Sideways 2 – Merlot Strikes Back

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Can you believe it has been six years since the movie Sideways came out? It was released all the way back in 2004. If you haven’t seen this movie yet I highly recommend it. For the uninitiated the trailer and the review by Ebert & Roeper are included at the bottom of this post. The film is equally funny if you know a wine snob or happen to be one yourself. No interest in wine is required to enjoy the film, however.

The film is about an aspiring writer named Miles (played excellently by Paul Giamatti who should have won an Oscar) who is a bit of a wine snob and still hasn’t moved on with his life following his divorce. Miles and his friend and former college roommate Jack (played hilariously by Thomas Haden Church) decide to spend a week in California’s Santa Ynez Valley wine country as a send off to Jack who is to be married at the end of the week. Miles wants to turn his friend onto wine, eat good food, play golf and enjoy the scenery. Jack just wants to “get his nut” with one last sexual fling before getting hitched. The week they share is at times hilarious, touching, sad, disturbing and poignant.

One of the most famous scenes from the movie, perhaps, is:

Jack: If they want to drink Merlot, we’re drinking Merlot.
Miles: No, if anyone orders Merlot, I’m leaving. I am NOT drinking any fucking Merlot!

One of the recurring notes of the film is the constant denigration of Merlot by Miles. You see he has a particular penchant for the red wine varietal Pinot Noir. Interestingly the movie had an effect on the wine market:

Throughout the film, Miles speaks fondly of the red wine varietal Pinot Noir, while denigrating Merlot. Following the film’s U.S. release in October 2004, Merlot sales dropped 2% while Pinot Noir sales increased 16% in the Western United States. A similar trend occurred in British wine outlets. Sales of Merlot dropped after the film’s release possibly due to Miles’ disparaging remarks about the varietal in the film. However, sales of Merlot in the United States remain more than double those of Pinot Noir, the country’s second most popular wine. (Source.)

The movie was based on the book “Sideways” by Rex Pickett. The novel on which the movie was based is said to be largely autobiographical even including the scene where Miles famously drinks from a spit bucket:

Q: Why did you drink from a spit bucket?

A: I was at Epicurious. It was a special tasting upstairs. It was high-end Cab. They weren’t really spitting, they were dumping. Maybe a few had spit. You’ve got to understand, I was broke back then. I thought, “Wait a minute, there’s a lot of good Cab in there.” I picked it up and drank from it. They talked about that for months. I knew it had to go into the novel.

Q: So how did it taste?

A: I admit, I was a little drunk at this point. I think I said something like, “This is a great Meritage.” Honestly, it’s a true story. But I didn’t guzzle from it. Let’s get that straight.


Did I mention this is an awesome movie? With scenes like this and plenty of others that rival it how can you go wrong? 🙂

It has been reported that Pickett is writing a sequel after a trip to Oregon and being told he “missed the boat, that the real pinot noir story was in Oregon.” (Source.)

Details are still a bit sketchy on the sequel, but the gist is that Jack’s marriage has failed. Big surprise, eh? Sorry Napa Valley, you get dissed again. This trip finds Milo and Jack together again and on their way to Oregon’s Willamette Valley in search of more pinot noir. No doubt there will be plenty of fun along the way but eventually they find themselves in Yamhill County where they decide to crash (and succeed) at getting into an event know as the International Pinot Noir Celebration. I don’t know much else about the plot, but I seriously doubt Merlot will strike back. I don’t anticipate Miles’ preference changing in that department.

Other than the report linked above stating that Pickett is writing the sequel I can find no other information about a possible sequel. There appears to be no movie deal at this time and no commitments by any of the actors to reprise their roles. But he’s hoping.

If a sequel does happen, I’ll even pop a bottle of pinot noir and try to find out what Miles sees in it. 🙂

Sideways trailer:

Sideways reviewed by Ebert and Roeper:

9 responses

  1. Coming from someone who ranks Avatar above the original Star Wars.


  2. Wow, six years? Where has the time gone? Thanks for reminding me of this movie, which I thoroughly loved.

    I also loved that this movie was filmed in the Solvang/Santa Inez Valley area, not in Napa or Sonoma. Here’s a little promo on it. The Santa Barbara wine country a beautiful area, though I love Sonoma, too. I didn’t even need to drink any wine when I visited — it’s that beautiful.

    My husband and I saw the movie with some friends, one of whom declared she was giving up merlot (her previous favorite) after seeing the movie. I told her (this was when I drank wine) that I was not taking wine suggestions from a loser boozer character in a movie!

    This movie boosted or revived the careers of the four main characters, as well as business in the Santa Barbara wine country.

    Here’s a wine tasting I went to in Australia. Some serious drinking going on there, mate! Good on ya for posting this Sideways nostalgia trip. I look forward to the sequel.


  3. Thanks for the nostalgia trip! I can’t believe it’s been that long. We saw the movie with friends and enjoyed seeing the area I had just visited that year — no stops at wine tastings, though.

    One friend declared after seeing the movie that she was giving up merlot. I told her (this was when I drank wine) that I wasn’t taking wine suggestions from a loser boozer character in a movie!

    Here’s a photo in honor of wine tastings!


  4. Great movie! And I loves me some Pinot Noir. This isn’t a movie that I would have expected a sequel made of, though.
    There are a handfull of excellent wineries in the North Georgia Mountians that I visit often. It’s a great weekend getaway.
    Have you seen Bottleshock? It’s another great movie about wine and a true story.


    1. Bottle Shock was a great movie. We loved it. We almost made an effort to visit Chateau Montelena but we couldn’t arrange the travel. They apparently offer a tour that includes “separating fact from fiction” regarding the movie. 🙂


      1. That would be an awesome tour! Would be better if I could meet (touch, oogle) Alan Rickman, but I’m sure that’s asking too much.


  5. Sideways is one of my all time favorite movies i will be so delighted if a 2nd movie happens.
    Would love to see where these characters went after the movie,how there lives have developed,what kind of relationships they are involved with & of course what type of wine they are currently drinking,make it happen1


  6. […] bar – a year in reviewThe Golden Poo award: Post of the Year 2010Hyppo and Critter: Happy New Year!Sideways 2 – Merlot Strikes can eat my […]


  7. […] Website: Can you believe it has been six years since the movie Sideways came out? It was released all the way back in 2004. If you haven’t seen this movie yet I highly recommend it. For the uninitiated the trailer and the review by Ebert & Roeper are included at the bottom o … Read More […]


Bringeth forth thy pith and vinegar

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