Monday, October 24, 2011

"Winemakers to Watch" Open Tasting Room in Los Olivos

This summer, Downtown Los Olivos welcomed one of its newest tasting room featuring three emerging wine labels from two notable winemakers in Santa Barbara County.  Alta Maria Vineyards, Native9 and Autonom Wines produce a selection of superbly crafted wines under each label from the flagship Pinot Noir to Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Rhône varietal blends.

James Ontiveros and Paul Wilkins honed their skills at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo as classmates, as well as in the vineyard and winery over many years working to produce some awarding winning wines from the Santa Maria Valley and Santa Ynez Valley.  As if that day job wasn't enough, Ontiveros maintains Rancho Ontiveros Vineyard and serves as Director of Sales and Marketing for Bien Nacido Vineyards.  Paul Wilkins served as assistant winemaker for Alban Vineyards for eight years before forming a partnership with Ontiveros on Native9, Alta Maria and Autonom.  It should be no surprise that the San Francisco Chronicle hailed the duo as "Winemakers to Watch in 2011."

The Alta Maria Vineyards tasting room is located along Grand Avenue in the heart of Downtown Los Olivos.  The location may be familiar to those that frequent Los Olivos because it once housed Consilience Wines, which has since moved in with its sister label, Tre Anelli.  

2933 Grand Avenue, Suite A, Los Olivos
Phone: (805) 686-1144
Open Daily 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Tasting Fee: $10-$15
Twitter: @AltaMariaWine

Alta Maria Vineyards
Autonom Wines

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Garagiste Festival Shines Spotlight on Artisan Winemakers

What is a "Garagiste?" It is a term originally used in the Bordeaux region of France to denigrate the renegade small-lot winemakers, who often work from their garages and refused to follow the rules.  While the French may frown upon the "garagistes," a group of dedicated wine enthusiasts and artisan winemakers are resurrecting the term to describe the growing number of small-lot producers from California's famed wine producing regions.  Make no mistake: these wineries are producing some of the finest wines you may never have heard of.  But now is your chance to savor the Garagiste wines of California's Central Coast.

The Garagiste Festival will bring together 40 wineries from Paso Robles and Santa Barbara County for this inaugural event at Windfall Farms, located in the rolling hillsides of Eastside Paso Robles.

The Garagiste Festival will also feature two informative seminars with several of the most renowned winemakers in California's Central Coast - Justin Smith (Saxum), Neil Collins (Tablas Creek and Lone Madrone), and Terry Culton (Adelaida Cellars).


The Garagiste Festival
November 12, 2011
Windfall Farms, Paso Robles

"Paso Rocks the World" Seminar: 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.
"The Ultimate Barrel Tasting-Oak Flavors Tasted & Explained Seminar: 11:15 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.
Consumer Tasting: 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Winemaker After Party: 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

Tickets are now available for the Festival by clicking here. Tickets for the Consumer Tasting cost $55.  The All-Access Pass costs $100 and includes admission to the 2 seminars, consumer tasting and winemaker after party.

Want to find out more about what is a "Garagiste" and the venue for this year's inaugural Garagiste Festival? Check out the videos below!