The Wines in Sideways

Sideways_guide Because my blog and webstore show up on a lot of Sideways-related searches (not by accident, I assure you), I often get asked questions about the movie.  The most common among them is "What wines were shown in Sideways?"

Sideways was produced as an independent film, and had no budget for product placements.  So the wines that made their way into the film were those loved by the Writers (both book and screen) and Director.  Though a good listing is included in the small book from New Market Press "The Sideways Guide to Wine and Life" ($6.95 at our store and elsewhere), I’ve identified a few additional wines as well…

The Wines of Sideways:

  1. Byron, 1992 Sparkling Wine (sadly, Byron no longer produces a sparkling wine).  This wine makes a brief appearance as Jack pops the cork in Miles’ car as they leave the house of his future in-laws), then proceeds to guzzle this rare gem from a common all-purpose glass that looks as if it was rescued from a 1990-era tasting room.
  2. Sanford Vin Gris – this is the first wine tasted by Jack and Miles once they finally begin their first day of tasting.  The scene is filmed in the Sanford tasting room and features the former Sanford Tasting Room Manager – the pony-tailed man in the cowboy hat – who achieved a fair amount of fame from that scene.  I feel it is safe to say no Tasting Room Manager has ever been asked more frequently for their autograph, or to appear in photos with visitors.
  3. Foxen Vineyards – though no specific wine bottle made it on screen, this is where the Tasting Room employee turns her back long enough for Jack and Miles to fill their glass and guzzle – not one of the movie’s better wine scenes.  For those interested, we have some of their wonderful Foothills Reserve available in our store.
  4. Kalyra Chardonnay and Cabernet Franc – this is the tasting room where Jack and Miles first Meet the flirtatious Stephanie.
  5. Fiddlehead Cellars Sauvignon Blanc, Honeysuckle.  This is the wine that sparked Miles’ interest in Maya.  After his famous "I’m NOT drinking any *#! Merlot!" line, he approaches the table where Maya and Stephanie are already seated.  This is the wine Maya is enjoying.  They discuss it briefly and then he orders a glass.  A surprisingly full and rich style of Sauvignon Blanc, it is available in our online store.
  6. Whitcraft 2001 Pinot Noir.  This is also served at the double date dinner, one of a sea of wines that starred for a few seconds during that scene.  But I give kudos to anyone who can still find any of the 2001.  Whitcraft wines are difficult to obtain even in their current vintage, and the 2001 is long gone.  An acquisitive collector’s best bet?  The auction market.
  7. Sea Smoke Botella Pinot Noir (Vintage unknown) – Also served at the same dinner.  Also amazingly rare and difficult to find.  But worth the trouble! Winemaker Kris Curran was on the San Francisco Chronicle”s "Winemaker to Watch" list, a sort of runner-up category for their "Winemaker of the Year".  This is the "entry-level" Pinot from this famed Santa Rita Hills vineyard, if you consider $40 entry level.  But relative to their other two bottlings ($50 for Southing, $70 for Ten – IF you can find them) it is a relative bargain.  Just two years ago the Botella was priced at $26.  Surprising what can happen to a wine’s perceived value after a few seconds on the silver screen.
  8. Kistler Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir (vintage unknown) – Man, that was one over-served table!  This wine also appeared in that same scene. Though neither the producer nor the vineyard were from "Sideways Country" – Central Coast – it is a fine pinot noir from another cool growing region, home to noble souls who often to toil against nature to produce such fine examples of this variety.
  9. Louis Latour Pommard Premier Cru (Vintage unknown) – yep.  Same scene. And one of three French wines mentioned or shown, along with Cheval Blanc (clicker’s warning: a most frustrating site, but worth it) and Richebourg.
  10. Andrew Murray Estate Syrah (vintage unknown).  This is the wine Maya pulls from Stephanie’s wine rack and discusses with Miles in the kitchen before they retreat to the porch.  It is the wine they’re enjoying during the scene in which Miles reveals why he loves Pinot, and Maya describes why she loves wine – the best scene in the movie, from a wine lover’s point of view.
  11. Lucas & Lewellen Neither the Vintage nor the Varietal are evident in the scene where Miles lays in bed alone, watching TV and reading magazines, while this bottle sits on the nightstand.  But for those interested, you might still buy a few of our last bottles of their Viognier here.  It is vinified by local legend, Dan Gehrs.
  12. Hitching Post, Bien Nacido Pinot Noir and Highliner Pinot Noir, vintages unknown.  After deciding to get out of the hotel room to see if Maya is at work at the Hitching Post, a disappointed Miles drinks these wines at the bar. 
  13. Cheval Blanc, 1961  In a joke surely intended for the true wine geek, this is Miles’ most prized wine, a wine he’s saved for years for just the right occasion – a Saint-Emilion Grand Cru.  And its a blend of Merlot (yes, MERLOT) and Cabernet Franc!  It’s the wine a depressed Miles drinks at the fast food restaurant from a styrofoam cup – not our recommended vessel of choice – it’s better in Riedel or other fine stemware.

Dave Chambers, Wine Merchant
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16 Replies to “The Wines in Sideways”

  1. Does anybody have any idea where to find “stovepipe” tasting glasses like the ones Miles and Jack sip from at the very first winery they visit in the movie. We’ve tried for months to find some, they’re very distinct and we really like the shape.
    Tom Glass
    Pfafftown, NC

  2. Ugh! Sorry Tom, but I’ve run out of time to research this today. Here are some suggestions that should be helpful in your search
    1. The tasting room in the scene you refer to was at the Sanford Winery. It is worth calling them (800-426-9463 (WINE) to ask about what glassware was in that scene. But be aware the movie producers may have brought their own glasses for that scene, and also that tasting rooms change glassware vendors like most people change underwear.
    2. Note, the cowboy hat/pony tail guy in that scene, “Chris”? He’s no longer there. He left after the winery was sold and Richard Sanford left to start his own brand – Alma Rosa. Calling them to see if they know what glassware they used in that scene would be my second recommendation 805-688-9090
    3. Lastly – Google a search phrase that describes the glass (tulip wine glass, or etc.) and then click on “Images”. If you find the glass, click the image and you’ll be taken to the original page, which may lead to a site where they are sold.
    Good luck!
    Dave Chambers, Wine Merchant

  3. Dave, thank you so much for posting this list! I watched the movie again for about the 7th time last night! Decided it was time to find all the wines featured in the movie to widen my favorite wines!

  4. Thanks so much for preparing this list. I really appreciate the time and effort you so clearly put into it. My boyfriend and I LOVE the movie, Sideways, and have watched it so many times that we recite the lines. We also love wine and thought it would be nice to try some of the ones that appear in the movie. This is just what we needed. Yay!

    1. Hi Sandy, thanks for your note! And sorry for my late reply – your note got lost amidst a sea of spam from global robots seeking to post the most unbelievably inane garbage using the worst language ever. Once I read your first five words I knew your comment was legitimate! I hope you’ve found some of the wines to enjoy, and that you’ll perhaps consider a few from my own curated portfolio sometime soon – boutique wines from some of the world’s most interesting producers, regions and varietals!

      Dave the Wine Merchant

    1. Greg, this response may be both stale and incomplete, but I’ve been stymied in my attempts to find the reference. And my memory is unequal to the task of remembering outright. But I seem to recall that it was a Bordeaux, not a CA red. I was hoping other readers might jump in here!

  5. Thank you Dave the Wine Merchant
    We are trying to do a wine tasting based on Sideways in the UK.
    Not many wines available over here……
    We will do our best to track what we can and get some substitutes in for the others….getting to know my USA road routes now!


    1. This is amazing. Thank you for this list. I SO wish I had a sensitive palate. Even if I were to have access to every bottle, I wonder if I would be able appreciate them the way they were meant to be. Thanks again.

  6. The reason Miles didn’t like Merlot is that it was served at his first wedding. That scene got cut in final editing. Hence his comment about Merlot in Los olivos. And he liked the varietal (in the case of the cheval Blanc). And his drinking Merlot again was the turning point where he got over his first marriage. So the decline in Merlot sales was all due to an edit, not a deliberate snub by the film or Mile’s

  7. I know this comment is ten years late, but don’t forget to add to the list the 1995 Opus One Miles mentions to Jack out near the vineyards when he reminisces a moment he had Victoria during the wine with smoked salmon and artichokes. There’s also that DRC Richeboug (unknown vintage) Maya pulls out from Stephanie’s wine fridge. As for that unknown Sassicaia mentioned in a comment above, Maya got turned on by the 1988. Wine geeks probably would prefer she had mentioned the ‘85. Hope to see your shop sometime!

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