Sideways Wine Book and Movie: Pinot Noir, Rex Pickett and Yes Merlot

In this exclusive video interview below with Rex Pickett, author of the mega-hit wine book Sideways that was made into an Oscar-award-winning movie, we chat about his journey to publishing the book, how he learned about wine and why he loves pinot noir (not f****** merlot, as his character Miles would shout).


Sideways is more than just a buddy road trip through California wine country with Paul Giamatti and Thomas Haden Church. It touches on themes of love, friendship, career disappointment, loyalty, loss and of course, pinot noir. But before the movie, there was the book. A bestseller, Sideways has been translated into a dozen languages. It is my privilege today to talk with the author of that phenomenal novel, Rex Pickett.




Here’s the famous scene with Miles saying that he’s not going to drink any f****** merlot!



Here’s my favourite scene with Maya talking about why we’re so drawn to wine:



The trailer for the movie, which you must rent or buy if you haven’t seen it yet.



You can watch more celebrity wine video interviews.


 Rex’s second book Vertical


Hitching Post is the pinot noir in the movie. Rex and I tasted the last one together, which is the Highliner.


Hartley Ostini Hitching Post Cork Dancer Pinot Noir, Santa Barbara County, California

Big cherry-berry notes with a little mocha and oak. Juicy with a medium- to full-boided weight and ultra smooth texture. Food matches: teriyaki salmon. Drink: 2012 – 2016 179812 14.2% XD 750 ml  $34.95 Score: 91/100



Hitching Post Hometown Pinot Noir, Santa Barbara County, California

Incredible freshness and vibrancy for a pinot with such high alcohol. Lovely cherries and spices and a long, satisfying finish. This was the winery featured in the movie Sideways … No wonder Miles was a pinot fan! Pair with: planked salmon, pate, roast chicken. Drink: 2012 – 2015 256644 14.1% XD 750 ml $26.95 Score: 90/100





Highliner Pinot Noir, Santa Barbara County, California

Frank Ostini a chef, and Gray Hartley, a fisherman, make handcrafted Pinot Noir from vineyards in Santa Maria Valley and Santa Rita Hills. Frank and Gray first made wine at home in 1979. The project moved to a winery in 1984 to make wines exclusively for the Hitching Post Restaurant.


With the 2008 harvest, Frank and Gray moved the winemaking to Terravant Winery, a new ultra premium facility in Buellton. Their focus has been to work with some of the best growers in Santa Barbara County, from the quality vineyards of Santa Maria Valley, Santa Ynez Valley, Santa Rita Hills and Los Alamos.

The grapes are picked in the early morning and de-stemmed into 1.5 ton open-top fermentation vats. Cold maceration is allowed for several days, and then cultured yeast is added to promote a long and cool fermentation. Manual punch downs from 1-3 times/day depending on the stage of fermentation. Pressing occurs after 14-21 days directly into barrel (no settling of solids).

The wine rests in barrel until racking just before bottling. Most wines are aged in French oak barrels for 18 months and are bottled unfiltered. As the wine matures it is simply left to gently age in the barrel. 36715 14.2% 750 ml $49.95



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See all wine video chats here.


Is there someone else with a fascinating wine story whom you think I should interview? Please e-mail me: [email protected].


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