“Lights! Camera! Fermentation! That might as well be the motto for Red Carpet Red, a wine commissioned by Visit Santa Barbara and made by Ampelos Cellars to celebrate the 2016 edition of the Santa Barbara International Film Festival. The clever moniker stresses our town’s filmic history from the Flying A Studios to today, so much so you have to inspect the back label to realize this is no mere red — it’s a pinot noir from the Sta. Rita Hills. (No doubt Miles from Sideways wishes he could attend the festival this year.)
“Since our area Sta. Rita Hills is most well-known for complex and expressive pinot noir, it was an obvious choice,” said winemaker Peter Work, whose Ampelos estate is farmed sustainably with organic and biodynamic techniques. Given that he’s a fan of James Bond films, it makes sense that Work decided to make a rich and strong style of pinot. So he selected three barrels — including one of new French oak — of the estate’s darker clones. “It’s a big, expressive pinot noir,” he said, “the one that you have a glass of at a reception and ‘Wow!’ comes out of your mouth.”
It is a lovely wine, as much about minerality and those typical Sta. Rita Hills cola notes as its piquant raspberry and black cherry fruit. It debuted in Hollywood, of course, at an exclusive Golden Globes party, but will mostly be poured around town during the SBIFF, all 570 bottles of it.
And, on cue, Work happily described wine in cinematic terms. “You know the producer, the cast includes famous actors, the plot is great, and the trailer is promising — that’s like the wine in the glass, as you observe it with your eyes and nose to get your first impressions,” he said. “The day comes when you watch the movie, and it totally lives up to your expectations — you are already hoping they make a sequel.”
Where to Find Red Carpet Red
It will be served while supplies last at Opal Restaurant and Bar (1325 State St.,  966-9676) and C’est Cheese (825 Santa Barbara St.,  965-0318). It will also be part of Film Fest lodging packages (santabarbaraca.com/filmfeast) at Encina Inn & Suites, Pepper Tree Inn, Brisas del Mar ‒ Inn at the Beach, Hotel Indigo, Hotel Milo, Inn by the Harbor, Lavender Inn by the Sea, and Ramada Santa Barbara.