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‘Sideways effect’ confirmed

The longstanding belief that the film Sideways sent Pinot Noir sales through the roof was confirmed today.

The effects of the film on Pinot Noir ‘were positive across all price points, with the largest impact being on the highest price point of US$20-$40 per bottle,’ a research paper published by Sonoma State University and Sonoma Research Associates says.

It goes on to show the negative effects of Merlot being confined ‘mostly to the lower priced segment, under US$10 per bottle.’

See also: Sideways 2 film unlikely, says author

In the 2004 film – an unexpected hit – the main character famously waxed lyrical about the virtues of Pinot Noir whilst ridiculing Merlot.

Earlier data from ACNielsen had shown a dramatic initial surge in Pinot Noir purchasing just days after the film’s release – there was a 16% increase in sales compared with the same period a year earlier.

In 2005, glass manufacturer Riedel reported an increase in US sales of 45%, partly because of more demand for its $12-$95 Pinot Noir glasses.

The research, released almost four years after the film’s release, concludes that ‘the positive impact on Pinot Noir appears greater than the negative impact on Merlot.’

The ‘Sideways Effect’ was only temporary, with sales of domestically produced Merlots up, according to data from IRI, by 6% in December 2007.

Written by John Abbott


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