An Oscar-winning film called Sideways has sent sales of pinot noir soaring 16% in the US while merlot sales have crashed 2%. Actor Paul Giamatti plays a wine snob who refuses to drink "any f***ing merlot", which has been America's most popular wine for the last 15 years. Instead he praises pinot noir, claiming the flavours are the "most haunting and brilliant and thrilling and subtle and ancient on the planet". Britain now appears to be following the trend, with Sainsbury reporting a 20% surge in pinot sales. The pinot frenzy is expected to intensify in America when a DVD of the film is released next month. The Sunday Times 06/03/05 page 22