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Chef Talking with Frank Ostini: The Hitching Post, Sideways’ 10th Anniversary & Merlot

Ten years ago, Santa Barbara wine country received its Hollywood moment in a big way when Alexander Payne used the stunning seaside city as a shooting location for his bachelor wine tasting movie, Sideways. Who can forget Paul Giamatti’s most famous line? “If anyone orders merlot, I am leaving!” he declared. “I am not drinking f***ing merlot!” In addition to the film’s famous faces, each of the locales featured became characters themselves. One predominant “character” was The Hitching Post II—a frequent hangout for main characters Miles [Giamatti] and Jack [Thomas Haden Church] because the waitress Miles coveted, Maya [Virginia Madsen] happened to work there. We sat down with Frank Ostini, the chef and winemaker at Hitching Post II, to talk Sideways, its 10th anniversary, behind-the-scenes moments and, of course, merlot.