The Sideways Effect

Santa Barbara County prospers from the wine film's success
From the Apr 30, 2005, issue
Who knew that a buddy flick about a weeklong epicurean romp through bucolic Santa Barbara County would become one of 2004's most acclaimed films? Who knew that a bittersweet tale of love and disappointment could feature the elusive, eccentric Pinot Noir grape as one of its central characters? And who knew that a clever ribbing at wine snobbery—packed with cheap shots at defenseless varietals, obnoxious enophiles, tasting-room debauchery and an unforgettable encounter with a spit bucket—would turn so many moviegoers into wine buffs? Not the folks in Santa Barbara County wine country, but they're not complaining.

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