The town of Solvang recently rolled out the red carpet for the opening of the Sideways wine bar, named after the Academy Award-winning film.
Located about 20 minutes north of Isla Vista, the Sideways wine bar – also referred to as Tastes of the Valleys – features wines from 15 central coast wineries. Acting as both a wine shop and a tasting bar, Tastes of the Valleys offers customers a chance to taste wine and purchase bottles from its selection of 72 wines.
Manager Bobby Moy said he hopes the bar will promote wine tasting education, and cater to first-time wine tasters as well as experienced drinkers.
“We are not just selling wine,” Moy said. “We are selling an experience.”
After the success of the movie, which was filmed in Santa Barbara County about three years ago, the owners of Tastes of the Valleys bought the rights to the name “Sideways” from Fox, partner-owner Dave Chambers said. The original plan was to open a wine club, but the idea turned into a bar.
The Sideways name has been a big draw for both wine and movie enthusiasts, Moy said. The bar opened on Jan. 12, and has done better in the past month than the owners expected. Moy said a grand opening party will take place within the next month and a half.
The bar will also begin offering wine tasting classes after the grand opening, Moy said.
“We don’t want people to be intimidated by wine tasting,” Moy said. “We employ helpful, knowledgeable people to give customers the wine tasting experience.”
Tastes of the Valleys features wines from such popular producers as Au Bon Climate, Qupe and Lane Tanner, offering a large number of pinot noirs, chardonnays and Rh™ne varietals. Almost all are local wines produced in San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara County.
Prices for wine tasting range from $15 to $18, and bottles cost an average of $35 per bottle, Moy said. Although the wine is expensive, he said the high prices are justified.
“Our prices are more expensive because we do not produce wine and must purchase it wholesale,” Moy said. “But we pour more wines than anyone else and I can guarantee you’ll get what you like.”
Depending on the success of the first location, Moy said Tastes of the Valleys would like to expand to other locations. In Solvang – a popular destination for wine tasters – 16 new tasting rooms are expected to open by this summer.
Tastes of the Valleys, a Sideways wine bar, is located at 1672 Mission Drive in Solvang, CA, and is open from 11:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.