For those unfamiliar with the film, the original 2004 version was directed by Alexander Payne, who won an Oscar for the adapted screenplay based on the novel by Rex Pickett. The film tells the story of a celebratory road trip through California’s wine country to salute Jack’s (Thomas Haden Church) final days as a bachelor. However, the journey quickly twists sideways as he and Miles (Paul Giamatti) speed forward in their Saab 900 en route to mid-life crises. The men share a bond of failed potential and fading youth coupled with a knack for drowning in wine and women (Sandra Oh and Virginia Madsen).
The Japanese version tells a similar story of two old friends, Michio (Fumio Kohinata), who returns to the US to attend the wedding of Daisuke (Katsuhisa Namase). They venture out on a weeklong road trip, ending up in the Napa Valley, where Daisuke intends to have his last hurrah as a bachelor. They meet up with an old heart throb Mayuko (Kyoka Suzuki) and her free spirited friend Mina (Rinko Kikuchi) and the rest is history!
Getting back to the original film, Jack and Miles first stop off at the Alma Rosa Winery (7250 Santa Rosa Road) where Jack learns the finer points of wine tasting, sort of. They settle down for the night at the Days Inn Buellton (114 East Highway 246) and later walk over to the Hitching Post II (406 East Highway 246) to have dinner. Here, they run into Maya, whom Miles knows, working as a waitress.
The next morning, the pair have breakfast at Solvang Restaurant (1672 Copenhagen Drive) and drive over to the Foxen Winery (7200 Foxen Canyon Road, Santa Maria) where they pour themselves full glasses of wine when the pourer turns away! The next stop is where Jack meets Stephanie (Sandra Oh), Kalyra Winery (343 North Refugio Road, Santa Ynez). Now the foursome is complete and later we see them enjoying dinner at Los Olivos Cafe and Wine Merchant (2879 Grand Avenue, Los Olivos).
The barrel room which Jack, Miles, Maya and Stephanie sneak into from a boring wine lecture, is at the Firestone Winery ( 5000 Zaca Station Road, Los Olivos).
The next winery featured in the film is the Fess Parker Winery (6200 Foxen Canyon Road, Los Olivos) were Miles guzzles the spit bucket after the pourer refuses to serve him any more wine. Spiraling out of control, Miles finds solace at Gaviota State Beach (10 Refugio Beach Rd., Goleta).
And those ostriches you see in the film, those can be found at Ostrich Land (610 E. Highway 246, between Buellton and Solvang.)
So, for those who have already seen the film, I hope I brought back some enjoyable memories from the movie. For those who have yet to see the film, I hope I have inspired you to see it. In either case, I hope you will have an opportunity to visit the various locations listed and relive Miles and Jack’s journey.