‘Sideways’ Fans to Raise a Glass in Wine Country

The merlot-free movie, which shone a warm light on the Santa Ynez Valley, will be at the heart of a three-day grape gathering.


MOVIE LOCATIONS? You can probably name a dozen, right now, without scrunching up your forehead too hard. For every cinema fan has a tendency to associate locations with beloved films, and thinking of those films while visiting those locations is as natural as asking the locals for the best place to eat. But few works made a splash like 2004's "Sideways." Make that a wine-hued splash, for the Alexander Payne-helmed treat basked in the grape-tastic glories of the Santa Ynez Valley and its many wineries and foodie charms. Buellton is seen on screen, as is Solvang, and a number of stunning, vine-laden vistas. And while 15 years have passed since the cabernet-scented classic debuted on the big screen, the wine country of the SYV is still hosting visitors who want to know where Miles and Maya raised a glass, found each other, and found themselves, too.

YOU CAN RAISE A GLASS, from Oct. 18-20, when Sideways Fest flowers in the area. It's a gathering of fans of the film, yes, and those who adore the acclaimed libations of the area, as well as the pros, and prose, behind the bottles. Head to the Solvang Theatre Fest on Friday night for the Sideways Movie Experience, or find your way to River View Park in Buellton on Oct. 20 for the Sideways Wine Festival. You'll likely run into other mavens of the movie as you jaunt around the area. The cinematic sip-around is one of the major parts of the delicious Taste of the Santa Ynez Valley, which is also lining up the glasses over the fine fall weekend. Did you love "Sideways"? Are you forever enamored with the soft SYV hills and quaint wineries it depicts? Start here for your movie-inspired adventure.

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