the Stories

Stories behind the Wine

Buttonwood Farm, a Hidden Gem in Santa Barbara County

Buttonwood Farm barn
Key to Wine Country Weekend is a new endeavor in Santa Barbara County. We were able to attend the first one in June 2014. On the final day on a beautiful Sunday Morning, we gathered at the top of the mesa for a guided tour of Buttonwood Farm. This weekend you get the chance to […]

Santa Barbara’s Celebration of Harvest Weekend

Santa Barbara Harvest Festival
Santa Barbara seems to be an undiscovered gem of wine country. There were those that took notice when “Sideways” the movie came out back in 2004. Santa Barbara recently celebrated 10 years of “Sideways” in early September. While it is still a relatively young area with the first of the vineyards planted in the 70’s, […]

Larner Vineyard and Winery, the History

Larner Vineyard Sunset
Michael Larner’s parents found Ballard Canyon to be a magical place. From the curvy roads at the top of the canyon, the expansive views from Purisima Mountain Vineyard and they delicious way that Rhone Variety grapes grow here, I have to agree. Amidst the “eclecticness” that is Santa Barbara County, this quiet valley is growing […]

Cold Heaven Cellars – Rhone Scent-ual Experience

Cold Heaven Rhone Scentual Experience
Founded in 1996 by winemaker Morgan Cledenen, Cold Heaven Cellars creates cool climate Viognier. Her Viogniers exhibit balance, finesse and bright acid. In addition to her Viogniers, Pinot Noir and Syrahs, she also produces “Domaine de Deux Mondes”.  This is a wine made from Santa Barbara grapes but done in the style of Yves Cuilleron […]

Presqu’ile Key Weekend Part 2 – Chardonnay

Presqu'ile WInery Hilltop, Santa Maria Valley
In our second installment of the amazing conversation at the Presqu’ile Winery Key to Wine Country Event, we move on to a side by side tasting of Chardonnays. The grapes for these two Chardonnays were again both grown on the Presqu’ile Vineyard. The Presqu’ile Chardonnay, made by winemaker Dieter Cronje is aged in neutral oak […]

Presqu’ile Key Weekend Part 1 – Sauvignon Blanc

Presqu'ile WInery Hilltop, Santa Maria Valley
When you are a wine geek, there is no place you would rather be than tasting wine with a winemaker. In June, the Santa Barbara Vintners held their 1st Key to Wine Country Weekend. The weekend included multiple events at various wineries, meant to give you an insiders perspective on winemaking in Santa Barbara. Presqu’ile […]

Presqu’ile Winery – Taste through the vineyard

Presqu'ile WInery Hilltop, Santa Maria Valley
Starting the day driving north on the 101 to the Santa Maria Valley is never a bad thing. This section of roadway is lined with vineyards. Before you get to Santa Maria you take a right and drive out to the gates of Presqu’ile. Through the gate you see the expanse of rolling vineyards, you […]

In the Vineyard with Steve Beckmen – Shoot thinning

beckmen
The drive to Purisima Mountain was like taking a step back into my childhood, the curving roads at the top of this canyon reminded me of southern West Virginia, with one dramatic difference…there were vineyards on these hills. WE made this trek during the Spring Vintners Weekend, when we were lucky enough to do a […]

From Dirt to Glass – Michael Larner on Syrah

Larner Vineyard Sunset
Syrah. You know it. You have heard it called Shiraz and made into lush giant styles from Australia.  Maybe you have had it in a GSM, that Rhone blend of Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre. Chances are you have even tried it as a single variety wine, perhaps a French . It’s not the nation’s top […]

Speaking with Michael Larner – Ballard Canyon AVA

Larner Winery
We had the opportunity to speak one on one with Michael Larner of Larner Vineyards and Winery in Ballard Canyon, out at the vineyard. This beautiful property is at the Southern end of the new Ballard Canyon AVA. In this Video Michael talks about the formation and the plans for the new Ballard Canyon AVA. […]

Riverbench Vineyards and Winery, a Vineyard tour

Riverbench Vineyard
Michael and I started our Key to Wine Country Weekend with a Vineyard Tour at Riverbench Vineyards with the Vineyard Manager Rawley Hermreck. We arrived way early (I read 10 am and it was actually 11!) and actually beat Laura, the tasting room manager in. Really it was a happy accident though, Michael had time […]

Ballard Canyon Wines, The 1st Annual Larner Winemaker Dinner

Larner Vineyard Wines
1st Annual Larner Winemaker Dinner at the Ballard Inn & Restaurant The warm atmosphere of the Ballard Inn, was the perfect setting to enjoy the beautiful wines of Larner Vineyard and Winery grown in the brand new Ballard Canyon AVA (by the man who got this AVA going) and have them paired with the Asian & […]

Santa Barbara, The Key to Wine Country, Clos Pepe

Wes Hagen, Clos Pepe Wine Maker
A Barrel Tasting at Clos Pepe is an event not to be missed. Wes Hagen, the winemaker is a charismatic and engaging personality with an incredible amount of knowledge on wine, soil and philosophy! Taste great wines, learn an amazing amount about vineyards, barrels and winemaking and have a great time! Learn about Russian Barrels, […]

Key to Wine Country – An exclusive weekend in Santa Barbara

Beckmen Vineyard
If you follow this blog, you know that we are in love with Santa Barbara Wine Country.  We had the great pleasure of attending the Vintners Spring Weekend in April where we met many of the local winemakers, sampled wines and saw some beautiful wineries. Well the Santa Barbara Vintners are at it again.  Coming […]
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