorite Sideways scenes on real-life trips. The guide will come in handy, whether you’re intent on visiting Los Olivos Winery, setting for the scene in which Miles almost literally drowns his sorrows in the tasting room’s communal spit bucket, or the motel parking lot in which Stephanie (Sandra Oh) breaks Jack’s nose. To download the Sideways itinerary visit http://www.santabarbaraca.com/filmtour (click on the Sideways link); for more food- and wine-related information on the Central Coast visit http://www.landofwineandfood.com/.