Award Winning Film Doubles As Ad For Santa Barbara Wine Country

by | Jan 15, 2005

Virginia Madsen’s character (Maya) has a radiant paean to wine: she leans forward in her chair, has a soft light on her face and proceeds to share her passion for wine, how it is expressive of the place from which it came, how the tastes move her, and how it changes over time in the glass and in the bottle. Honestly, any wine marketing budget for TV should just clip this soliloquy since it will intrigue and possibly convert the most stubborn of beer drinkers.” –Dr. Vino

My homeboy, Alexander Payne, has a new movie out. Sideways is his first feature that ventures beyond Omaha for a setting. About Schmidt takes place partly in Denver, while Election and Citizen Ruth are solidly set in eastern Nebraska. Place is still critical to Payne’s cinematic style, however. The place in this new film is wine country. The lead character, Miles (Paul Giamatti) is a wine snob and didactic talk about wine dominates several scenes in the film.


How guys relate to women is the other territory this film explores. And it ain’t pretty. One of the more riveting scenes in the film is when Stephanie (Sandra Oh) savagely beats Jack (Thomas Hayden Church) with her motorcycle helmet for his infidelity and lying, while Miles looks helplessly on.