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Thursday, January 28, 2010

The "Sideways" and "Bottle Shock" effect

I was just watching the movie "Bottle Shock" for the umpteenth time on HBO and got to thinking about what the heck people think of the wine country life style after seeing these movies.



A 2004 buddy movie about a couple guys with some personal issues who take a few days to get buzzed north of Santa Barbara in the Santa Ynez wine country.

They get drunk, call their ex's, smash up the car on purpose, and pick up girls at the wineries.

Shortly after the "Sideways" phenomenon started a guy at a winery hospitality seminar complained to me that he wished they'd made that movie in Oregon where he was from. The Central Coast area of CA got a lot of free publicity and get many people coming through on a "Sideways tour."

How many of the guys try to pick up the ladies working behind the bars in the tasting rooms--well, you can just imagine. I actually heard of that happening to someone I know locally as two guys made their way around the bar in a Sonoma Valley winery trying to pick up the women working there. I'm assuming they tried this in several of their stops. Come on guys, you have to buy a couple cases of wine for that to work. :)

After years of riding the "French paradox" to increased sales Merlot got blasted in the movie and you know what? People bought into it and decided Merlot was "out." Wine is a trendy business.
OK, there is some truth to their slam on Merlot. It got very popular and became a commodity wine--something you'd order and drink without thinking about it. Which is good because a lot of Merlot became nondescript.

Pinot Noir
Pinot got praised and while it was already on its way to becoming a more popular varietal the boost from "Sideways" was amazing. In case you weren't yet aware, Pinot is the wine people in the know are seeking out. Wine is a trendy business.

"Bottle Shock"


This is a pleasant movie that not many people have seen. It's about Napa Valley in the mid-70's when Chateau Montelena won the famous Paris Tasting that put Napa on the map.

Montelena won the white wine tasting in Paris for their Chardonnay; Stag's Leap for their Cabernet. The movie's focus was Napa Valley and Montelena, but didn't mention the Chardonnay was actually from Alexander Valley in Sonoma. I'm sure they are enjoying the free publicity regardless.

It's really a decent movie. I've seen it several times and enjoy it every time. It helps that it's local to me, I guess.

So, the lifestyle is ...

You get up, commute to work in traffic (if you're not one of the 10-12% unemployed), go home and fix dinner. OK, there are dozens of excellent restaurants that we have to ourselves in the winter, but you can't afford many of them too often.

For a weekend diversion you can always go wine tasting, but never go to Napa on a summer or holiday weekend!