The pinot noir repartee between Paul Giamatti's and Virginia Madsen's characters in the movie "Sideways" has helped spur dizzying sales of the red wine during a lingering U.S. glut, wine experts say.
U.S. consumers are salivating over the scene in which Giamatti's "Miles," a neurotic, failing author, evangelizes pinot's subtle delicacy to Madsen's "Maya" in an attempt to wow her with his wine knowledge.
"People come in and immediately say, 'Where's the pinot noir?"' said Steve Villani, manager of Columbus Circle Liquors in Manhattan. "After a while, we began to ask them if they saw the movie, and they laugh out loud and say, 'yes."'
As the Oscar-nominated film generated a buzz through the holidays, U.S. consumers bought 22 percent more pinot noir in the four weeks ending Jan. 15 than the year before, ACNielsen data show. The big winner is Constellation Brands Inc.'s Blackstone Pinot Noir from California, with year-over-year sales jumping 147 percent in the 12 weeks after the film hit theaters on Oct. 22.
The pinot noir grape, a Burgundy variety, requires a notoriously huge amount of attention from the grower, which makes getting the wine's taste just right extremely difficult -- something Giamatti waxes about during the scene.
"People in the know graduate up to pinot noir as the ultimate red wine, but the buzz around this movie has helped infrequent wine consumers try it immediately," said Jon Fredrikson, president of Gomberg, Fredrikson & Associates, a Woodside, California, wine consulting firm.
U.S. wine producers have been hurt by a grape surplus, competition from Australian imports and such inexpensive wines as the Charles Shaw label, popularly known as "Two-Buck Chuck."
Haven't seen the movie and haven't drank much pinot noir (or else it made no impression on me). Never even heard of "Two-Buck Chuck".
My philosophy about wine is: "The redder, the better." :wink: