One thing you don’t see on TV too much is Napa Valley being dissed. It’s even less common to see Sonoma be hailed over Napa. Yet this very occurrence was brought to my attention today in the form of a recent episode of Grey’s Anatomy.
Derek, played by Patrick Dempsey, is soliciting advice from Mark, played by Eric Dane, on whether he should take his girl to Napa or Sonoma for a couple days. The advise he gets back is straight forward: Sonoma, because there are less tourists and smaller hotels.
I know…it’s a small little item, but…damn, you just don’t see that sort of thing often on your average network show.
And I’m not suggesting it’s a Sideways-moment that will catapult Sonoma in to the American consciousness. I think what we probably have here is a case of one of the writers having probably recently had this very discussion and they thought they’d pass on the seemingly insider kind of knowledge to the show’s script.
But this is a reminder. The power of popular culture and its icons to influence American’s views of the world is immense. The movie "Sideways" and it’s effect on Pinot Noir sales is only the latest example. Before that we saw "60 Minutes" catapult the sales of red wine based on their coverage of the health benefits of the beverage.
The point, of course, is whimsy. No one as far as I know anticipated the effect that Sideways would have, even though many knew this movie was being released. One never knows what kind of popular culture event might ignite an idea or industry or wine or region.