Santa Barbara Wine Country


Sideways in the Santa Barbara Wine Country

The film Sideways (2004) made a star out of Santa Barbara, California's Wine Country and drummed up demand for pinot noir around the world. Directed by Alexander Payne, (Election, About Schmidt) Sideways won an Oscar® for best the adapted screenplay (based on the novel by Rex Pickett). Payne wrote the Sideways screenplay with his long-time screenwriting partner, Jim Taylor.  Sideways tells the story of a celebratory road trip saluting Jack's (Thomas Haden Church) final days as a bachelor.  A sojourn in Santa Barbara County's verdant Wine Country valleys quickly careens sideways as he and Miles (Paul Giamatti) hit the gas en route to mid-life crises.  The unlikely pair both share a heady blend of failed potential, fading youth, and a nose for drowning in wine and women (played by Sandra Oh and Virginia Madsen).

Today, you can taste your way through the Santa Barbara Wine Country on the same path forged by Miles and Jack and use the Sideways Wine Map to help guide you on your tour.

Tour Locations:


Start your Sideways tour with breakfast at Solvang Restaurant. As they sit down for breakfast, Jack grumpily insists that Miles' gloominess not thwart his attempts to get lucky before the wedding.  Begin your wine tasting where Australia meets Santa Barbara County with a visit to nearby Kalyra Winery. Here, Miles and Jack meet Stephanie, a flirtatious wine pourer who becomes the object of Jack's affection.


If you have never seen an ostrich before or had the opportunity to feed one, make sure to stop at Ostrich Land. Ostriches seen while Miles, Jack, Maya and Stephanie drive to the picnic.  Later, Jack gets acquainted with them on his "run" from Buellton to Solvang.  After feeding ostriches, you are probably getting a little hungry yourself. For your next stop on the Sideways Tour Head to lunch at Los Olivos Café & Wine Merchant where you can even order off the Sideways menu (dinner only)! Los Olivos Café is where Miles, Jack, Maya and Stephanie enjoy dinner and several exquisite bottles of wine.

Afternoon & Evening

Wine tasting awaits on your Sideways Tour!  Head to Fess Parker Winery (Frass Canyon) to see where Miles phones his agent and finds out his book will not be published.  After the pourer refuses to serve him a full glass, Miles guzzles the spit bucket. For a winery tour, make your way to Firestone Winery.  Tours are offered three times a day and guide visitors through the history of the winery and through the production of fine wine from vine to glass. This winery has the scene from Sideways where Miles, Jack, Maya and Stephanie sneak out of a wine lecture to share a romantic walk through the Barrel Room.  After tasting many of the wonderful wines found in the Santa Barbara Wine Country, finish up your Sideways Tour and enjoy a traditional Santa Maria Style BBQ dinner at the Hitching Post II. Miles and Jack share a bottle of Highliner at the bar. While having dinner, they talk to Maya who waits tables there.  Later, Miles returns on his own.

If you would like to experience more Santa Barbara County locations highlighted in the movie Sideways, save time to visit the following:

AJ Spurs
350 #. Highway 246, Buellton

Miles and Jack meet a waitress named Cami who Jack later gets tangled up with.

Andrew Murray Vineyards
Tasting Room: 2901-A Grand Avenue, Los Olivos

Miles and Jack drive through the wine country.

Foxen Winery
7200 Foxen Canyon Road, Santa Ynez

During the split screen portion of the film, Miles and Jack help themselves to full glasses when the pourer turns her back.

Lompoc Farmers' Market (Fridays 2-6pm)
Corner of Ocean Avenue & "I", Lompoc
Miles and Maya walk through the market.

River Course at the Alisal Guest Ranch
150 Alisal Road, Solvang
While golfing, Miles and Jack frighten the impatient foursome chipping into them. 

Sanford Winery
7250 Santa Rosa Road, Buellton

Miles teaches Jack the basics of wine tasting.  Chris Burroughs starts them off with the Vin Gris in which Miles smells citrus, strawberry, the faintest soupcon of asparagus and just a flutter of a nutty edam cheese.

Wine Varietals According to Miles:

Merlot is an easy-drinking red wine that has become extremely popular in the U.S.
Says Miles: Merlot, a quintessential grape, when left to its own devices almost always - Petrus notwithstanding - results in a bland characterless wine.

Chardonnay is a popular fruit-forward white.
Says Miles: Chardonnay is the most corrupted varietal in the world.

Pinot is considered the premiere red wine grape and is known for its complex, difficult-to-perfect flavors.
Says Miles:Pinot is a finicky, elusive, but rewarding varietal.

Champagne, the most famous sparkling wine, is named for its region of origin in France.  A process of double fermentation makes the tiny bubbles.
Says Miles: Champagne is a perfect transition between more serious wines, perfect when I didn't want to sober up but didn't want to goose-step into the void either.

Syrah is a dark, full-bodied, strong red wine that is best appreciated when served with food. Says Miles: We had abandoned the subtlety of Pinot for the pure unadultered list of Syrah.

Cabernet is a red wine famed for its rich, fruity flavors and heavy tannins.
Says Miles: Cabs can be rich and powerful and exalting, but they usually seem prosaic to me for some reason.

Riesling is a sweeter white wine often served with dessert, though gaining in popularity as a dinner wine.
Says Miles: I used to think Riesling was indicative of an unsophisticated palate, lack of taste, but not anymore.

Sauvignon Blanc is a lighter white wine featuring herbal flavors; it is considered the new alternative to Chardonnay.
Says Miles: The Sauvignon was steely; mineral and gunmetal on the palate, but bright and citrusy.

For more information on Sideways fun, contact the Sales Department at:
Visit Santa Barbara and Film Commission
p:  805.966.9222

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