Amy Poehler’s highly anticipated Netflix comedy, Wine Country, has all the makings of a great weekend watch: great female leads, hilarious one-liners, and plenty of libations to get the party started. And even better is the fact that Poehler and her SNL gal pals actually lived through a lot of the totally relatable, totally facepalm-worthy antics that their characters enact on-screen.
In a joint interview with Vanity Fair published this past March, Poehler and longtime pal Maya Rudolph revealed that Wine Country is a true story. The film came about after they and their group of friends experienced some ridiculous mishaps while trying to travel to celebrate their 50th birthdays.
According to Poehler, she organized a vacation with all their buds — Rudolph, Ana Gasteyer, Paula Pell, Emily Spivey, and Rachel Dratch — a few years back to celebrate Dratch’s 50th birthday, renting an AirBnB in Napa Valley just like her fictional character Abby does. During the short flight there, however, Poehler thought she lost her phone in the toilet, a mortifying problem in and of itself, made worse by the fact that all her detailed plans for the weekend were on the device. (In a trailer for Wine Country, Abby’s printed itineraries are blown out an open bus window.)
Later on, the crew got together again for Gasteyer’s 50th birthday, a getaway that they later dubbed “Muumuu Nitpick,” because everyone wore muumuus and vented about their lives the entire weekend. Memorably, Pell (who steals the show in several scenes of Wine Country as Val, an antique store owner with kinky interests) brought $800 worth of high-end vibrators to the trip as party favors.
“I definitely did ‘Dildo Claus’ in real life where I gave everyone vibrators that were very expensive — high end ones, very high tech,” Pell confirmed to Eater. “They’re all Bluetooth! I don’t know what that means, I just made that up. You can download the weather and news on them? Anyay, I have a lot of photos and videos from the real trip and when I look at them, it’s amazing how much they captured the fun parts of us there.”
Poehler also explained some of the antics when she stopped by Late Night With Seth Meyers (below). Not everything happened on vacation. One of the scenes, in which Dratch throws out her back, was based on something that went down at SNL back when she, Meyers, and Poehler worked on the show. Poehler explained that when you get older, sometimes a simple turn can throw out your back, which is exactly what happened to Dratch during a read-through.
"So she did the read-through on the floor, with about a 100 people in the room, and she was killing," said Poehler, explaining that the host that week, Johnny Knoxville, responded, kindly, by reaching into his pocket for a handful of miscellaneous pills ("none of them had tags," she specified with a laugh). Meyers, for his part, also remembered the incident because while everyone else was sitting at the table, Dratch was apparently under it. And now, that behind-the-scenes moment is part of the new Netflix film.
Poehler told Vanity Fair that their natural shenanigans were the perfect source material for what would eventually become Wine Country.
“... there’s just not enough films that take full advantage of what it’s like to be our age and to be around women that have known you for a really long time but aren’t competing for the same or the same guy,” Poehler said, adding, “When women get together, they’re really excited to be in their witchy circle.”