'Sideways' and its unfortunate influence on mediocre pinot noir

In the 2004 movie, Sideways, Paul Giamatti’s character Miles Raymond uttered the infamous words “I am not drinking any fucking merlot” and thanks to its success, demand for Californian merlot dropped and pinot noir skyrocketed. This lead to vineyards rushing to meet the demand, resulting in the California winemakers mixing pinot noir grapes grown from subpar land with high-quality grapes and reducing the overall quality during the boom.

A paper from University of California-Davis analysed the phenomenon:

This paper explores growers’ supply response to the 2005 “Sideways effect” demand shock (Cuellar, Karnowsky, and Acosta, 2009) triggered by the 2004 release of the movie Sideways. We use a modified difference-in-difference approach to evaluate the supply response in California and regional supply response differences within California. We use U.S. Department of Agriculture data for the period 1999–2012 and find evidence of a supply response in the post-release period that is consistent with the “Sideways effect” on wine demand. The positive supply response for Pinot Noir is stronger than the negative response for Merlot and concentrated in lower value Central Valley vineyards. (JEL Classifications: D25, Q12)

Abstract from the paper

(via Axios)

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