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...Then along came "Sideways," the 2004 Alexander Payne movie that followed a boozy foursome through the vineyards and tasting rooms of Santa Barbara County. Its influence around town, 15 years later, is still enormous. Rajat Parr, a 47-year-old winemaker and sommelier known for his Sandhi line of organic Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays, told me, "It's something we can't get away from. Why would we?"
In 2006, a group of local vintners sought to capitalize on "Sideways" by establishing the Urban Wine Trail, a collection of 33 tasting rooms featuring area wines. There are quirky shacks like Municipal Winemakers, with vintage oil portraits on the walls; formal, dark-wood-paneled presentations from vineyards like Margerum; secluded, Italian Brutalist warehouses open by appointment only, like Sanguis; even an unofficial yet delicious stop: a cupcake stand with two daily wine-infused offerings in the Santa Barbara Public Market....
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