3 Myths About Merlot and the Movie Sideways


Quick! Recite a quote from the movie Sideways about Merlot. Good job if your quote was, “I’m not drinking any f*cking Merlot!” Here’s 3 things you might not know about that infamous statement by Miles:

Merlot was Miles’ ex-wife’s favorite wine – The movie doesn’t give context to why Miles so emphatically rejected the idea of drinking Merlot. It wasn’t because he didn’t like Merlot, it was because it was his ex-wife’s favorite wine.

Miles’ Special Bottle Was Merlot Based — At the end of the movie when he goes to the burger stand after the wedding and brings his ‘special’ bottle of Cheval Blanc he had been saving, it was a Merlot and Cabernet Franc dominated wine.

Merlot is Inferior — Miles loves Pinot Noir, which grows plentifully in the Santa Barbara region near his house. There are over 8,000 grape varietals in the world but most wine lovers are aware of only a handful. Merlot is the main grape in some of the most collectable wines in the world including Le Pin and Petrus from Bordeaux and is Cabernet Sauvignon’s BFF blended in with many wines on the domestic market.

In the month of October wine lovers will have a chance to discover new Merlot wines, meet wine makers and find new cooler weather recipes to make with Merlot. Just follow the #MerlotMe hash tag online.


  18 comments for “3 Myths About Merlot and the Movie Sideways

  1. Louis
    October 3, 2013 at 8:24 PM

    Thanks for finally explaining that, Rick. Not being that knowledgible about wine I couldn’t understand why this was such a great joke to everyone in the theater except me. Now it makes sense. Sorry to delve into movie trivia but wasn’t Miles living in San Diego? Are there many vineyards in that part of the state and, if so, what grapes are predominent there?

    • October 4, 2013 at 7:06 AM

      Thanks for taking a look, Louis. I believe Miles did live in San Diego which is an hour to an hour and a half south of Santa Barbara where he was. Santa Barbara’s wine county is heavy in Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Rhone varietals due to its colder temperatures and soils.

      • zoeldar
        October 11, 2013 at 9:44 AM

        Well, if you can drive San Diego to Santa Barbara in 90 minutes, you’re faster than the plane. Actually, SB is about an hour north of Los Angeles, and San Diego is 2 hours south of LA. All told, to hit Santa B in under 3 hours is pretty reasonable, excluding the rare traffic congestion in greater LA or SD.


  2. October 3, 2013 at 9:44 PM

    Great post
    Rick. We love Merlot. Sideways is a classic and Miles was a whiny little
    bitch who stole money from his mom to go drinking. Nuff said.

  3. todd donovan
    October 3, 2013 at 11:07 PM

    Great points Rick! As a big fan of that movie it kills me to watch Miles drink his prise trophy wine out of a styrofoam cup!

  4. Stuart Halliday
    October 4, 2013 at 9:13 AM

    One of the most memorable bottles of wine I drank in my early 20s was from a Vegemite Jar(82 John Riddoch,John Wades 1st vintage)
    It doesn’t matter what the vessel is,as long as it reaches your mouth

  5. October 4, 2013 at 1:13 PM

    Found this out a few years ago and the movie has a totally different meaning after you know the “why” he won’t drinking any f***ing Merlot. What a great film for wine lovers. Have you read Vertical? I have it but haven’t yet. I know they are tasting and traveling through my backyard Pinotville as we call it or the Willamette Valley :).

  6. October 4, 2013 at 1:49 PM

    Correction on the geography. In the book at least, Miles lived in Santa Monica, which is a Los Angeles suburb and roughly one and a half hours from the Santa Barbara area. (Specifically more like 90 minutes to Santa Barbara and another 30 minutes to the Santa Ynez Valley). San Diego is about two hours south of Los Angeles, so about 4 hours south of Santa Ynez valley. And just for the record – although the movie was great fun, the book was even better!!

  7. October 12, 2013 at 12:43 PM

    When the U.S. market pays attention to Merlot, I love it. The Sideways debacle really hurt quality Merlot producers, even to the point of many estate wineries pulling the vines out and replanting other varietals. Very sad. Please get the word around. There is good Merlot outside of Bordeaux. With all the poorly made U.S. Merlot out there it pays to be picky… I hope some folks will try the quality value producers like Shafer and Twomey, but also premium ones like Paloma and Pride Mountain. Let’s bring Merlot back in the U.S.!

  8. October 14, 2013 at 8:36 AM

    Sadly in the UK the scales have swung the other way. We now have a wine called I ♥ merlot. For those interested, here was our take on it: Unfortunately, it tastes like blackcurrant-flavoured paraffin. We remain, quite literally, heartless.

    • December 7, 2013 at 6:09 PM

      Yikes! How is it?

    • November 14, 2014 at 3:40 PM

      Haven’t seen that one here…thankfully.

  9. Jodi Magee
    October 30, 2014 at 11:25 PM

    People! Please don’t overlook Washington State Merlots!! We Rock!! Try us! We can talk!

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