Many years after the movie debuted, they're still giving "Sideways" tours
down in Santa Barbara County, and they will be for years to come. That's
how it is with movies that cement an image of a place in the popular mind.
Santa Barbara's wine country is now Pinot Noir country, and that's
Except that it isn't. For some of us, Santa Barbara County's
chunk of the massive Central Coast appellation is Syrah country. It's
where Zaca Mesa winery, founded in 1972, still preserves what it calls the
oldest Syrah vineyard in the Central Coast and still makes illuminating
Syrah. It's where Bob Lindquist went to work in 1975, and then founded
Qupé to make some of California's first breakthrough Syrahs
in the early 1980s. Those wines made it onto the wine list at Chez Panisse,
which wielded more influence in those days than most people can imagine,
and Syrah was effectively launched on its current rocket ride to star status.