Santa Barbara Stories and Tips

Sideways tour

Firestone Photo, Santa Barbara, California

The movie sideways brought many visitors to the Santa Barbara wine region. The good news is that more people are learning about wine, the bad news is that there are many people who don't care about the wine, they just want to see where the movie shots were taken. They fill up the tasting rooms and don't purchase wine or don't seem to care about the education that the pourers are willing to share. It can be fustrating to have to wait to sample a new release from one of your favorite wineries as someone else is hogging the bar only to ask questions about the movie.

For the die-hards who have to go everywhere that the movie was filmed I'll give a bit of my own experiences about the locations in the movie. AJ Spurs is a nice steakhouse but nothing spectacular, I'd go to Los Olivos Cafe, The Firestone Brewery, Mattie's Tavern, or one of the smaller restaurants in Solvang if you're really into a well-prepared meal.

Kalyra Winery (where Stephanie works) is a fabulous little winery next to Sunstone (if you go to Kalyra take a little extra time to go to Sunstone to sample their Merlot). Kalyra is an Australian winery that has a rustic tasting room,some fun wine and fun stories to go with them. The staff is always friendly and willing to help educate those who are interested.

Sanford Winery is one of my favorites for their Blush Wines and their Pinot, I honestly believe they have one of the best Pinot's in the region (I'm sure Miles will agree). The drive into the winery is lined with vines and you cross a small stream, definitly worth visiting.

Fess Parker was known as Frass Canyon in the movie and I agree with the name. Frass means insect excretion (as I was told by the staff members at one of my favorie wineries, see what you learn if you listen to them). The staff has always been snooty and I've never found a wine I've liked at Fess Parker. I got a kick out of the choice of this winery being represented in the movie as the one with the worst wine.

Firestone winery is where they shot the scene of the foursome walking through the Barrel Room. I love Firestone and would highly recommend it even though their tasting room is always crowded. Go on their tour and you can walk right down past the same barrels that the actors passed.

Los Olivos Cafe is where the foursome dines together but Miles drinks a bit to much. I can see how this could happen as they have a huge selection of great local wine. Their food is fabulous, I would definitely make a reservation and dine at this fun trendy restaurant.

The Solvang Restaurant is where Miles and Jack sit down for breakfast and like many of the small breakfast bakeries and restarants in the town of Solvang it's a great place to have a meal before you venture out to the wineries. I haven't been to Ostrich Land, but I'm sure it's a kick to visit.

Good luck going sideways--cheers.

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