solvang

How we discovered the Santa Ynez Valley

Mary with the goods!

Mary with the goods!

The Thanksgiving holiday reminded us of how we originally discovered the Santa Ynez Valley. I think we can trace our first visit to 2008. It’s a great time to visit because the weather is beautiful, and if you go early in the week, it’s not crowded. We were returning from a trip up the coast to Monterey. On our way back, Mike discovered a scenic “shortcut” called Foxen Canyon Road. We love to explore and take roads to see where they lead us – including a 2200-mile adventure through Europe with Mike driving a Renault Twingo which we called a sewing machine on wheels!

On Foxen Canyon Road, we discovered there were beautiful tasting rooms with some great wine. We stopped at the Foxen wine shack (before they had two tasting rooms) and filled up most of a case with Pinot Noir, and at the next stop, some Zaca Mesa (Syrah). One of our current favorites is Riverbench Winery, which features beautifully-crafted Pinot Noir and Sparkling wines, and the Riverbench Blanc de Noirs Sparkling Wine will be featured in our Winter Shipment! We then discovered the charming town of Los Olivos. Los Olivos is the perfect stopping point on your way up the coast, and we see many of our friends as they are traveling. Please let us know if you are passing through or better yet, spend a day and we’ll meet up for some wine-tasting!

We didn’t have much time but stopped at a tasting room that offered a tasting of multiple great wines and purchased a few, including Kenneth Crawford (now Crawford Family Winery) and Center of Effort which we mentioned in a recent blog. We made a note to explore this beautiful area more thoroughly next time. When we returned, we’d often stay at the Wine Valley Inn in Solvang after a trip to Paso Robles, another favorite area. We plan to offer a Paso-focused wine shipment shortly – any recommendations are welcome! Of course, we’ll need to do a research trip there first. Wine Club Members are needed to participate as part of our tasting panel! Since that time, we’ve made numerous trips, and joined many wine clubs, starting with Melville Winery, which reminded us of an Italian villa. In fact, we joined so many wine clubs that it became overwhelming. That is where we got the idea to start a wine club that offers a variety of wines, so that members don’t have to join a lot of different clubs to get the best wines. Enter Revisit Wine Club. Hope that you will join us on this journey! Visit our website at Revisit Wine Company to learn more!



BOTTLING WINE AT CARIVINTAS – BLENDING WINE WITH PHILANTHROPY

Good friends Lynn and Tony Golden recently invited us to help out with bottling Carivintas wines (www.carivintas.com).  Mike was on a fishing trip but I took them up on their offer, always interested in learning more about the process.  Since it was a relatively small number of bottles, it was all done manually with a small bottler/pump instead of with the bottling truck that we’ve usually seen.  We developed an assembly line and got to work.  I mostly prepped the bottles by injecting nitrogen into them to eliminate some of the oxygen before they went on the bottling machine.  Key to the process was having a good DJ to keep the team going.   Tony has a great selection and we settled on some old 90’s hip-hop tunes which worked well with some wine sampling along the way.  There is no better way to understand a process than to do it yourself!  And it is always educational to speak with experienced winemakers like Fleet Hamilton.

In the crowded world of wine, it’s important to have something that makes you unique.  In addition to making good wine, Fleet and Diane Hamilton decided they would incorporate their love of dogs.  A portion of all the wines they sell goes to support charities that support animals, such as Best Friends Animal Society, Return to Freedom, and many other animal shelters and support groups around the country. Their creative wine labels also feature dogs and other animals, and their tasting room in Solvang is of course, dog (and kid) friendly.  They also have many interesting varieties – we bottled Sangiovese, Merlot, 3 different Pinot Noir vintages, and a Rose’ of Tempranillo. We recently stopped in for a tasting with Beth who always does a fantastic job taking care of you.  Fleet is always experimenting with his creations and they currently have a really interesting herbal vermouth that is fantastic with some flavored sparkling water.  If you visit on a Wednesday afternoon, you can attend the popular Solvang Farmers’ Market.  If you stop by, you may taste or buy one of the bottles we filled!