Cocktail Corner: Wine World News & Happenings

Presqu’ile Winery scores big in National Tasting Room Rankings, releases Rescue Wine Collection; The Pillars Wines showcase Bien Nacido Estate; Brick Barn Wine Estate Scores Big in Competition; Guarachi Wine Partners Acquires Parker Station; Cambria Estate Winery joins Stewards of the Land with Leonardo DiCaprio

Presqu’ile Tasting Room, photo by Avis Mandel.

Presqu’ile Tasting Room, photo by Avis Mandel.

A spirited toast to all things alcoholic! by Leslie Dinaberg

Presqu’ile Winery Rates #2 in USA Today’s 10 Best Tasting Rooms in the U.S.

Presqu’ile, the Murphy Family’s contemporary estate winery in the hills of Santa Maria, placed second in USA TODAY’s 2018 National Readers Poll of 10 Best Tasting Rooms across the United States, serving as the only representative and entry from Santa Barbara County.

“Our mission at the Presqu’ile tasting room is to share our passion for the wines from Santa Maria Valley and our estate vineyard in a relaxed, elegant setting while providing world-class hospitality,” states Matt Murphy, co-founder and president. “The nomination for the top 10 Best Tasting Rooms and second place finish in the poll is a testament to the hard work our team puts in daily to deliver this experience. They are an extension of our family and do an incredible job living up to our high expectations for the guest experience at Presqu’ile. A huge thanks to our friends and extended family who voted for us; we are so appreciative of the support.”

Nominees for USA TODAY 10Best Readers’ Choice Awards categories are chosen by a panel of relevant experts. Presqu’ile (pronounced press-KEEL) is a small, family-run winery dedicated to making exceptional cool-climate Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc. Presqu’ile is a multigenerational collaboration between Madison and Suzanne Murphy, their three adult children, Matt, Anna and Jonathan, and their daughters-in-law, Amanda and Lindsey. No strangers to agriculture, four generations of the wine-loving Murphy family have been farming land in Louisiana for almost a century. Led by eldest son Matt Murphy, the family founded Presqu’ile—the Creole word for “almost an island”—both as a tribute to a beloved Gulf Coast family gathering place that was lost in Hurricane Katrina, and because they envisioned Presqu’ile as an island-like haven amid the vines. Also on the team is rising star winemaker Dieter Cronje.

Left: Murphy family members Charlie, Anna, Matt, Pokey, Suzanne and Madison; right: Assistant Winemaker Mike Chase with Gus and Nyla. Photo courtesy of Presqu’ile.

Left: Murphy family members Charlie, Anna, Matt, Pokey, Suzanne and Madison; right: Assistant Winemaker Mike Chase with Gus and Nyla. Photo courtesy of Presqu’ile.

Rescue Wine Collection

Presqu’ile also recently joined forces with the Santa Maria Valley Humane Society to release the Rescue Wine Collection named for the winning dog and cat of the Presqui’le Spokesdog and Spokescat Contest honoring the second annual Presqu’ile 5K9 Run & Walk held this fall. The contest and event benefited the work of the Santa Maria Valley Humane Society.

The Miller Family Releases of The Pillars Wines, Historically Inspired to Represent the Foundation of the Bien Nacido Estate
Nicholas Miller, Stephen Miller and Marshall Miller, proprietors of the Bien Nacido and Solomon Hills Estates. Courtesy photo.

Nicholas Miller, Stephen Miller and Marshall Miller, proprietors of the Bien Nacido and Solomon Hills Estates. Courtesy photo.

The Miller family, owners and stewards of the Bien Nacido and Solomon Hills Estates, recently announced the release of The Pillars, a selection of three historically inspired wines from the most exceptional parcels within Bien Nacido Vineyard.

Since Bien Nacido Vineyard’s inception in 1973, the most impressive parcels of the vineyard have commanded the highest demand and demonstrated the greatest quality. It’s with this understanding that, after 45 years, the Miller Family has decided to craft these three special wines, anchored in the rich history of Bien Nacido and appropriately called the Pillars to represent the foundation of the winemaking program. 

 “The Pillars Wines were created to honor our family’s history, leadership and vision for growing the world’s best grapes and producing the highest quality wines from the Bien Nacido Estate,” shares Nicholas Miller, Vice President of Sales and Marketing. “The name was really inspired by the pillars of our family.”

Bien Nacido & Solomon Hills Estates are part of The Thornhill Companies, the industry-leading umbrella brand owned by the Miller Family—one of California’s premier winegrowing families who have been farming California’s Central Coast for five generations. In addition to the Bien Nacido and Solomon Hills Estates, The Thornhill Companies includes such well-respected brands as J. Wilkes, Ballard Lane, Smashberry and Barrel Burner wines, French Camp vineyard in Paso Robles and the custom crush facilities Central Coast Wine Services and Paso Robles Wine Services.

Brick Barn Wine Estate Scores Big in Competition
Brick Barn Wine Estate Winery, courtesy photo.

Brick Barn Wine Estate Winery, courtesy photo.

The Brick Barn Estate Winery & Vineyard recently won some awards at 2018 Sonoma County Harvest Challenge and the 2018 San Francisco Chronicle International Wine Competition. Here’s a round-up of the award-winning wines:

2016 Albariño: Block 1 / Albariño Clone 1 / 1.9 acres. A lively rendition of this classic Spanish variety. Bright white flower aromatics build in the glass, leading to a crisp and direct core of exotic citrus and pear. These qualities are enhanced with extended skin contact, light pressing and extended cold settling prior to fermentation and aging in stainless steel.  2018 Sonoma County Harvest Challenge:  Best in Class, Best in Show, Best White, Double Gold and Best of the Central Coast.2018 San Francisco Chronicle International Wine Competition: Double Gold.

2016 Vermentino: Block 7 / Vermentino Clone Tablas A / 2.1 acres. An aromatic white that offers both crispness and length. Grown in a wind-protected block behind the winery, this wine shows delicate floral notes of peach and honeysuckle followed by vibrant white fruit flavors—all layered over a fresh sea breeze salinity and a lasting, stony finish. 2018 San Francisco Chronicle International Wine Competition: Sweepstakes Winner White Wines.

2017 Grenache Rosé: Block 2 / Grenache Blanc Clone 141 / 3.28 acres Alive with a vibrant fragrance of rose petal and chalk followed by a juicy core of fruit and beach stones. This wine is whole cluster pressed, settled and co-fermented with Grenache Clone 136, Grenache Clone 513 and Grenache Blanc. 2018 Sonoma County Harvest Challenge: Silver Medal.

2016 Chardonnay: Block 5 / Chardonnay Clone 4 / 5.04 acres Block 6 / Chardonnay Clone 809 / 2.96 acres. A focused, terroir-driven  Chardonnay. Bright and alluring tones of citrus and pear are driven by a crisp mineral structure derived from the alluvial sands of our estate’s lower blocks. 2018 Sonoma County Harvest Challenge: Gold Medal.

2016 Cabernet Franc: Block 18 / Cabernet Franc Clone 332 / 2.64 acres. Grown in the upper blocks of our estate vineyard, this wine derives power and finesse from an east-west row orientation along a rocky, hillside terrain. Deep red fruit and spicy aromatics lead to flavors of currant, pepper and dark cherry, all supported by firm, structured tannins. 2018 Sonoma County Harvest Challenge: Gold Medal

The 35-acre Brick Barn estate vineyard, which opened its Buellton tasting room in 2018, is open to the pubic daily. For more information, visit www.brickbarnwineestate.com.

Guarachi Wine Partners Acquires Parker Station from Fess Parker Winery
Parker Station Wine, courtesy photo.

Parker Station Wine, courtesy photo.

Guarachi Wine Partners  and Fess Parker Winery & Vineyard recently announced Guarachi Wine Partners’ acquisition of Parker Station, a Central Coast Pinot Noir brand. Guarachi Wine Partners will be representing and supporting the brand by leveraging its experienced sales team, developing marketing campaigns and national distribution to grow brand awareness and overall volume. The wine will continue to be produced by Fess Parker Winery for a period of five years.

“Ten years ago, I saw an opportunity to expand past South American wines and into California produced wines. Our domestic portfolio now features Guarachi Family Wines  —a high-end luxury label sourced from micro lots within Estate vineyards in Napa and Sonoma, and a gathering of high quality wine brands at reasonable prices including Black Ink,  tenshǝn,  Surf/Swim  and  BACON,” says Alex Guarachi, founder of Guarachi Wine Partners and owner of Guarachi Family Wines. “Parker Station is the perfect addition and fits a niche for our portfolio with its great price point Pinot Noir and drinkability that consumers are looking for. Part of the future plan for the brand is to extend the line to include Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay. I’m excited to share this wine with everyone and looking forward to a long term partnership with Fess Parker.”

Tim Snider, President of Fess Parker Winery & Vineyard, adds, “As we enter our 30th year as a family owned and operated winery here in Santa Barbara County, we feel a return to our core identity by focusing on our higher-end and single-vineyard wines is the best path forward for the family.” Snider continues, “Connecting with Alex Guarachi about his vision to grow the Parker Station label is a mutually beneficial opportunity, and we know the brand will continue to flourish as part of their portfolio, which represents the richness and diversity of the global wine world.”

Cambria Estate Winery Partners with Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation for “Stewards of the Land” Grant Program 
Courtesy Cambria Estate Winery.

Courtesy Cambria Estate Winery.

Cambria Estate Winery recently announced the launch of its “Stewards of the Land” environmental sustainability grant program in partnership with the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation (LDF). LDF has worked on environmental issues globally for the past 20 years and pulled from their broad network of leaders and organizations in the space to nominate the women for this new grant program.

The Cambria “Stewards of the Land” grant program identifies and empowers female leaders who are making meaningful contributions to environmental and community-based causes.  In partnership with LDF, Cambria Estate Winery’s co-proprietors Julia Jackson and Katie Jackson selected two recipients who will each receive a $25,000 grant to further their mission as Stewards of the Land.  The inaugural grant recipients, Calla Rose Ostrander and the Women’s Empowerment Program of Amazon Frontlines, were selected for their demonstrated commitment to environmental conservation and excellent stewardship of our natural resources, in California and around the globe, respectively.

“Our ‘Stewards of the Land’ program is not only focused on identifying inspiring female leaders in important environmental causes here at home, but the program seeks to extend its impact and reach to places around the globe that are not normally in our day-to-day conscience, like the Amazon,” says Julia Jackson, co-proprietor of Cambria and Family Ambassador for Jackson Family Wines. “We’re very excited to support Calla Rose Ostrander’s work to improve carbon capture and regeneration, and the Women’s Empowerment Program of Amazon Frontlines for its dedication to protecting over five million acres of rainforest that is vital to worldwide oxygen supply and sequesters vast amounts of carbon.”   

“We are excited to use our vast network of environmental change makers to help Cambria Estate Winery identify and champion women who are leading impactful efforts to protect the health of our planet,” says LDF Executive Director Justin Winters. “The inaugural grant recipients, Calla Rose Ostrander and the women from the Women’s Empowerment Program of Amazon Frontlines, are incredible examples of the type of thoughtful, innovative and collaborative leadership that we believe is the key to ensuring a vibrant our future.”

“We are proud to partner with LDF to help bring worldwide attention to environmental stewardship,” says Katie Jackson, co-proprietor of Cambria Estate Winery and Vice President of Sustainability and External Affairs for Jackson Family Wines. “We are supporting innovative initiatives that will have a real, lasting impact on improving soil health, while also empowering women to become environmental leaders in their own communities.”

Throughout its history, Cambria Estate Winery has taken serious, continuous steps to preserve and protect the land, take care of its employees, and support the local community.  Every aspect of the winery’s operations, from the cellar to the estate vineyard, practices sustainable farming and winemaking techniques. For more information, visit cambriawines.com/stewards-of-the-land. 

 Cheers! Click here for more Cocktail Corner columns.

Leslie Dinaberg

When she’s not busy working as the editor of Santa Barbara SEASONS, Cocktail Corner author Leslie Dinaberg writes magazine articles, newspaper columns and grocery lists. When it comes to cocktails, Leslie believes variety is the spice of life. Send your suggestions to Leslie@sbseasons.com.

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on December 14, 2018.

Cocktail Corner: 2019 World of Pinot Noir

The annual World of Pinot Noir event gathers the planet’s foremost Pinot Noir wineries and winemakers, renowned chefs, sommeliers and leading wine scholars in a weekend-long seaside celebration of this delicious and storied wine. Courtesy photo.

The annual World of Pinot Noir event gathers the planet’s foremost Pinot Noir wineries and winemakers, renowned chefs, sommeliers and leading wine scholars in a weekend-long seaside celebration of this delicious and storied wine. Courtesy photo.

A spirited toast to all things alcoholic! by Leslie Dinaberg

Looking for a special gift for that special wine lover? Tickets to the 2019 World of Pinot Noir are sure to please even the pickiest palates.

Always one of my favorite wine festivals, this year’s event includes more than 200 wineries from around the globe, pairing dinners, Pinot Noir parties and expert-led seminars.

Some of the highlights include:

Exploring the New World of Pinot Noir with Elaine Chukan Brown, the American Specialist for JancisRobinson.com and a contributing writer to Wine & Spirits Magazine, leading a winemaker panel discussion and tasting exploring the exciting wines being produced in New Zealand, Oregon, Chile and California. The discussion will explore how these pioneering regions are helping shape the future of Pinot Noir.

Tasting the Signature Styles of Burgundy with David Glancy, Master Sommelier and founder of the San Francisco Wine School, focuses on identifying the signature styles of the marque region.

Local writer and Wine Enthusiast Contributing Editor Matt Kettmann will host a dozen famous winemakers during Stars of the Central Coast Dinner.

The World of Pinot Noir takes place Feb. 28 – Mar. 2 at the Ritz-Carlton Bacara Santa Barbara. Courtesy photo.

The World of Pinot Noir takes place Feb. 28 – Mar. 2 at the Ritz-Carlton Bacara Santa Barbara. Courtesy photo.

Burgundy Dinner: Celebrating Domaine Chanson: One of the great historic producers of Burgundy, Chanson is one of only six producers in Burgundy still remaining from the 18th century. For this five-course dinner, the host, Chanson’s Managing Director Vincent Avenal, will be selecting verticals of some of his favorite wines to pair with the menu, created by Ritz-Carlton Bacara’s Executive Chef Umit Kaygusuz. The wines will include choice vintages of Chanson’s Beaune Clos de Fèves Monopole, Savigny Lès Beaune Dominodes, Chamberton Clos de Bèze, and Beaune Cuvée de Salins Hospice de Beaune. The dinner will open with Champagne Bollinger, Chanson’s sister Champagne house.

Savoy Vineyard: The Apex of Anderson Valley with Esther Mobley, Wine Critic for the San Francisco Chronicle, exploring the wines from Anderson Valley’s famous Savoy Vineyard.

A great gift idea for any wine lover, The World of Pinot Noir takes place Feb. 28 – Mar. 2 at the Ritz-Carlton Bacara Santa Barbara. Courtesy photo.

A great gift idea for any wine lover, The World of Pinot Noir takes place Feb. 28 – Mar. 2 at the Ritz-Carlton Bacara Santa Barbara. Courtesy photo.

Fess Parker Dinner to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Fess Parker Winery, WOPN hosts a five-course dinner and retrospective of one of California Pinot Noir’s most pioneering and influential wine families. Members of the Parker family, as well as head winemaker Blair Fox, will be on hand to walk guests through rare library wines representing the breadth and depth of the winery’s portfolio. Chef John Cox of The Bear and Star restaurant will deliver a carefully paired menu of his signature refined ranch cuisine to complement the tasting.

The World of Pinot Noir Grand Tasting, courtesy photo.

The World of Pinot Noir Grand Tasting, courtesy photo.

In addition, there are more special winemaker dinners and seminars, an Opening Night Party, Grand Tasting events on both Friday and Saturday, and a lovely Rosé Lawn Party on the bluff Saturday as well.

The Rose Lawn Party at World of Pinot Noir at the Ritz-Carlton Bacara. Courtesy photo.

The Rose Lawn Party at World of Pinot Noir at the Ritz-Carlton Bacara. Courtesy photo.

The World of Pinot Noir takes place February 28 – March 2 at the Ritz-Carlton Bacara Santa Barbara (8301 Hollister Ave.).

For more information or to purchase tickets, please visit WorldofPinotNoir.com. Hope to see you there!

Cheers! Click here for more Cocktail Corner columns.

Leslie Dinaberg

When she’s not busy working as the editor of Santa Barbara SEASONS, Cocktail Corner author Leslie Dinaberg writes magazine articles, newspaper columns and grocery lists. When it comes to cocktails, Leslie believes variety is the spice of life. Send your suggestions to Leslie@sbseasons.com.

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on December 7, 2018.

Cocktail Corner: Loquita’s Libations

Loquita's Porrón Hour takes place week days from 5-6 p.m., courtesy photo.

Loquita’s Porrón Hour takes place week days from 5-6 p.m., courtesy photo.

A spirited toast to all things alcoholic! by Leslie Dinaberg

Loquita, the Funk Zone favorite restaurant that celebrates the flavors of Spain, has announced a new bar and wine club program just in time for the holiday season. 

Featuring Porron Hour, a Spanish Sherry Flight and the Loquita Wine Club, Loquita’s Bar Manager David Medina has curated these new beverage programs to enjoy at the restaurant or for your home entertaining.

“Our Porron Hour is designed to share the traditional Spanish method for enjoying wine while also offering an approachable price on some of our most popular wines by the glass. Sampling these selections from our hand-blown wine carafes create a singular experience where our guests can pour directly into their mouths from an outstretched arm. Sounds a bit crazy, but that’s Loquita,” says Medina.

Demonstrating the ancient Spanish tradition of porrón, designed for the ease sharing of wine. Photo by Daniel Julia Lundgren, courtesy Flickr.

Demonstrating the ancient Spanish tradition of porrón, designed for the ease sharing of wine. Photo by Daniel Julia Lundgren, courtesy Flickr.

Porron Hour is offered weekdays from 5 – 6 p.m. Come discover and challenge your palate with varieties of exceptional and lesser-known Spanish wines. A Porron is a traditional Spanish wine pitcher that holds .75 liters and is used predominately in the Northwestern part of Spain—Catalonia, Aragon and Valencia. Porron hour features four distinguished varietals, 2017 Avinyo “Petillant” Cava; 2017 Columna Albariño; 2017 Menguante Garnacha and 2015 Finca Torremilanos “Los Cantos” Tempranillo, priced at $20 per Porron.

Medina is also enthusiastic about the Spanish Sherry Flight.  “This offers our guests an introduction to different styles of Spanish Sherry found only in southwest Spain and they pair so well with our menu.

Loquita Sherry Tasting Flight, photo by Kate Winter.

Loquita Sherry Tasting Flight, photo by Kate Winter.

Loquita’s Spanish Sherry Flight presents this unique Spanish wine made from white grapes grown near the city of Jerez de la Frontera in Andalusia, Spain. It’s produced in a variety of styles made primarily from the Palomino grape, and ranges from light white table wines to darker and heavier versions such as Amontillado and Oloroso. The flights are available nightly at the bar or table and are the perfect complement to Chef Peter Lee’s Spanish cuisine. The Spanish Sherry Flight includes four one-ounce glasses of some classics—Osborne Manzanilla, Sanlucar Barrameda; Lustau “Almacenista Obregón” Amontillado, El Puerto; Faustino Gonzalez “Cruz Vieja”, Oloroso en Rama, Jerez de la Frontera; and Barbadillo, Cream, Jerez De La Frontera,  priced at $16 per flight. 

Loquita Parron Hour, photo by Kate Winter.

Loquita Parron Hour, photo by Kate Winter.

And, with perfect timing for the holidays, Loquita launches the Loquita Wine Club. “Spanish wines are quite special and we wanted our guests to share the experience outside Loquita’s doors so we decided to offer a wine club that highlights our favorite Spanish producers,” says Medina.  Each quarter Medina selects wines from renowned regions of Spain, including world-class producers from Rioja, Priorat, Ribeira Sacra, Bierzo and the Canary Islands. Selections will showcase diverse climates, winemaking techniques, both modern and traditional, and include information about each producer and the terroir represented. Loquita Wine Club membership includes quarterly shipments of three bottles. Pricing is $75 – $95 per shipment plus tax and shipping charges.

For more information call the restaurant at 805/880-3380 or email info@loquitasb.comLoquita is located at 202 State St., 805/880-3380, loquitasb.com.

Cheers! Click here for more Cocktail Corner columns.

Leslie Dinaberg

When she’s not busy working as the editor of Santa Barbara SEASONS, Cocktail Corner author Leslie Dinaberg writes magazine articles, newspaper columns and grocery lists. When it comes to cocktails, Leslie believes variety is the spice of life. Send your suggestions to Leslie@sbseasons.com.

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on November 16, 2018.

Cocktail Corner: Brave & Maiden’s New Estate Winery and Tasting Room

Brave & Maiden Estate exterior, courtesy photo.

Brave & Maiden Estate exterior, courtesy photo.

A spirited toast to all things alcoholic! by Leslie Dinaberg

Wow. The breathtaking new Brave & Maiden Estate Winery and Tasting Room is definitely upscale and sophisticated. This is not your grandma’s winery for sure! This beautiful 70-acre estate, with a brand new state-of-the-art facility, brings an exceptional new wine experience to the Santa Ynez Valley.

Owner Rizal Risjad purchased the property in 2010 and, with his business partner and Managing Director, Jason Djang, established Brave & Maiden Estate in 2011.

Brave & Maiden Estate, inside winery, courtesy photo.

Brave & Maiden Estate, inside winery, courtesy photo.

“From the beginning, our vision for Brave & Maiden has been to become a world-class brand and we’ve never wavered from that,” said Djang, at a press preview event last month. “From our top winemaking team to our certified sustainable vineyard, the completion of our winery and tasting room is a giant leap towards making that vision a reality.”

The Brave & Maiden name is from the “Legend of Nojoqui,” a local version of the Romeo & Juliet story. Set at the nearby Nojoqui Falls, the legend recounts the story of star-crossed lovers who choose sacrifice over separation. According to the website, “inspired by such profound commitment, we’ve created a twofold and ambitious commitment of our own: to craft extraordinary wines and to share them with unforgettable hospitality.”

Brave & Maiden Estate exterior, courtesy photo.

Brave & Maiden Estate exterior, courtesy photo.

The 46-acre vineyard includes Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Syrah, Grenache and Sauvignon Blanc. Brave & Maiden is also a SIP certified sustainable vineyard dedicated to producing handcrafted, single-vineyard estate wines and red blends.

Under the direction of Winemaker and Consultant Paul Hobbs and Winemaker Josh Klapper, with Ruben Solorzano managing the vineyard, Brave & Maiden’s wines are committed to producing estate wines with the utmost level of quality and care. This attention to detail is obvious in Brave & Maiden’s new tasting room and 8,000-case production facility, which were designed by Backen, Gillam & Kroeger Architects, who are known for projects as Harlan Estate Winery, Larkmead Winery and Meadowood Napa Valley, Brave & Maiden is their first winery project on the Central Coast.

Tasting Room interior of Brave & Maiden Estate, photo by Jeremy Ball.

Tasting Room interior of Brave & Maiden Estate, photo by Jeremy Ball.

With stunning fireplaces, wood paneling and neutral earth tones, the impressive tasting room is spacious and comfortable, with indoor and outdoor seating areas and a private side area reserved for wine club members’ use. A huge sliding glass wall opens onto the expansive olive tree-filled courtyard between the tasting room and production facility, providing a great place to enjoy views of the picturesque vineyards and mountains.

Brave & Maiden offers three new wine experiences, all daily by appointment:

-a 45-minute Seated Tasting, where a dedicated host will guide guests through a curated selection of limited-production wines

-the Tour and Tasting option, offering a glimpse into the vineyard and backstage view of Brave & Maiden’s winemaking process, ending with a seated tasting

-the Tour, Tasting & Lunch, a two-hour elevated experience that includes a guided tour of the estate, followed by a seated tasting and gourmet lunch.

Brave & Maiden Estate, inside winery, courtesy photo.

Brave & Maiden Estate, inside winery, courtesy photo.

“With our new facility, our goal is to provide extraordinary experiences that are tailored to each individual guest, where they feel educated, entertained and cared for,” says Djang. “We couldn’t be more thrilled to share our journey and our wine with the community in an unforgettable experience of hospitality.”

“Brave & Maiden’s sustainably farmed vineyard is exceptional and I have no doubts the addition of the new winery and hospitality facility will further enhance and validate the brand’s presence in this world-class wine region,” shares Hobbs, who is somewhat of a legend in the winemaking world, as part of the initial team at Opus One, with a South American winemaking career that carries on today with his wines from Viña Cobos and his legendary status as the pioneer who launched malbec’s rise to fame. In additional to consulting projects, his impressive pedigree also includes being the owner and winemaker for Sebastopol-based wineries, Paul Hobbs Winery and CrossBarn, as well as his international partnerships, Viña Cobos (Cobos, Bramare, Cocodrilo, Felino), Crocus (Cahors, France), and Yacoubian-Hobbs (Armenia).

Brave & Maiden Estate exterior, courtesy photo.

Brave & Maiden Estate exterior, courtesy photo.

“We’ve invested all of ourselves in this project and are eager for guests to experience our wines first-hand. We strongly believe in the greatness of Santa Barbara County as a wine region and are privileged to be a part of it,” says Djang.

Brave & Maiden Estate is located at 649 N. Refugio Rd., Santa Ynez. For reservations, please call 805/693-2989, email reservations@braveandmaiden.com, or visit braveandmaiden.com.

Cheers! Click here for more Cocktail Corner columns.

Leslie Dinaberg

Leslie Dinaberg

When she’s not busy working as the editor of Santa Barbara SEASONS, Cocktail Corner author Leslie Dinaberg writes magazine articles, newspaper columns and grocery lists. When it comes to cocktails, Leslie believes variety is the spice of life. Send your suggestions to Leslie@sbseasons.com.

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on October 19, 2018.

Cocktail Corner: Celebrate Harvest With SOMM 3, Solvang Grape Stomp and More!

Solvang Stomp, photo courtesy Santa Barbara Vintners.

Solvang Stomp, photo courtesy Santa Barbara Vintners.

A spirited toast to all things alcoholic! by Leslie Dinaberg

The annual Santa Barbara Vintners Celebration of Harvest events include something for just about every wine lover. From special harvest tastings, lunches and dinners with winemakers and Master Sommeliers, to a grape stomping festival and a movie premiere, the Celebration of Harvest weekend is an ideal opportunity to explore Santa Barbara County wine country,  and it’s all taking place on the weekend of October 12-14.

One of weekend’s highlights is the first public premiere of SOMM 3, the latest addition to the successful SOMM film franchise.  Premiering under the stars at the lovely Solvang Festival Theater on Saturday, October 13 at 8 p.m., under the stars, the festivities also include a post-film Q&A with cast members and Producer Jackson Myers. The premiere is being presented by Santa Barbara Vintners and Solvang Conference & Visitors Bureau and net proceeds will benefit the Santa Barbara Vintners.

 

 

The story of SOMM 3—the highly anticipated follow-up to the influential films SOMM and its sequel SOMM: Into the Bottle—has been described as follows:While three of the greatest legends of wine meet in Paris to drink the rarest bottles of their careers, the best blind tasters in the world gather in New York City to settle an age-old argument about wine.  In the end, the past and present slam into each other and the results could change the world of wine forever.  The all-star cast includes some of the wine world’s most respected figures including Steven Spurrier, the man responsible for staging the 1976 “Judgment of Paris,” wine critic Jancis Robinson MW, renowned Master Sommelier Fred Dame, as well as Santa Barbara County’s own Rajat Parr, Partner/Proprietor of Sandhi and Domaine de la Côte (and a partner at Bibi Ji, Downtown Santa Barbara’s terrific new Indian Restaurant).”

SOMM 3, courtesy photo.

SOMM 3, courtesy photo.

The Celebration of Harvest schedule also includes:

Friday, October 12

Open House with futures tasting and complimentary appetizers at Lions Peak tasting room (all weekend)

Special harvest wine flight tastings at Foxen Vineyard & Winery (all weekend)

Saturday, October 13

Solvang Grape Stomp Festival, a harvest street festival in downtown Solvang complete with a traditional grape stomp where participants can taste from dozens of area wineries, dance to two live bands, drink pink in the “I Love Rosé Lounge” and purchase food from popular area eateries. Participating wineries include: Alma Rosa Winery & Vineyards,  Carivintas WineryCrossHatch Winery, D. Volk Wines, Feliz Noche Cellars, Fiddlehead CellarsGrace + WineHilliard Bruce,  J. Wilkes Wines, Kita WinesLafond Winery and VineyardLarner Vineyard & WineryLions Peak VineyardsLucas & Lewellen/Toccata, Lucky Dogg WineryLumenMartellotto Winery, Melville Vineyards & Winery, Rancho Sisquoc Winery, Royal Oaks Winery Sanford Winery & Vineyards, Santa Barbara Winery, Sevtap Winery, The Sanger Family of Wines, and Twenty Mile Winery. This fun, new event takes place from 2-5 p.m. in downtown Solvang on First Street (between Mission Drive/Hwy. 246 & Copenhagen Drive).

Courtesy Santa Barbara Vintners.

Courtesy Santa Barbara Vintners.

A Harvest Lunch with winemaker Justin Willet at Tyler Winery (includes a welcome reception, wine tasting & lunch).

A Master Sommelier Dinner with Will Costello at Bien Nacido & Solomon Hills Estates.

Winemaker Dinner with Wes Hagen and J.Wilkes at Root 246.

Winemakers Greg Brewer, Lane Tanner and Dick Doré in a food pairing dinner with library pinots from Santa Barbara County at Pico at The Los Alamos General Store, by reservation only.

Lucas & Lewellen in a Winemaker Dinner with Megan McGrath Gates at Petros in Solvang.

Sunday, October 14

Live Music by Kimber Springs and Jess Jones at Riverbench Vineyard.

For additional information on events happening during Celebration of Harvest please visit: celebrationofharvest.com.

Cheers! Hope to see some of you there. Click here for more Cocktail Corner columns.

Leslie Dinaberg

When she’s not busy working as the editor of Santa Barbara SEASONS, Cocktail Corner author Leslie Dinaberg writes magazine articles, newspaper columns and grocery lists. When it comes to cocktails, Leslie believes variety is the spice of life. Send your suggestions to Leslie@sbseasons.com.

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on September 28, 2018.

Cocktail Corner: Saddle Up to Hitching Post Wines

Top Row: Hitching Post Wines Exterior, Hitching Post Wines Interior. Middle: Frank Ostini and Olive deliver lunch; l-r Frank Ostini, Jami Ostini, Charlotte Hartley and Gray Hartley. Bottom: Hitching Post Wines Interior, the Hitching Post Burger and Triple Fried Fries. Photos by Rob Stark, courtesy Hitching Post Wine.

Top Row: Hitching Post Wines Exterior, Hitching Post Wines Interior. Middle: Frank Ostini and Olive deliver lunch; l-r Frank Ostini, Jami Ostini, Charlotte Hartley and Gray Hartley. Bottom: Hitching Post Wines Interior, the Hitching Post Burger and Triple Fried Fries. Photos by Rob Stark, courtesy Hitching Post Wine.

A spirited toast to all things alcoholic! by Leslie Dinaberg

You know the saying, “location, location, location?” Well, sometimes it takes a while for the right one to become available—but in the case of Hitching Post Wines‘ long-awaited tasting room, it was well worth the wait!  

Located right next door to the famed Hitching Post 2 restaurant in Buellton (which was so memorably immortalized in the movie Sideways), Hitching Post Wines just opened their first-ever tasting room, after almost 40 years of winemaking. The spacious new nearly 12-acre property, formerly occupied by Loring Wine Company, belongs to Frank and Jami Ostini and Gray and Charlotte Hartley. The new tasting room is housed in a mid-century farmhouse with trailing walkways and outdoor seating areas with a view of the Santa Ynez Mountain landscape—including the Ostrich Farm next door. Throughout the property are walkways and casual picnic areas that invite guests to linger over a bottle of wine while taking in the dramatic landscape. Dogs are welcome too.

Bottles on display at the Hitching Post Wine Tasting Room, photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

Bottles on display at the Hitching Post Wine Tasting Room, photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

Longtime friends, Gray Hartley and Frank Ostini have been making wines in Santa Barbara County since 1979. Hartley, a former Alaskan salmon fisherman and Ostini, chef and owner of the Hitching Post 2 Restaurant, came together through their love of wine and winemaking. Over the years what was once their backyard hobby has turned into a highly acclaimed winemaking venture, with Pinot Noir as their primary focus. 

Currently, the winery produces about 17,000 cases a year.

Outdoor seating at the Hitching Post Wine Tasting Room, photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

Outdoor seating at the Hitching Post Wine Tasting Room, photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

The Traditional Tasting at Hitching Post Wines offers a flight of five Hitching Post Wines consisting of Pinks 2017, Hometown Pinot Noir 2016, Cork Dancer Pinot Noir 2015, Santa Maria Valley Pinot Noir 2015 and Gen Red 2016, priced at $15 per guest.

A Reserve Tasting, priced at $20, includes five wines—Highliner Pinot Noir 2015, Perfect Set Pinot Noir 2015, Bien Nacido Pinot Noir 2015, Sanford & Benedict Pinot Noir 2015 and Four Top  2012. The caveat of the Reserve Tasting will be its ever-changing menu featuring rare single-vineyard bottling and special older vintages of Hitching Post.

Hitching Post Wines also offers customized Private Winemaker Tastings with Gray Hartley and Frank Ostini for $60 per guest (by appointment only).

A sign welcomes visitors to the new Hitching Post Wine Tasting Room.

A sign welcomes visitors to the new Hitching Post Wine Tasting Room.

The other beauty of this location is easy access to Hitching Post 2’s Santa Maria Style BBQ food pairings. Classics from the restaurant include HP Burgers, Triple-Fried French Fries, Santa Maria BBQ Artichokes and Grilled Corn Quesadillas. Coming soon, the public will experience an expanded lunch menu served from a refurbished 1970s Vintage Airstream trailer, relocated from Seaside, Florida, and converted into a first-class Santa Maria BBQ kitchen on wheels.

In the coming months, look for the phase two restoration of the rear building into a public wine bar with an enclosed patio overlooking the river with mountain views and a natural stage, ideal for live performances. The classic Airstream trailer and Hitching Post Santa Maria grills will offer a broader menu, cooked onsite surrounding by casual seating. Also planned is a phase three restoration and remodel of the original barn that oversees the Santa Ynez Mountains specifically for private Hitching Post events.

Inside the Hitching Post Wine Tasting Room, photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

Inside the Hitching Post Wine Tasting Room, photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

Hitching Post Wines is open Sunday – Thursday from  11 a.m. – 5  p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. – 8 p.m.  Food service from The Hitching Post 2 is available from 11:30 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. daily, with limited cheese and charcuterie available for purchase in the tasting room. Hitching Post Wines is located at 420 E. Hwy. 246, Buellton. 

Cheers! Click here for more Cocktail Corner columns.

Leslie Dinaberg

When she’s not busy working as the editor of Santa Barbara SEASONS, Cocktail Corner author Leslie Dinaberg writes magazine articles, newspaper columns and grocery lists. When it comes to cocktails, Leslie believes variety is the spice of life. Send your suggestions to Leslie@sbseasons.com.

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on August 31, 2018.

Cocktail Corner: Taste of the Town Santa Barbara Benefit for the Arthritis Foundation

Once again, the beautiful Riviera Park will host the 37th annual Taste of the Town Santa Barbara benefitting the Arthritis Foundation on Sunday, September 9, from Noon-3 p.m. Courtesy photo.

Once again, the beautiful Riviera Park will host the 37th annual Taste of the Town Santa Barbara benefitting the Arthritis Foundation on Sunday, September 9, from Noon-3 p.m. Courtesy photo.

A spirited toast to all things alcoholic! by Leslie Dinaberg

The Taste of the Town Santa Barbara Weekend features two signature culinary events, so why not eat and drink to your heart’s content on September 7 and 9!

First up is Taste of the Town Santa Barbara Connoisseurs’ Circle Gala Dinner on Friday, September 7,  at Hilton Santa Barbara Beachfront Resort. At this VIP tasting event with a select group of Taste of the Town wine and beer partners, guests will enjoy appetizers, as well as a four-course gourmet dinner prepared by 2018 Honorary Chefs Matt Johnson (San Ysidro Ranch), David Rosner (Monarch at the Montecito Inn), Steven Giles (formerly of Sage & Onion and Le Gavroche London), David Cecchini (Cecco Ristorante), and a guest chef from Hilton Hotels & Resorts.

Taste of the Town's 2018 Honorary Vintner is Jim Clendenen of Au Bon Climat, courtesy photo.

Taste of the Town’s 2018 Honorary Vintner is Jim Clendenen of Au Bon Climat, courtesy photo.

The evening takes place in the beautiful oceanview Rotunda and includes special wine pairings from 2018 Honorary Vintner Jim Clendenen of Au Bon Climat.

In addition, guests will have the opportunity to meet 2018 Youth Honoree Shannon Morehouse and 2018 Honorary Artist Chris Potter, and enjoy a live auction and dancing under the stars. Seating is limited so advance reservations are highly recommended.

Sunday, September 9, brings yet another opportunity to indulge for a good cause. The popular Taste of the Town Santa Barbara features unlimited samplings from the area’s finest restaurants, caterers, wineries, breweries and spirits providers, with a silent auction of lifestyle items, photo booth and live jazz entertainment by the David Tovar Trio.

One of the 2018 Taste of the Town Honorary Chefs is Matt Johnson, executive chef at San Ysidro Ranch. SB Seasons file photo by Amy Barnard.

One of the 2018 Taste of the Town Honorary Chefs is Matt Johnson, executive chef at San Ysidro Ranch. SB Seasons file photo by Amy Barnard.

Confirmed food purveyers include: Ca’Dario, Chefs on a Mission, Country Catering, Finch & Fork, Finney’s Crafthouse, Flightline, Green Table, High on the Hog Catering, Lilac Patisserie, Michael’s Catering, Mizza Artisan Pizza, opal Restaurant & Bar, Pascucci’s, Santa Barbara Yacht Club, SBCC Culinary, The Little Door, The Little Kitchen, The Nook, The Nugget Goleta, The Palace Grill, The Secret Ingredient and Via Maestra 42.

Confirmed wine, beer and spirits purveyers include: Alexander & Wayne, Alma Rosa, Arthur Earl, Artiste, Au Bon Climat, Brander, Brewer-Clifton, Cutler’s Artisan Spirits, Demetria Estates, DV8 Cellars, Gainey, Giessinger, Grassini, Islands Brewing Company, Jaffurs, Ken Brown Wines, Kessler-Haak, Margerum Wine Company, Melville, Presqu’ile, Qupe, Refugio Ranch, Roblar, Temperance Cellars and Whitcraft Winery.

It all takes place from noon-3 p.m. at Riviera Park, 2030 Alameda Padre Serra, Santa Barbara.

Taste of the Town's confirmed wine, beer and spirits purveyers include: Alexander & Wayne, Alma Rosa, Arthur Earl, Artiste, Au Bon Climat, Brander, Brewer-Clifton, Cutler's Artisan Spirits, Demetria Estates, DV8 Cellars, Gainey, Giessinger, Grassini, Islands Brewing Company, Jaffurs, Ken Brown Wines, Kessler-Haak, Margerum Wine Company, Melville, Presqu'ile, Qupe, Refugio Ranch, Roblar, Temperance Cellars and Whitcraft Winery. Courtesy photo.

Taste of the Town’s confirmed wine, beer and spirits purveyers include: Alexander & Wayne, Alma Rosa, Arthur Earl, Artiste, Au Bon Climat, Brander, Brewer-Clifton, Cutler’s Artisan Spirits, Demetria Estates, DV8 Cellars, Gainey, Giessinger, Grassini, Islands Brewing Company, Jaffurs, Ken Brown Wines, Kessler-Haak, Margerum Wine Company, Melville, Presqu’ile, Qupe, Refugio Ranch, Roblar, Temperance Cellars and Whitcraft Winery. Courtesy photo.

All (yes, ALL) proceeds from Taste of the Town Santa Barbara support the programs and services of the Arthritis Foundation. The Foundation is the only nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the lives of 50 million people (including nearly 300,000 children) with arthritis through health education, advocacy, research, and local juvenile arthritis support. Tickets are available at www.arthritis.org/tasteofthetownsb or by calling the Arthritis Foundation Central Coast at 805/563-4685.

Hope to see you there! Cheers! Click here for more Cocktail Corner columns.

Leslie Dinaberg

When she’s not busy working as the editor of Santa Barbara SEASONS, Cocktail Corner author Leslie Dinaberg writes magazine articles, newspaper columns and grocery lists. When it comes to cocktails, Leslie believes variety is the spice of life. Send your suggestions to Leslie@sbseasons.com.

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on August 17, 2018.

Cocktail Corner: Santa Barbara Polo & Wine Festival

Santa Barbara Polo & Wine Festival, photo by Jon Endow.

Santa Barbara Polo & Wine Festival, photo by Jon Endow.

A spirited toast to all things alcoholic! by Leslie Dinaberg

Get ready for another fun festival when the Santa Barbara Polo & Wine Festival returns to the Santa Barbara Polo & Racquet Club on Saturday, September 8.

The festival combines polo, local wine, and music for a unique one-day experience that includes musical performances by ZZ Ward, Booker T. Jones, California Honeydrops, Quinn DeVeaux and DJ Sets by Soul Dust Productions.

Santa Barbara Polo & Wine Festival, photo by Andrew Thill.

Santa Barbara Polo & Wine Festival, photo by Andrew Thill.

The Festival features a careful curation of local food and wineries, including Jardesca, Lavender Oak Vineyard, Old Creek Ranch, Sanford Winery, Standing Sun Wines, Summerland Winery and more. In addition to a wine tasting hour from 1 -2 p.m. where attendees will having a chance to sample all of the featured wines, there’s also a VIP champagne and cheese hour from 5:30 – 6:30 p.m.

In addition, sommelier guided wine tasting tours will be available on a first come first serve basis and attendees will be guided across all of the wineries of the festival and given an overview, history, and tasting notes at each winery as well.

Santa Barbara Polo & Wine Festival, photo by Andrew Thill.

Santa Barbara Polo & Wine Festival, photo by Andrew Thill.

There are several different levels of experiences and perks available at the Festival, so visit sbpoloandwine.com for all of the specifics.

Santa Barbara Polo & Wine Festival, photo by David Lominska.

Santa Barbara Polo & Wine Festival, photo by David Lominska.

In addition, this year, the Santa Barbara Polo & Wine Festival is the kick-off event to the 8-goal polo series at the Santa Barbara Polo & Racquet Club. This will be an official polo game of the series, and is sure to be an incredible match. While not mandatory, the game’s elegant atmosphere will encourage guests to get in touch with their inner Julia Roberts (think the polo match scene in Pretty Woman). The bigger and more elaborate the hat the better, although September 8 is my birthday, so I might just wear my tiara! 

Hope to see you there. Cheers!

Santa Barbara Polo & Racquet Club is located at 3300 Via Real, Carpinteria.

Nick Waterhouse at Santa Barbara Polo & Wine Festival, photo by Andrew Thill.

Nick Waterhouse at Santa Barbara Polo & Wine Festival, photo by Andrew Thill.

Santa Barbara Polo & Wine Festival, photo by Jon Endow.

Santa Barbara Polo & Wine Festival, photo by Jon Endow.

Santa Barbara Polo & Wine Festival, photo by Jon Endow.

Santa Barbara Polo & Wine Festival, photo by Jon Endow.

Santa Barbara Polo & Wine Festival, photo by Jon Endow.

Santa Barbara Polo & Wine Festival, photo by Jon Endow.

Santa Barbara Polo & Wine Festival, photo by Jon Endow.

Santa Barbara Polo & Wine Festival, photo by Jon Endow.

Click here for more Cocktail Corner columns.

Leslie Dinaberg

When she’s not busy working as the editor of Santa Barbara SEASONS, Cocktail Corner author Leslie Dinaberg writes magazine articles, newspaper columns and grocery lists. When it comes to cocktails, Leslie believes variety is the spice of life. Send your suggestions to Leslie@sbseasons.com.

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on August 3, 2018.

Cocktail Corner: Olé Rosé

Rose Wine, photo by Ulrika, Flickr.com.

Rose Wine, photo by Ulrika, Flickr.com.

A spirited toast to all things alcoholic! by Leslie Dinaberg

Our recent summer heat wave is a perfect time to sip rosé, but honestly,  this easy-to-pair-with-almost-any-food, warm weather go-to wine has become a year-round favorite for me—and I know I’m not alone.

According to the buyers at Whole Foods, “Rosés are on fire, making up nearly 40% of all wine purchases, and rightfully so—they’ve thrown off their ‘sweet and simple’ shackles and are unabashedly delicious.”

Among the many excellent rosés I’ve had the pleasure of tasting recently, one of the highlights was Brick Barn Wine Estate‘s 2016 Grenache Rosé. Inspired by the classic dry rosés of the Rhône Valley, this lovely wine was a 2018 Silver Winner in the San Francisco Chronicle International Wine Competition. For the best experience, visit their recently opened estate vineyard, located on a historic 1,100-acre ranch in Buellton (795 W. Hwy. 246), a stunning spot to savor both the wine and the views.

Brick Barn Wine Estate Winery, photo by Bottle Branding, courtesy Brick Barn.

Brick Barn Wine Estate Winery, photo by Bottle Branding, courtesy Brick Barn.

Another local favorite is Margerum Santa Barbara County 2017 Riviera Rosé, crafted from Grenache and Syrah grapes sourced from select vineyards including Estelle and Camp 4 vineyards in Santa Barbara County and Alamo Creek Vineyard in San Luis Obispo County. Dry and refreshing, this is a consistent go-to wine for me.

Dolin Malibu Estate Vineyards 2015 Rosé of Pinot Noir uses grapes from three prominent Central Coast vineyards to create this refreshing Rosé, which offers up enticing aromas of berries and melon followed by a crisp, fruity finish.

Herzog Lineage Rosé 2017 blends 12 grape varieties from the Herzog’s family’s Prince Vineyard in California. Their Oxnard-based facility prides itself on keeping Kosher, without any negative impacts on the taste of the wine, which features aromas and flavors of ripe strawberries, papaya, and pomegranate seeds. Winemakers note that this unique rosé should be served very cold, which is my preference in most cases.

Rose Wine, photo by Susanne Nilsson, Flickr.com.

Rose Wine, photo by Susanne Nilsson, Flickr.com.

Psagot Rosé 2017 is another Kosher blend of red grape varietals, in this case they’re harvested from vineyards located in the northern Jerusalem Mountains at a height of 700 meters. With a very clean and fresh flavor, the wine pairs particularly well with Mediterranean cuisine.

Another excellent Kosher rosé is the Tabor Adama Barbera Rosé 2017, which is characterized by red berry and cherry aromas and high acidity. Israeli producer Tabor showcases these attributes in a flavorful, light-bodied wine with a nice balance between the fruity notes and the acidity.

The 2017 BY.OTT Cotes de Provence Rosé is an elegant yet friendly French bottle with a pale,  pretty color and a delicate and fruity nose and taste that’s perfect for toasting a happy couple at a price point that won’t break the bank.

Sparkling rosés are also terrific for toasts, and have become quite popular of late. Santa Margherita Prosecco Superiore DOCG is a perfect choice for your next summer party. The fruity flavor and aromas of peaches and flowers pair well with seafood, cheese appetizers and dessert. And bubbles always add a festive touch. 

There are two main ways to produce rosé wine, and in both cases they’re made from grapes with dark skin,” explains Gabriel Geller, Vice President of Public Relations for The Royal Wine Corp. The first method is known as maceration. After the red or black grapes are pressed, the skins macerate in the juice for anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours, until the desired color is released. The second method is called saignée, which is French for “bleeding.” The red or black grape skins are pressed with the skins, producing a slightly pink-colored juice. This juice is fermented into wine that will become a rosé.

Whether you prefer your rosés fruity, slightly sweet, or very dry—they’ll pair beautifully both beachside or poolside. Enjoy!

Click here for more Cocktail Corner columns.

Leslie Dinaberg

When she’s not busy working as the editor of Santa Barbara SEASONS, Cocktail Corner author Leslie Dinaberg writes magazine articles, newspaper columns and grocery lists. When it comes to cocktails, Leslie believes variety is the spice of life. Send your suggestions to Leslie@sbseasons.com.

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on July 13, 2018.

Cocktail Corner: The Wine Shepherd

The Wine Shepherd, photo courtesy Anna Ferguson-Sparks, Stiletto Marketing.

The Wine Shepherd, photo courtesy Anna Ferguson-Sparks, Stiletto Marketing.

A spirited toast to all things alcoholic! by Leslie Dinaberg

Two of Santa Barbara County’s hottest restaurant teams—PICO in Los Alamos and The Black Sheep in Downtown Santa Barbara—have joined forces to create The Wine Shepherd, a new wine bar, tasting room and wine shop located next to The Black Sheep at 30 E. Ortega St., Santa Barbara (at the corner of Ortega and Anacapa Streets, across from Paradise Cafe).

PICO co-owners Will Henry and Kali Kopley have an excellent selection of wine in the retail section of the restaurant and The Wine Shepherd extends those offerings into Santa Barbara’s buzzy Presidio Neighborhood. It also offers an additional tasting room for the well-regarded Lumen Wines, which Henry co-owns with pioneering Santa Barbara County winemaker Lane Tanner.

The Wine Shepherd, photo courtesy Anna Ferguson-Sparks, Stiletto Marketing.

The Wine Shepherd, photo courtesy Anna Ferguson-Sparks, Stiletto Marketing.

“We have a 2,000-bottle wine inventory at PICO, available to enjoy at the bar, in the restaurant, or for purchase to take with you…with The Wine Shepherd, we’re simply sharing PICO’s unparalleled wine selection with a greater portion of Santa Barbara County,” states Henry, whose father, Warner Henry, founded The Henry Wine Group import, wholesale and broker empire.

The Wine Shepherd, whose name is a play on words referencing The Black Sheep, offers a wide array of local, domestic and international wines for sale, as well as a carefully-curated list of beer and cider. Housed in the former Seagrass Restaurant space, The Wine Shepherd’s “upcycled chic” ambiance features a tasting bar built by Henry himself, where a selection of 14 or more wines by the glass—plus beer and cider—are available, as well as Lumen Wines tasting flights and excellent cheeses and charcuterie from PICO Chef and Partner Drew Terp. The Wine Shepherd also offers competitive pricing on bottles to go.

The Wine Shepherd, photo courtesy Anna Ferguson-Sparks, Stiletto Marketing.

The Wine Shepherd, photo courtesy Anna Ferguson-Sparks, Stiletto Marketing.

With a string of hits in the food and wine world, Kopley is owner-founder of five different establishments in North Lake Tahoe, California: three Uncorked wine bar locations, Soupa restaurant, and Petra, a wine-inspired restaurant in Northstar. As a restaurateur, Kopley was a customer of The Henry Wine Group, which led to her introduction to Will Henry. The two are now married are parents to an adorable little girl. 

“The Wine Shepherd marks the seventh wine-related business in which I’ve recently had a hand in launching, and is modeled after some of my Tahoe-area businesses,” says Kopley. “We have such a loyal PICO following…and many of our friends and fans make the drive from Santa Barbara to Los Alamos. The Wine Shepherd will give them just a taste of what PICO has to offer, but closer to home.”

“We will offer a large selection of wines from around the world, as well as a healthy representation of local heroes. As we do at PICO, we will focus on small production, family-owned producers and obscure, hard-to-get wines, plus old vintage rarities and gems,” says Henry.

The Wine Shepherd, photo courtesy Anna Ferguson-Sparks, Stiletto Marketing.

The Wine Shepherd, photo courtesy Anna Ferguson-Sparks, Stiletto Marketing.

Henry and Kopley chose The Wine Shepherd’s location after becoming friends with The Black Sheep’s family of owners, Chef Robert Perez and his son, Ruben.

“We have always loved what the Perez family has done with The Black Sheep. Kali was also a patron and huge fan of their former Nevada City restaurant, Citronée,” says Henry. “We intend this to be a partnership with them that will both enhance the wine experience that we’ll offer, and augment The Black Sheep’s existing wine program.”

The Wine Shepherd is open Tuesday through Friday from 3-10 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from noon to 10 p.m., with special happy hour prices from 4-6 p.m. daily. For more information, visit WineShepherdSB.com.

Cheers!  Click here for more Cocktail Corner columns.

Leslie Dinaberg

When she’s not busy working as the editor of Santa Barbara SEASONS, Cocktail Corner author Leslie Dinaberg writes magazine articles, newspaper columns and grocery lists. When it comes to cocktails, Leslie believes variety is the spice of life. Send your suggestions to Leslie@sbseasons.com. 

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on July 6, 2018.