"Wine Mic Monday" is a VAULT29 series based on an "open mic concept" where wineries take over our blog...because every glass and bottle of wine has a story. The last two weeks we've recapped "Napa Valley Wineries" in Season 1, part 1 and "Sonoma Winery Techniques" in Season 1, part 2.. This week we take a look back at wineries from California's Central Coast. Discover Pali Wine Co. tasting rooms in Lompoc & Santa Barbara's Funk Zone; the unique tasting experience found at ONX in W. Paso Robles Templeton Gap; how four couples turned a passion for winemaking into a business at Phantom Rivers in Arroyo Grande; and the sweeping coastal views overlooking the Pacific Ocean at Laetitia.
Tim Perr and Scott Knight founded Pali, named "Pali" after the coastal Los Angeles County city and their hometown, Pacific Palisades. Their main goal is to deliver small lots of quality artisinal wines to consumers while maintaining affordable price points. Their 2012 Huntington Pinot Noir (Santa Barbara County) made a big splash when it was named one of Wine Spectator's Top 100 Wines of 2014 list. The price point: a mere $22.50/bottle! While this wine is already sold out, there are other great wines available, like the 2012 pinot noir from Sta. Rita Hills. Pop in and taste their line up at one of three locations: The state-of-the-art tasting room in Santa Barbara's "Funk Zone" just blocks from the beac;, the Lompoc tasting room amidst the barrels; or at the winery (by appointment only). You're bound to enjoy these quality wines at an incredible value! Read more here.
Take a scenic drive, about an hour north of Santa Barbara's Funk Zone and Pali Wine Co,. and you reach Laetitia Vineyards & Winery. Owned and operated by a father/daughter duo who purchased the property in the 1990's, they decided to keep the name given it had meaning to the previous owner. The grounds are gorgeous and the landscape is picturesque: gentle rolling hills with larger unobstructed vineyards. They specialize in Methode Champenoise sparkling wines, pinot noir, and chardonnay which you can find in retail outlets. They also make 8 different pinot noirs strictly for the tasting room. With a deep commitment to sustain the land for future generations, they create quality wines by harvesting during the night and carry the distringuished certification of Sustainable-in-Practice (SIP) certification. Read more about the history of Laetitia, their second label NADIA, and the unique parrellels between the two brands.
Five minutes from Laetitia, in the Village of Arroyo Grande, is the quaint tasting room of Phantom Rivers. The name, Phantom Rivers, derives from the streams of misty fog that roll in during the evenings in many of their vineyard sites; hugging the paths of the ancients rivers, now valleys, that once flowed to the sea. You may recognize this brand as it has received many awards, including Best in Class, from the San Francisco Chronicle's Wine Competition. It all started when four home winemaking couples became friends. The common passion among the eight are making good wines which pair well with food. While all have a winemaking passion, John Thunen holds the winemaker title (also winemaker for Double Bond). The focus is to source fruit grown on the Central Coast of California, from as far north as Paso Robles; far south as Santa Ynez; and the north east corner of Santa Barbara County. Read more about how they turned their passion into a thriving winery!
Making your way north (30 miles) and into the Templeton Gap district of Western Paso Robles, you will find ONX Estate, bordering the Santa Rita Creek. Their focus is to produce wines that portray individually distinct personalities, yet possess consistent commonalities recognizable as a family of cuvees. The six blends produced are a true expression of the ONX Estate. Learn how to take those six blends and pair them with an unforgetable vineyard tour! Rather than a conventional tasting room, they developed an old tractor shed in the vineyard into a hospitality and education center where they greet their guests before touring the vineyards. You'll definitely want to read more about sinking your boots into authentic wine country soil and the all the fun experiences that come with immersing all five senses during an estate visit!