Sideways Movie Locations
There is nothing quite as entertaining as an American road trip movie between two friends and a lot of wine. Our protagonists in the movie Sideways, Miles and Jack, find wine and romance in the treasured Central Coast wine region of the Santa Ynez Valley; famous for its oak-strewn landscapes and winding country roads leading to more than 70 wineries. Stops include a town modeled after a Danish village, an ostrich farm, and of course, many iconic tasting rooms. You will find that no movie describes our cherished Central Coast wine region as uniquely as Sideways, and in tribute we have created this guide to each and every filming location. Sit down, grab a glass of Central Coast Pinot Noir, and get ready to explore all the stops in the Sideways movie.
Despite supposedly starting in San Diego, our downtrodden protagonist, Miles, is filmed driving in Santa Barbara at the beginning of the movie. Shortly after, he picks up Jack visit Miles' mother in what the movie claims is Oxnard, but was actually filmed in Santa Maria. From there, we have divided the list into three categories; Wineries, Restaurants, and Activites. Utilize the Sideways Filming Location Map included on the page, and read more about each of the locations below. If you like what you see, consider staying in a Central Coast suite at the Embassy Suites Lompoc. We feature exclusive amenities and are the perfect home base for your very own Central Coast wine adventure!
Wineries in Sideways
The very first stop on our journey through the Santa Ynez valley wine region is Sanford Winery. Proud to be a Terlato Family Winery, the vineyards are located within the Santa Rita Hills AVA. This winery has been a staple of the region for more than 25 years and features some of the oldest Pinot Noir vines in the area. Stop by their immaculate tasting room on Santa Rosa road to sample one of their heritage Pinot Noirs or an award winning Chardonnay. In the movie, this is where Miles teaches Jack how to taste and appreciate wine.
Marked with an iconic anchor on their labels, Foxen Vineyards features sustainably farmed vines that match the Californian vibe perfectly. Drop by their quaint solar-powered tasting room to sample their minimalistic approach to iconic wines. Fun fact: Mia in the movie is based off of a former tasting room manager here. Foxen gets just a little bit of film time in Sideways, but enough to see Jack behaving badly. It was in this tasting room that he swipes a bottle when the server is turned and pours Miles and himself some more wine.
Australian born wine master Mike Brown uses his attunement to world class taste to produce remarkable wine blends of old world traditions and new world ingenuity. Kalyra, meaning A Wild & Pleasant Place in the language of Australian Aboriginals, evokes a free-spirited enjoyment of pleasurable wines. The tasting room was remodeled by the film crew, so in person it looks much different than in Sideways. Although, the bar that the film crew built for the movie is still there for you to taste at! For those following along, this is the winery where Jack first meets Stephanie, played by Sandra Oh.
Contradictory to its role as the scene of the much-derided boring wine lecture, Firestone Winery consistently creates some of the most exciting wines in the region. Steeped in tradition as Santa Barbara County's first estate winery, the vineyard was originally started by a son of the tire magnate Harvey S. Firestone.
Arguably, the climax of the movie for Miles is when he discovers his novel will not be published. It's a harrowing moment for the fragile author, reflected by his subsequent attempt to chug wine out of a spit bucket. Outside of the Sideways movie, Fess Parker is a welcoming and beautiful winery in San Olivos, known for an ability to host a large amount of tourists. Known as Frass Canyon in Sideways, the winery takes its actual name from actor Fess Parker, who played Davy Crockett and David Boone on television in the 1950's and 1960's.
Central Coast Wine Excursion
Interested in making a weekend trip? We have a wine package complete with tastings for two at 8 rooms that will help you save during your visit! Check out our staff favorite wineries for ideas on where else to visit while in the area.
Restaurants in Sideways
Hitching Post II
This restaurant is the place where it all started. Writer of the Sideways novel, Rex Pickett, would stop in here on his weekend trips to the region and you should too. Unlike Miles, you should bring a friend or two with you to finish a bottle from their extensive collection. They make their own wine, and despite Miles' distaste for it, you absolutely must try the Merlot.
Fun fact: Owner Frank Ostini saw a 40% jump in traffic after the premiere of Sideways and had to hire an additional 20 staff members.
Home of Arne's Famous Aebleskiver and an absolutely delightful place to share a breakfast with friends. Don't be discouraged by the tense breakfast between Jack and Miles in the movie - this place is delicious!
Los Olivos Cafe
Ah, Los Olivos Cafe, setting of the moment Merlot will always wish it had back. After Miles proclaims to Jack, "I will not drink any [expletive] Merlot", they sit down for a dinner in a restaurant with wine bottles lining the walls from floor to ceiling. This is that place and it is every bit as majestic as it is portrayed. Certainly a choice for your fancy dinner during a trip to the Central Coast, the chefs and sommelier take their craft seriously here. Looking to replicate the movie? Try the "Sideways Dinner", a three-course meal with a glass of Pinot Noir or Chardonnay.
AJ Spurs Buelleton
Near the end of the movie, in a fit of persistent desperation, Miles chooses to pursue a rather dowdy waitress for a final fling before it's time to go home and get married. This scene takes place at AJ Spurs, an easy 2-minute walk through a car dealership from the Hitching Post II's front door. They are famous for a more casual approach to food, especially steak, and is a great place to stop in for a beer.
The moment Miles pops the cork off his 1961 Cheval Blanc and drinks it out of a styrofoam cup is the falling action of the movie. This brilliant scene, where he begins coming to terms with the past and starts looking toward the future, happens in the famous Orcutt Burgers in Santa Maria, not in San Diego like the movie portrays. Although serving casual American cuisine, this restaurant isn't the worst of choices for his incredibly expensive bottle of wine - Orcutt Burgers consistently wins awards for best burgers on the Central Coast.
Other Filming Locations in Sideways
Founded in 1911 by a group of Danes looking to escape the inhospitable winters of the Midwest, Solvang is a charming town with a windmill and Danish-styled architecture. A great place to drive through for the weekend, the quaint town offers something for everything.
Lompoc Farmers Market
Hosted on every Friday afternoon from 2 pm - 5pm, the Lompoc Farmers Market is the best place to meet with and purchase produce from local farmers. Find the freshest fruits, vegetables, flowers, and other items in this year-round farmers market in the heart of downtown Lompoc.
River Course at the Alisal
Experience the rolling hills of Santa Ynez Valley from a unique perspective at the River Course at the Alisal. Far from a "good walk spoiled", this course is the setting of the golf scene in the movie Sideways. A challenging 6,830-yard layout from the tips, the course demands precise shotmaking and use of every club in your bag. That being said, it's an enjoyable detour from vineyard hopping in the heart of Central Coast wine country.
Ocean Lanes - now closed
The bowling alley which saw Jack mingling with the son of his weekend fling was known as Ocean Lanes. Notice the was in the last sentence, as the alley shuttered it's doors shortly after the movie was released. Want to stay true to the movie and still go bowling? Try Rancho Bowl, in Santa Maria, if you're itching to knock down some pins.
Gaviota State Park
The spot where Miles and Jack reflect on life's failures and possibilities under a rusted train track. The track is still there, and directly below are wooden tables perfect for a beach picnic. Though out of the way of other locations in the movie, the drive out to the park is absolutely gorgeous, and the fresh ocean wind can help breathe new life into your trip. Just try to pick a better conversation topic than they did.
Ostriches at Ostrich Land
These ostriches live a truly blessed life. On display for tourists to feed, they spend lazy days lounging on a stunning Central Coast vista. Stop by to pick up a couple of eggs, or drop in to feed some of these unique creatures.
Lodging in the Santa Ynez Valley
If you enjoyed Sideways and want to embrace the thriving Cental Coast wine culture, stay in Lompoc and visit one of more than 24 tasting rooms within the city limits. A great place to start is the Lompoc Wine Ghetto, a hidden wine haven tucked into an industrial park. Here you can explore 19 tasting rooms all in one space. Stay at the Embassy Suites by Hilton Lompoc Central Coast, the only Hilton brand hotel in the lower Central Coast, during your wine excursion and enjoy the following exclusive amenities:
- Year-round heated pool
- Free cooked-to-order breakfast, including omelettes from our resident chef
- Complimentary evening reception with a local selection of wines included at no cost
- Two-room suites, allowing you and your company to enjoy some extra space
Other Central Coast wine resources: