12/1/2021

Sideways Wineries Map

In the Santa Ynez Valley - Wines - grape to glass in Solvang, Buellton, Ballard, Los Alamos, Los Olivos and Santa Ynez.

COVID-19 UPDATE: PLEASE CONTACT INDIVIDUAL WINERIES AND TASTING ROOMS FOR UPDATED HOURS AND OFFERINGS.

Solvang and touring is a memorable and definitely not-to-be-missed experience in Santa Barbara County Wine country of Solvang and the Santa Ynez Valley. Local grapes are planted, nurtured and crafted into award-winning wines that are sipped and savored worldwide.

The area got another boost when Fox Searchlight Pictures, working with the Santa Barbara Conference & Visitors Bureau, devised a quirky map outlining a sort of 'Sideways' wine tour, listing many sites and their appearance in the film — from the Days Inn Buellton (that windmill hotel) to a farmers' market in nearby Lompoc where Miles and would-be love interest Maya (Virginia Madsen) take a stroll. Finding Sideways-like Wineries. There’s a ton of wineries in California. Some of these are actually in the film, and other wineries I found myself. Before you pick any out, there’s an important distinction to make. The vineyards shown in Sideways are in Southern and Central California. The prestigious, well-known California. Danish tradition holds that the presence of a stork on a rooftop wards off lightning and brings good luck. Good fortune continues to smile on Solvang today. Visitors are drawn into Scandinavian culture as they stroll the flower-lined streets or step into authentic bakeries, restaurants, shops and galleries. Danish tradition holds that the presence of a stork on a rooftop wards off lightning and brings good luck. Good fortune continues to smile on Solvang today. Visitors are drawn into Scandinavian culture as they stroll the flower-lined streets or step into authentic bakeries, restaurants, shops.

More Than 120 Vineyards

Most of the 120+ wineries in the area are boutique and family-owned. Stroll through one of these vibrant vineyards or visit more than 20 tastings rooms in downtown Solvang.

Area wineries welcome visitors year-round and it's easy and fun to do self-directed wine tours or enjoy guided tours. Oscar-winning 2004 movie Sideways, shot on location here, helped plant Solvang firmly in the wine scene.

Wine tasting events abound throughout the year, so be sure to visit our events calendar for complete details.

Wine AVA

In Santa Barbara County, distinct American Viticultural Areas (AVAs), also known as wine appellations, comprise more than 21,000 acres of vineyards producing more than a million cases of wine annually. The region's east-west orientation and coastal mountains form a valley opening directly facing the Pacific Ocean. This unique topography allows the flow of fog and sea breezes to shape distinct microclimates, perfect for the cultivation of classic grape varietals resulting in world-class wines.

Santa Ynez Valley AVA, Ballard Canyon AVA, Sta.Rita Hills AVA, Happy Canyon AVA, and Santa Maria Valley AVA make up the Santa Barbara north county wine country. This area is known especially for its outstanding Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Syrah, but also produces superior Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Viognier, and many other varietals in more than 120 vineyards.

Harvest Time

Harvest in the heart of Santa Ynez Valley Wine Country is a revered time. In the early fall, visitors and residents piece together the story of our local wines, from grape to glass. Throughout September, as part of California Wine Month, you can enjoy events and promotions in Solvang and nearby Buellton, Ballard, Los Alamos, Los Olivos, and Santa Ynez.

For maps and complete information on current vintners, events, winemaker dinners and festivals:

  • Santa Barbara County Vintners
    805-688-0881
  • Santa Ynez Valley Wine Country Association
    800-563-3183
  • Find Wineries Open During Holidays

Looking to plan a California wine country wedding? Solvang is a perfect location for your big day!


Sideways. A movie about avoiding responsibilities, Southern California, and wine. When this movie came out, it struck a chord with wine-os everywhere. Myself included. Now, decades later, I still think of this movie pretty fondly. It makes you want to spend winding afternoons in the California countryside, sipping a Malbec (I’m also not fucking drinking merlot.)

If this kind of trip is up your alley, here’s how to plan a trip there on a budget.

How To Plan A Trip To Sideways Movie Locations

A majority of the film was filmed in Santa Barbara, so if you want a true Sideways experience, that’s the place to start. Santa Barbara has it’s own airport, and there are a lot of cheap flights from New York and Atlanta.

– Fly via United From JFK – around $200 one-way
– Fly via United and American From Atlanta – around $200 one-way

From the airport, there are a lot of ground transportation options and shuttles you can use. If you want to stay true to the film, you want to rent a car. However, the car that Paul Giamatti drove was a 1987 SAAB 900 Cabrio Turbo. This is where we hit our first snag, because you can’t exactly rent one of those.

You can rent a small car from Avis for a week for around $170-$200. But the appeal is really the convertible, right? A Ford Mustang convertible rental will run you about $488 a week. However, I did promise budget, so that isn’t going to work. So here’s another idea. Don’t rent a car.

You can Lyft or Uber from the airport, and sign up for a guided wine tour for around $150 per person. The tour will shuttle you around from place to place. There’s a ton of wineries in Santa Barbara that a lot of these tours hit. Then, all you need is to grab an awesome hotel deal or an Airbnb, and you’ve got a trip.

If you stick to the Santa Barbara area, go carless, book a private room at an Airbnb or hotel and get one of the winery tours, this entire trip will run around $1k for about three days and four nights. To only go to Santa Barbara.

Meh.

I mean, the whole exciting thing about Sideways is the idea of the open road with a buddy, right? Skipping from winery to winery up and down the California coast? It looks like they go everywhere. In reality, the movie filmed in Buellton and Solvang, two towns near Santa Barbara and if you based your trip on these locations alone, you would be driving back and forth between two small towns.

Double meh.

So instead of all that mess, you could try to capture the essence of Sideways with a DIYwine tour up and down the California Coast. You can still hit a few of the actual locations, but explore more the state has to offer. I got excited about this idea, so I made a map of the best wineries in Southern and Central California.

Wineries in the movie sideways

Sideways Wineries Map

Basically, it’s a wine road trip from Santa Barbara to Santa Rosa. It’s under five hours, and there are a lot of great towns to stop on the way. Santa Maria, San Luis Obispo, San Jose, San Francisco, and Santa Rosa. You could rent a car from around $280-$300 for a week and drive it up the coast.

Once you finish the trip, you could just fly out of San Francisco. It’ll be around the same price as flying into Santa Barbara from JFK or Atlanta. But alas, another snag. Budget. On top of renting the car and getting gas, you’ll need to book lodging and any wine tour costs. Even for a week, you’re still looking at $1200.

Yikes.

So here’s the Drifty option. If I were taking the trip, I’d spread the adventure out over 3-4 days. I wouldn’t be there as long, but that’s still a decent amount of time to travel. Then, instead of a car rental, I’d take the train.

Sideways Wineries Map

On Amtrak, a direct train from Santa Barbara to San Francisco is $44-$70 for a reserved coach seat. The total train trip is 8-10 hours. Now, I wouldn’t take it straight through, this gives me enough information to figure out how to chop it up. Here’s a map that includes all of the towns Amtrak drops up and picks up in:

So from the Santa Barbara Amtrak Station, you can hop on the Coast Starlight and hit San Luis Obispo, the Paso Robles Intermodel Station, Salinas, the San Jose Diridon Train Station, and finally, the train stop at Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco. All you need to do is figure out a few logistics and price it out.

Planning The Train Route

California (in my opinion) has one of the best train routes in the country. There’s a lot of flexibility and it’s super cheap for a stop and go train trip from Santa Barbara to San Francisco.

Santa Barbara, CA to San Luis Obispo, CA – $34
via 14 Coast Starlight (2h 46m)

San Luis Obispo, CA to Paso Robles, CA – $17
via 14 Coast Starlight (1h, 2 m)

Paso Robles, CA to Salinas, CA – $16
via 14 Coast Starlight (1h, 51 m)

Salinas, CA to San Francisco, CA – $16
via 14 Coast Starlight (3h, 47 m)

If you stick to the 3-4 day rule here, you can leave from Santa Barbara, pick a town or two to stop in, then end up in San Fran.

Sideways

Finding Places To Crash Along The Way


Next, a place to crash. Cali is too expensive for my usual Drifty deals, but I found a few good options. For each location, I scoured Booking.com and Airbnb and found some private rooms and two really neat retro looking motels/hotels along the route.

Santa Barbara – Private Studio in Garden Setting, $65 per night

San Luis Obispo – Wine Cellar Guest Room, $100 per night

Paso Robles – Melody Ranch Motel, $110 per night

Monterey – Hotel 1110, $158 per night

GeorgiaSideways Wineries Map

San Francisco – Bedroom in quiet Potrero Hill, $110 per night

Safe average is around $100-$110 a night. Now, there are really cheap motels, but I always price things out for a solo traveler. I tend to be more cautious when it’s only me.

Finding Sideways-like Wineries


Now, wineries. There’s a ton of wineries in California. Some of these are actually in the film, and other wineries I found myself. Before you pick any out, there’s an
important distinction to make. The vineyards shown in Sideways are in Southern and Central California. The prestigious, well-known California Wine Country is actually more north, above San Francisco. It’ll be a lot more expensive to do the trip up there, but there are over 400 wineries to choose from.

If your heart is set on Sideways (and rolling on a budget), here’s some wineries to check out near each train stop I listed above.

Santa Barbara
Santa Barbara is full of wineries, including Whitcraft Winery, Deep Sea Tasting Room, and Sanford Winery and Vineyards. But you probably want to save a lot of your energy for nearby Solvang, where a lot of the filming for Sideways took place.

Sideways Wine Tour Map

Solvang
Solvang is near Santa Barbara, and includes a ton of Sideways wineries.
Noteworthy ones include Fess Parker Winery & Vineyard, Kalyra Winery, and Alma Rosa Winery & Vineyards.

Sideways Wine Trail Map

San Luis Obispo
You can try one of many San Luis Obispo wine tours or take a DIY approach and check out Tolosa,Foremost Wine Company, and Filipponi Ranch.

Paso Robles
Paso Robles has a few wineries to choose from that are kind of spread out, including Eos Estate Winery,Sculpterra Winery, and Steinbeck Vineyards & Winery.

Monterey
In Monterey, you can get an awesome view of the beach while you’re sipping wine at Pierce Ranch Vineyards,Carmel Ridge, and other wineries near Monterey Bay.

As an experienced wine-taster, I’ll caution that many of these wineries will charge for wine tastings. I’ve never paid more than $10-$15 anywhere. I also always suggest calling to double check hours and availability. Some wineries limit tastings to days and certain times of day.

How Much This Trip Would Cost

I played it safe with this trip, and stuck to rates during the Fall. Still not a bad time to visit California. However, if you’re looking during more competitive seasons, rates will probably skyrocket. The 3-4 day Sept./Oct/ trip I mapped out above would cost around $700-$800. That includes:

Sideways Winery Map

– Three nights at an Airbnb or motel, at an average of $100-$110 a night
– The train tickets, between $60-$70 for one or two stops
– The flights there and back, around $400 roundtrip from Atlanta or JFK
– Additional costs for your own food and any wine-tasting expenses

Maryland Wineries Map

And that’s it. Book in advance and drink all of the Merlot you want.

Sideways Movie Wineries Map

Have another movie you want us to build a trip idea around? Hit us up here and we might just pick your film.