Santa Barbara CHP grant targets drunken driver ‘Sideways’ effect

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Santa Barbara CHP grant targets drunken driver ‘Sideways’ effect

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BARBARA – The California Highway Patrol blames an increase in wine
country drunken driving arrests and crashes on the “Sideways” effect.

The 2004 hit movie “Sideways” set in the San Ynez Valley vineyards led
to a stampede to the area’s 90 wine tasting rooms, and there was
suddenly a rise in drunken driving incidents.

The Santa Barbara Area CHP just got $658,000 grant to crack down on drinking and driving in the wine country.

CHP Officer Donald Clotworthy says the popularity of “Sideways” led to
a burst of wine-related activities. He says “Santa Barbara County has
become wine country for Southern California.”

I really loved that movie, but it really decimated Santa Barbara for those of us who go wine tasting, to, you know, actually taste wine in order to evaluate it for purchase.  Now it is so touristy that it is getting like Napa.  No more refined, quiet tasting experiences.  No more “I am not sure if I want to buy A or B. Can I have one more taste?” Now if you go on a weekend, you will be confronted with huge crowds of oft-low-class people reveling in their obnoxious drunkeness.  They have inexperienced people pouring the wines who can’t answer questions, and even pricey tasting fees.  Plus, I have seen wineries put limits on how many tastes you can have on the premise that you are there to get bombed and are not spitting/dumping any of it.  Resistance is futile.  I was in Kalyra recently when a tour bus pulled up.  We overheard a woman tell the wine pourer that she did not want to taste the wine, she was just there for the signature glass. 

The irony is that the Santa Barbara they showed in Sideways is no more.  Except maybe that spit bucket scene at Fess Parker. 

If only Temecula wasn’t mostly swill.  At least Paso is still nice.  But for how long?

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