Getting My US Clients Drinking Merlot!


Has anyone seen the film SideWays? It’s about a wine nerd taking his non-wine nerd mate on a trip to Santa Barbara County to taste their way through a few glasses and put the world to right. It’s a really good watch, even if you don’t like wine. But allegedly it became responsible for a change in the way Americans saw certain wines, a view point that all these years on, still seems to be knocking around.

In the film the main character, Miles, loves Pinot Noir and hates Merlot. In the months after the release of the film Merlot sales dropped and Pinot Noir sales exploded on the US west coast. Could the film really have had that much impact on the way people drink their wines?

Well I ran a 20h33 tasting the other night with a range of Bordeaux wines. All the reds were Merlot (or Merlot heavy blends at least). On telling them that, the 4 Americans round the table just kind of looked at each other a bit funny. They all said they loved them, and were surprised as they would never usually pick a Merlot, and then quoted from the film!

Obviously I was glad they enjoyed the wines, but it did make me wonder whether this whole anti-merlot feeling was really that alive and well around the world. It was a great film, but is it really still putting people off their Merlot?

Who knows, eh?


8 thoughts on “Getting My US Clients Drinking Merlot!”

  1. A lot of american producers used produce merlot based blends heavy on oak and jammy fruit. Of course, there a few execptions such as Duckhorn Vineyards which always has make outstanding wines. In the film, it is a contradiction that the wine that Miles is keeping on its cabinet is a Cheval Blanc 61, a blend of merlot and cabernet franc.

  2. You may want to watch Merlove (, produced as a result of the hate put on Merlot from Sideways. Just a couple days ago I posted an Italian Merlot I was drinking on Instagram (@doug) and immediately got the Miles quote! There are many Merlots to love. In the US the Long Island (NY) area has had great success. As mentioned above California has several such as Duckhorn, Markham, and Swanson (personal favorite).

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