Raise a Glass to the Oscars: Celebrate Great California Wine Region Events and Movie Locations

Feb 12, 2014, 09:10 ET from Wine Institute

SAN FRANCISCO, Feb. 12, 2014 PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- As the Oscars draw near, wine and film lovers can pair their favorite passions in California wine country.  With Oscar parties and film festivals, Wine Institute invites you to see the films and experience California wine regions' Hollywood connections this awards season and visit locations where some famous movies were shot!  View upcoming film-related events at discovercaliforniawines.com.

Oscar Parties and Film Festivals in Wine Country

Napa Valley hosts its 26th Annual Napa Valley Academy Awards® Telecast Viewing Party on Sunday, March 2, beginning at 5 p.m. in downtown Napa.  More than 20 of valley's finest restaurants will pair tasty treats with wines from local vintners.  You can also gear up for the Oscars on March 1 at The World of Pinot Noir "Hollywood & Wine Seminar" in Santa Barbara.  This blind tasting pits the favorites of wine experts and winemakers in the film "Sideways" against the 2012 documentary "Somm," a movie which focuses on the exciting and challenging world of passing the Master Sommelier Exam.  Sunset magazine wine editor Sara Schneider will lead a discussion on what these two movies tell us about the position and power of wine in our culture.

The San Luis Obispo International Film Festival takes place March 5-9 in San Luis Obispo wine country, on California's Central Coast following Oscar weekend.  Recently dubbed by MovieMaker magazine as "one of the best film events in the country," the festival celebrates its 20th anniversary this year.

Film fans visiting the Golden State this spring can check out the Sonoma International Film Festival April 2–6, 2014, now in its 17th year.  This five-day event offers wines from Sonoma vintners and cuisine from local artisans, and celebrities such as Bruce Willis, Susan Sarandon and Robin Williams have walked the festival red carpet.  Further north is the Mendocino Film Festival, May 29–June 1, 2014 with a film screening at The Madrones center along with open houses at local wineries offering new release tastings and food pairings.

Or plan ahead for the next Napa Valley Film Festival Nov 12-16, 2014, which boasts tastes from 150 local wineries or the Santa Barbara International Film Festival which just wrapped up for this year but has its 30th annual event Jan. 22-Feb, 1, 2015.

California Wine Country Movie Locations

When you think of wine and movies, the first one that probably pops into your mind is "Sideways," which made Pinot Noir a main character.  Its 2005 Oscar success has inspired wine lovers from around the world to visit Santa Barbara County's wine regions.  Use the Sideways Wine Tour Map to follow the path forged by Miles and Jack in this beloved movie.

Napa Valley plays the starring role in the 2008 film "Bottle Shock," which shows how, in 1976, underdog wine region California triumphed against wine world Goliath France in the historic "Judgment of Paris" blind tasting.  Shot in many locations across Napa Valley and Sonoma County, the film focuses mainly on Chateau Montelena, whose Chardonnay caused a global shockwave. Take a "Bottle Behind the Scenes Tour" at Chateau Montelena, where you can taste and visit winery scene locations, discuss movie fact versus fiction, learn about the actors, and hear stories from the set.

While on your cinematic vacation in Napa Valley, check out Staglin Family Vineyard in Rutherford, where portions of "The Parent Trap" were filmed.  Other nearby wineries take the spotlight in "A Walk in the Clouds," such as St. Helena's Beringer Vineyards and Duckhorn Vineyards.

Francis Ford Coppola shot vistas throughout Napa Valley for "Apocalypse Now," but he keeps vast movie memorabilia from that and other films at his renowned Francis Ford Coppola Winery in Sonoma County.  Sip a glass of wine as you marvel at Don Corleone's desk from "The Godfather," the original car used in "Tucker: The Man and His Dream," and even a few shiny gold men named Oscar.  You can also check out Academy-Award winning costumes from "Bram Stoker's Dracula" and the Neon Cocktail glass and bar from movie-musical "One from the Heart."

Sonoma County also caught the eye of another legendary director, Alfred Hitchcock, who turned the rugged coastal town of Bodega Bay into a character in "The Birds" more than 50 years ago. Starring Tippi Hedren, the film is set in this quirky community, which features the Tides Wharf restaurant, where you can still today grab a bite of fresh seafood and local wines, such as Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.  While in town, stop at the "Birds" themed visitor center before heading to the nearby town of Bodega, where you can visit film sites such as the Potter School and St. Theresa's Church.

For more information on California wines, wine regions and winery activities visit www.discovercaliforniawines.com.

SOURCE Wine Institute