SIDEWAYS' romantic exploration of California's vineyards has sent thousands of enchanted American fans on shopping trips to buy the wines featured in Alexander Payne's movie.

Sales of pinot noir have seen the most dramatic rise after Paul Giamatti's character MILES eulogises its subtle qualities in an attempt to seduce MAYA, played by Virginia Madsen.

Wine connoisseurs bought 22 per cent more pinot noir in the four weeks ending 15 January than the year before.

STEVE VILLANI, manager of New York's COLUMBUS CIRCLE LIQUOR, says, "People come in and immediately say, 'Where's the pinot noir? After a while, we began to ask them if they saw the movie, and they laugh out loud and say, 'Yes'."

PHIL LYNCH, spokesperson for wine producer BROWN-FORMAN, adds, "People have really latched onto the romance of the scene, which made pinot the star, no doubt about it."

04/02/2005 17:37