Sideways Country


By Ann Shepphird of

One of the main attractions of the movie Sideways, besides riding at Alisal Ranch, Santa Ynez Valleythe drama involving all the characters, is the beauty of where it takes place: amidst the vineyards of California’s Santa Ynez Valley. It’s a quiet and natural setting, perfect for a romantic getaway, and you don’t have to be a wine connoisseur to enjoy your stay here.

Long before the grape vines went in, the Santa Ynez Valley was known for its rich ranch land and horse farms. Couples who enjoy riding should visit the Alisal Guest Ranch & Resort, just outside the Danish-themed town of Solvang. The ranch has been welcoming guests to its 10,000 acres since 1946. It celebrates its heritage with offerings that include a breakfast horseback ride out to an historic Old Adobe camp. If you or your companion prefer less adventurous activities, the Alisal also offers two golf courses, six tennis courts, a pool complex, a spa and a 1,000-acre lake. The summer months can be teaming with activity, but during the rest of the year, the Alisal couldn’t be more serene.

If it’s total serenity you’re looking for, the valley’s newest offering might be just the ticket. Located near the charming town of Los Olivos, the Vineyard Retreat at Bernat Vineyards and Winery offers a chance to experience wine-country living as a local. The one-bedroom guest house sits amid 10 acres of vineyards, an organic farm and pasture land for three horses. Guests are greeted with a bottle of Bernat wine and a $10 gift certificate to the Los Olivos Café, which has the same owners and was featured in “Sideways.” Fans of the film may remember the café’s impressive wall of wine. You’ll enjoy appreciating one of those bottles for real.


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