Sideways Goes Social: Film’s 10th Anniversary Inspires Twitter and Instagram Campaign

by Gabe Saglie, Senior Editor, Travelzoo
(pubilshed in the Santa Barbara News-Press on 9/6/14)

Miles and Jack are back in Santa Barbara County.
An entire decade after the two bachelors left their oft-pleasing, oft-distasteful mark throughout Santa Barbara’s wine country – as the two protagonists in the Oscar-winning movie, Sideways – a brand new social media promotion is leveraging their unrelenting allure.

Signs like this, which are featured at 100 businesses
throughout Santa Barbara County, will stay up through Sep. 14 
Some 100 signs have gone up all over Santa Barbara County that invite the public to strike a pose, take a shot and enter a contest for a chance to win myriad prizes.  The signs, which stand six feet tall, feature the cartoon likenesses of actors Paul Giamatti and Thomas Haden Church, who portrayed Miles and Jack, respectively, squeezed side by side inside a wine bottle.  “Take Your Picture With Us,” the signs declare, prompting posers to upload their photographs to the social networking service Twitter and the photo-sharing app Instagram, using the hashtag #Sideways10.
Pictures can also be uploaded manually to  Participants must be 21 or older.
Each day through September 14th, one entry will take home a copy of the movie on Blu-ray + Digital HD.  Fox Searchlight, which produced the flick, is launching the commemorative edition this fall.  And one Grand Prize winner will win a comprehensive five-day Santa Barbara wine country vacation, including accommodations, wine tasting adventures, gourmet dining and several land and sea excursions.
Why all the hoopla?
The promotion is part of the local 10th anniversary celebration of Sideways' wildly successful release.  The movie, even today, is credited with not only lifting public fervor for pinot noir wine but also with putting Santa Barbara, a prime growing region for the red grape, on a veritable global marquee.  The movie won an Oscar for director Alexander Payne’s screenplay adaptation of the novel by Rex Pickett, several Golden Globe and Independent Spirit Awards statuettes and the title of “2004 Film of the Year” from the American Film Institute.
“We are thrilled to be celebrating the tenth anniversary of the global phenomenon which is Sideways,” Santa Barbara Film Commissioner Geoff Alexander told the News-Press.  “Beyond being a great movie, Sideways helped to launch the Santa Barbara County wine industry on a massively successful scale, building businesses in our area, creating jobs and continuing to attract visitors from around the world to our destination.”

Several Santa Barbara County vineyards served as backdrops for the film "Sideways"
(courtesy: Fox Searchlight and Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment)

The signs can be found at high-traffic locations throughout the county, as well as businesses that served as sets and backdrops for the film, which was shot over 10 weeks during the fall of 2003.  In downtown Santa Barbara, they include Paseo Nuevo, Santa Barbara Public Market and the wine tasting rooms of Grassini, Kalyra, Kunin, Pali Wine Co. and Margerum Wine Co.  In Buellton, Ostrich Land, Pea Soup Andersen’s Inn, Figueroa Mountain Brewing Co. and Hitching Post II (a significant setting in the Sideways storyline) are featuring the sign.  And in Solvang, 16 sign display spots include the Alisal Guest Ranch, the Elverjoh Museum and Solvang Library.
Winemaker Angela Soleno is featuring the Sideways10 social
media campaign sign in her Turiya Wines tasting room in Lompoc
Sideways “put wine appreciation at the forefront of many people’s minds,” says winemaker Angela Soleno, who entered the wine biz shortly after the movie’s release and who’s featuring the bright green social media invitation in her Turiya Wines tasting room, one of 15 Lompoc locations participating (which also include Ampelos Cellars and Flying Goat Cellars).  “I am glad Santa Barbara County is getting behind the movie’s anniversary and continuously promoting the area.”
In Los Olivos, where 17 businesses are taking part (including Epiphany Wines, Zaca Mesa Winery and Andrew Murray Vineyards), the promotion will help the public “relive some of the magic from the film,” says Jenni Schierman, retail sales and marketing manager for the Sanger Family of Wines. “We have customers in our tasting room that quote lines at least weekly. [This promotion] is a fun way to bring people together.”  As a perk, the company is also selling a "Not Merlot" Grab-and-Go wine bag – a Tre Anelli Dolcetto and Barbera and a Consilience Rodney Schull Grenache – for $59.99 (regular retail $109).  (Merlot, as an unintentional foil to pinot noir, is dealt a big blow by the movie.)
Businesses in Santa Maria (like Foxen Winery), Los Alamos, Santa Ynez (like Sunstone Winery) and Ballard (like the Ballard Inn) are also participating.
Spearheaded by Visit Santa Barbara, the city’s primary tourism nexus, the Sideways 10th Anniversary Sign Promotion also features the collaboration of the Santa Barbara County Film Commission, Visit the Santa Ynez Valley, Santa Barbara Vintners, Solvang Conference & Visitors Bureau, Lompoc Chamber of Commerce, the Los Olivos Business Organization and the Buellton Visitors Bureau and Chamber of Commerce.


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