Sideways, the 2004 film that dissed merlot and praised pinot, has had a lasting effect on pinot according to a respected retailer, who prefers not to be named. He said the film inspired pinot producers to craft a new wave of $30 to $40 bottlings, but in today’s economic downturn, they’re having trouble selling this prized pinot.


The 2004 comedy, adapted from Rex Pickett’s novel, follows two forty-something men who take a week-long road trip to the wine country of Santa Barbara. The wine-lover of the duo, portrayed by Paul Giamatti, loved pinot but detested merlot.


And merlot is still smarting in the marketplace.


There are still 2004s on the shelves, with other reds selling 2005, 2006 and 2007s,  so the merlots typically lag by a year. The upside is that there are some great merlot values because producers would rather discount labels than pay for rental space to store unsold bottles. One good example of a steal is the Charles Creek Vineyard, Hyde Vineyard, Napa Valley, Carneros Merlot, which has a suggested retail price of $30 but it’s selling for $12.


Do you see any lasting effects from Sideways? Have you scored any good discounts on merlot? On the downside, have you had to put yourself on a pinot budget?