Pickett Steers Sideways to Oregon

After months or even years of speculation, Rex Pickett has revealed that he is writing the sequel to “Sideways,” which catapulted Pinot Noir to “America’s Most Fashionable Grape.”

The seeds for a sequel set in Oregon were planted four years ago in a conversation between Pickett and A to Z co-founder, Bill Hatcher, about making a Sideways wine. “I told him he missed the boat, that the real Pinot Noir story was here in Oregon.”

But, as other projects intervened, neither the wine nor the sequel materialized.

Then, last August, Pickett was visiting Oregon for a golf travel story and dropped in on the eponymous Rex Hill, unaware that A to Z had acquired the winery.  

“He was recalling our musings in the tasting room and someone asked if he would like to talk to me,” said Hatcher. “When I walked in, he thought I was coincidentally visiting there myself while I thought he had intentionally stopped by to say hi.  There were several minutes of Shakespearean comedy before the two of us were on the same page.”

The visit to Oregon piqued Pickett’s interest anew in a sequel. Under contract for another book, he persuaded the publisher to recast the story. Tentatively titled “Shambolic,” the fortunes of the rambunctious twosome have reversed with Jack on the skids and Miles having settled down—such being a relative term. To lift Jack’s spirits, Miles proposes a reprise of their Santa Barbara tasting room crawl with the objective of “crashing” the International Pinot Noir Celebration in McMinnville and seeking the Holy Grail of artisan producers off the glass-and-brass track.

Asked about his part, Hatcher replied, “I’m angling for a torrid love scene but for now, I suppose, it’s a little bit like Virgil in ‘The Inferno.’”

No publishing date has been set, but one can expect Miles and Jack sightings to begin any day now. ◊

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