Friday, December 17, 2004

The Sideways Effect?

Tom at Fermentations muses on what impact the indie film 'Sideways' will have on wine and popular culture. Specifically, he wonders,

"how this bandwagon fueled by wine will affect the consumption and appreciation of wine in America".

As I wrote here, I really enjoyed this movie. And no doubt, 'Sideways' is enjoying huge critical acclaim with all kinds of awards already wrapped up. And what's more director Alexander Payne, lead actor Paul Giamatti, supporting actor Thomas Haden Church and the film itself are locks for Oscar nominations. But what does all that mean for wine? Tom guesses that wine tourism, appreciation and more specifically Pinot Noir all get a boost. I don't really disagree. Pinot, as an underappreciated (by the mainstream) grape, will benefit.

I view 'Sideways' as a catalyst to accelerating wine's already growing presence in mainstream pop culture. For evidence, look no further than the latest P. Diddy hip hop video for the best sparklers. Or see the brilliant new packaging of Sofia mini champagne, which is a hot seller in nightclubs across urban America. Also, consider how many new wine bars are in your neighborhood? In fact, the movie's existence and popularity in and of itself is proof that more people are aware of wine, wine country, and wine appreciation.

For me, the larger question remains to be answered...

Can 'Sideways' have the same effect that the film 'Swingers' had on Vegas roadtrips, Dewar's Scotch Whisky, swing dancing and Sega Genesis NHL hockey?