How to visit the vineyards in ‘Wine Country’ and ‘Sideways’

"Жизнь такова, какой мы по своему нашему характеру хотим ее видеть. Мы сами придаем ей форму, как улитка своей раковине." Жюль Ренар ©
Время на прочтение: 5 минут(ы)

Loosely based on a 50th-birthday girls’ trip taken by the cast, Wine Country is a celebration of female bonding and later-life honesty set in some of California’s most spectacular countryside. While Amy Poehler and her fellow US comedy co-stars visited the vineyards of Sonoma, north of San Francisco, when it came to filming they headed for Napa Valley to the east.

  • How to visit the vineyards in Wine Country and Sideways

    This is a hang-out movie, so we get plenty of the six-strong party hanging out in their Airbnb – occasionally with their eccentric host, played by Tina Fey – and shopping and dining in the nearby town of Calistoga (pictured), strolling down Lincoln Avenue towards their first-night restaurant and then shopping in boutiques including Rove the next day. Really, though, it’s all about the wine tour – despite their collective disinterest in anything beyond the alcoholic content of what they’re drinking.

  • How to visit the vineyards in Wine Country and Sideways

    Pohler (pictured) actually co-owns a wine shop in Brooklyn (Zula, on Fifth Avenue) but is reluctant to call herself an expert, telling Wine Spectator magazine she’s more of ‘a creature of habit’ (or even ‘kind of a basic bitch’). That means Wine Country treats oenophilia with a heavy dose of satire – the gang eyeroll the experts or wander off mid-lecture, and squad-member Jenny (Emily Spivey) mutters, ‘Jeez, people really like to talk about wine around here.’

  • How to visit the vineyards in Wine Country and Sideways

    Fortunately, Napa doesn’t have to be all about varieties, bouquets and mouthfeel, as Pohler has pointed out. ‘These wineries are very impressive places to shoot, the weather is really spooky and beautiful,’ she says. ‘We got a chance to shoot in Calistoga, which is this lovely small town with very nice people who let us take over the middle of their town. And then, we also had beautiful wineries like Artesa (pictured) and Quintessa and Balducci. They opened the doors and let us go in their tunnels.’

  • How to visit the vineyards in Wine Country and Sideways

    The first stop on their itinerary is Artesa, at 1345 Henry Road, properly spectacular both in landscape and architecture with views over Napa Valley contrasting with angular building, and terraces and pools giving it the air of an exclusive resort rather than an agricultural concern. Designed by Domingo Triay in 1991 when the vineyard was still known by the name of its Spanish founders, Cordoníu, it was renamed (Artesa means ‘handmade’ in Catalan) in 1998. The winery here specialises in Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon, though Pohler picked out the Albariño – telling Wine Spectator magazine it was ‘playful, daring and not afraid to cause a scene, and I was all in on that’. If you’re tempted (and you should be), Artesa has a wide variety of tasting experiences on offer, depending on numbers and tastes and whether you want to stay out on the terrace or get serious in one of the salons.

  • How to visit the vineyards in Wine Country and Sideways

    Next up is the organic and solar winery (the one where each glass comes with ‘wine diamonds’), which they call Morgan Jorng but is really Baldacci Family Vineyards at 6236 Silverado Trail in Stags Leap. Established 20 years ago, this one offers three levels of tasting experience, including a pay-as-you-go version with a $10 cover charge for your wine glass. Be sure to visit the homely red barn, venue of the ill-fated attempt by an over-tasted Naomi (Maya Rudolph) to sing ‘Eternal Flame’ for the girls (pictured).

  • How to visit the vineyards in Wine Country and Sideways

    Just up the road is their third stop, Quintessa Winery at 1601 Silverado Trail in Saint Helena. This was founded 30 years ago by the Chilean vintners Agustin and Valeria Huneeus, who grow five grape varieties organically over their extensive vineyards. The Wine Country gang head into the cellars, supposedly to view the French oak barrels but in fact to argue over T-shirts and home truths. They emerge for tears and revelations by one of the winery’s glass tasting pavilions, sited on Dragon’s Hill – if you want to follow in their footsteps, opt for the Quintessential Experience.

  • How to visit the vineyards in Wine Country and Sideways

    Of course, Napa has dozens more wineries to add to your list, with the palate expanding all the time. Launching later this year is the Four Seasons Resort and Residences Napa Valley, just outside Calistoga, which offers farmhouse-style accommodation with rustic fireplaces, pool and spa treatments and the chance not only to tour vineyards but to take part in the wine-making process at its in-house winery (find out more at fourseasons.com/napavalley).

    Alternatively, you can follow in the footsteps of 2004 wine-opic Sideways. In this Oscar-winning road movie, old buddies Miles (Paul Giamatti) and Jack (Thomas Haden Church) pursue their male versions of the midlife crisis around the wineries (and ostrich farms) of the southern end of California, near Santa Barbara. They visit Sanford Winery in Lompoc, where Miles gives his pal some first lessons, then Foxen in Santa Maria (naughtily sneaking an extra glass) and Kalyra in Santa Ynez, where Jack makes his fateful hook-up with Stephanie (Sandra Oh). You can download a map following their route from the local visitors bureau at santabarbaraca.com – just be sure to elect your designated driver and consume rather more responsibly than these cinematic examples.

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