Meet Vintners of Sideways Fame

Hitching Post II owner makes famed wines with ex-fisherman colleague
By Drew Nelles,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 18, 2008 12:34 PM CDT
Sandra Oh, Thomas Haden Church, Virginia Madsen and Paul Giamatti in Sideways. Madsen plays a waitress at the Hitching Post II.   (KRT Photos)
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(Newser) – If you’ve seen the movie Sideways, you likely remember the Hitching Post II: the Santa Barbara County restaurant where Paul Giamatti nervously meets his future love. But even the most dedicated oenophile may not know that Hitching Post owner Frank Ostini and colleague Gray Hartley have been making wine nearly 30 years, Gourmet reports, after teaching themselves how.

They met by chance and wound up in wine-making nearly by accident, but the results, particularly their famed pinot noirs, are impressive. The partners stay true to their roots, even naming some wines after fishing terms in reference to Hartley’s 27-year-career as an Alaskan salmon fisherman. And fans of Sideways will appreciate the fact that they still make their first wine—a merlot. "Our joke is that we’re making merlot tongue-in-cheek," Ostini said.