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Central Coast

Flying Goat

Flying Goat

”Disgorging of Goat Bubbles Sparkling Wine” by Owner/Winemaker Norman Yost

Flying Goat Cellars is a boutique winery located in the California Central Coast community of Lompoc. We are a pioneer in the production of Méthode Champenoise sparkling wine in Santa Barbara County, producing Goat Bubbles sparkling wine for 11 consecutive vintages. Under the Goat Bubbles brand we offer 5 unique styles of sparkling wine: Crémant, Blanc de Blancs, Blanc de Noirs, Brut Cuvée and Rosé

Méthode Champenoise is an Old World technique for producing a bottle of fermented sparkling wine. Each bottle of sparkling wine undergoes fermentation to produce carbon dioxide or CO2. The second fermentation in the bottle is created by putting the blended wine in bottles with yeast and small quantity of sugar and then stopped with a crown cap. Then the bottle is laid to rest in the cellar horizontally for the second fermentation to complete in 3-6 weeks.

Typically, the aging period for Goat Bubbles sparkling wine is between 9 months to 16 months; the aging varies for each of type of sparkling wine. The bottles are then transferred to riddling racks to force all the sediment to move towards the neck of the bottle. The bottles need to be turned once a day by hand for 1-2 weeks, which facilitates movement of the yeast that is trapped on the sides of the bottle.

Chilling the bottles prior to disgorging

Chilling the bottles prior to disgorging

Once the bottles are ready for disgorging, they are very carefully transferred to an ice bath to freeze the neck.  After about 10-15 minutes the bottles are removed with the neck facing down. One hand tilts the bottle to 45 degrees while the other hand removes the crown cap. The tool for removing the crown cap is hooked shaped, thus allowing the operator to flip off the cap. This Old World process for removing the “lees” is called “disgorging”. The pressure inside each is bottle is 75-90 psi so once the cap comes off the product will come shooting out with considerable force, hence the need for goggles and overalls. (pictured below)



The next stage of the process is the introduction of the “dosage,” which is typically a sugar solution along with a small quantity of sulfur dioxide as a preservative. The amount of dosage added to the bottle depends on the level of sweetness desired in the wine. Bottles are then corked by hand and a wire hood is applied to secure the cork. 

The next and final stage is the waxing of each bottle prior to going into a box. 

Discover Flying Goat wine experiences in the VAULT29 app and add your own! Use hashtags #FlyingGoat or #FlyingGoatCellars. CHEERS!

 Wine Buzzin'

Wine Buzzin'

 "A Day in the Central Coast"

Wine Buzzin' | VAULT29 blog

If you have been following our Wine Mic Monday series, we've had the pleasure of sharing stories from some of the best wineries in this area. After a quick drive from the Bay Area down the picturesque 101, we were able to check out these great wine experiences we've read about for so long!

On our itinerary -

1.  Presqu'ile Winery: Located in Santa Maria Valley (Santa Barbara County), this state of the art winery is not to be missed. As you make your way from the dramatic entryway up through the vineyard hillsides, you'll find a modern tasting room with all the amenities including a Tesla charging station. Inside the tasting room, floor to ceiling windows open up to breathtaking views of the Murmur Vineyards and Pacific Ocean to the West, and renowned Bien Nacido Vineyards to the East. 


2.  Laetitia Vineyards & Winery: Head 20 minutes north on the 101, and you'll find Laetitia. This is a must stop for anyone who loves quality wines for unbelievably affordable prices. Naya loved the bubbles; I loved the Pinot Noirs. There is something for everyone here: expansive wine list, picnic tables, bocce court, a trail through the vineyards and even music on the weekends.


ONX Estates Tractor Shed | VAULT29
ONX Wines tasting Line Up | VAULT29

3.  ONX Estate: ONX is located about 45 miles north in the Templeton Gap region of Paso Robles. After reading about the various oases on the property in their Wine Mic Monday piece, Naya and I couldn't wait to experience the winery firsthand. We were greeted by Annie who invited us into their tractor shed turned tasting room, and we later moved to their tasting deck under the large oak trees. Rather than a seated tasting, you can book to take a vineyard tour in a spruced up golf cart.


4.  Caliza Winery: After featuring Caliza's Wine Mic Monday story on Monday, 6/8, we had to stop at Caliza Winery and meet Carl and Pam. If you're looking for one centralized place to taste great wines, we highly recommend this area of town in Paso. Tucked at the end of Anderson Road is the cute tasting room surrounded by vineyards. If you're lucky, Nicky the dog will greet you! 

Search the VAULT29 app to view additional wine experiences happening at these locations. We encourage you to get out and explore the Central Coast, too! 

Caliza Winery

Caliza Winery

Our love for Caliza started a few years ago when we were introduced to their gorgeous Rhone blends produced out of the Templeton Gap AVA of Paso Robles.  VAULT29 recently had the opportunity to chat with proprietor Carl Bowker who gave us an exclusive and personal look back on how two fateful trips – during September 2001 and a road trip in 2002 – turned an appreciation of wine into a passionate venture and complete lifestyle change. 

VAULT29:  We’d love for you to share how you and your wife, Pam, got involved in the wine industry.  Where does the Caliza story begin?

CARL:  26 years ago, we were living in Mill Valley (a little town north of the Golden Gate Bridge) which happens to be an hour or so drive from Sonoma and Napa Valley.  Because we lived so close to these world famous wine regions, we often spent day and weekend trips there tasting and learning about wine!  At a certain point, we also wanted to discover more about the world of wine outside of California and the US, and Pam came across an ad in a wine publication showcasing a wine tour of Italy.  It didn’t take us long to sign up and we booked it for September 2001 with our focus on the Tuscany region

Carl & Pam Bowker in Italy, 2001

Carl & Pam Bowker in Italy, 2001

And then the tragedy of September 11th, 2001 took place.  

No one was traveling and it was an unsettling time.  It set our trip back a bit, but ultimately the wine tour was rescheduled and we decided to go.  Italians are very warm and hospitable, and they were so honored and  appreciative that we had come to see them in spite of everything happening in the world. We were traveling with a wine educator from Robert Mondavi Winery, so this allowed us access to visit many well respected Tuscan wineries where we were able to interact and talk to people in the wine business there.  Having the opportunity to speak to sons, grandsons and great-grandsons of some of the founders of these special and respected Italian wine producers was inspirational; all of  them were so passionate about winemaking.  It was this lifelong passion and commitment  for wine from each family we visited that inspired me to work in wine.  And after 9/11, with the world upside down, it all came together and made sense and I thought to myself why not do something with my life that I was passionate about?

VAULT29:  What was your background prior to winemaking?   

CARL:  I was involved in horticulture and the plant industry.  I owned a business where I grew plants, rented them to customers in order to decorate trade shows and conventions around the country.  I had this belief that I could take what I knew about plant science and apply it to viticulture and the growing of grapes.  When we returned from Tuscany, literally one week later, I enrolled in the 2-year viticulture and enology program at Napa Valley College.  My first time ever making wine was in a series of classes at school and it was eye opening but in the end it gave me a real solid foundation in the wine sciences.  I also enrolled in UC Davis weekend and extension classes too.  I couldn’t get enough!

Caliza Proprietors | VAULT29

VAULT29:  How long after your schooling did you start Caliza?

CARL:  I was so hooked that within a year of starting school we started of determining and planning where we wanted to live and more importantly where we wanted to explore this idea of a career in wine.  I knew I wanted to grow and make Rhone style wines, so this obviously influenced where we’d eventually settle.  We researched areas up and down the West Coast, including Oregon and Washington state.  In November of 2002, we decided to take a road trip from our home in the bay area down to San Diego County to visit my mother and father for Thanksgiving, and long the way we got stuck in fog late one night in Salinas.  We drove a few more hours in the heavy fog and ended up in San Miguel at the only motel that had a visible light on.  In the morning, as we woke up looking for coffee, we drove one exit south to downtown Paso Robles.  We stumbled upon an old school breakfast counter and historic Paso Robles Inn.  We loved the charm of the town!  We stayed a couple of days to explore the area.  We found a real estate office  with properties for sale posted in the window and looking back this was the first step in our search for a suitable property that we would become the home base for the next phase of our lives. 

VAULT29:  Did you find a property on that trip?  Or did it take awhile?

CARL:  We didn’t buy a property until late  2002 – a small vineyard on the property which is our home today in the heart of the Templeton Gap.  I was really eager to put my schooling to work and start  applying all the things I  was learning.  This small property produced Cabernet Sauvignon which I used to practice my winemaking skills.  During the first few vintages, we were commuting weekly between the Bay Area where we maintained our day jobs and Paso Robles where we were farming our “little” vineyard learning more about winemaking on the weekends.  Eventually, in late 2003 we bought a second, larger Templeton Gap property on Anderson Road  that would become Caliza’s “home base” and primary vineyard site. It was planted to a 30 acre vineyard of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.  Although these were not the varieties we wanted to use in our winemaking the site had amazing dirt, microclimate, and terrain and overall, it was a great location for a many reasons.  In 2004, we farmed the Chardonnay and Pinot  but were really disappointed with the results so in 2005, we  removed  that vineyard and spent the entire year bringing the land back to square one installing  completely new infrastructure with a new irrigation system, vine trellising, etc.  In 2006, we reestablished the vineyard and replanted the land with mostly our favorite Rhone varietals.  This is  now our 10th year farming the “new” vineyard. 

VAULT29:  Wow, what an endeavor!  When did you officially start to make wine? 

CARL:  The same year, 2006, is when we started making wine.  We weren’t able to  obtain any fruit from the newly planted vineyard, so we purchased from our neighbors for the 2006, 2007 and part of 2008 vintages.  Since we had a long term goal of a  being an estate driven wine program, we made a conscious decision and commitment to only source fruit within a mile radius of our property.  It was essential that all the fruit we sourced had  similar characteristics and express the profiles from the Templeton Gap environment so  that when we transition from sourced fruit to estate fruit  there would not be a big or noticeable change in the wine.  In 2008, our vineyard produced a small amount of fruit which we combined with the purchased sourced fruit.  Then in 2009, we achieved our goal of being  an estate grown producer  and every vintage of Caliza has been estate sourced ever since.

Caliza Winery | VAULT29

VAULT29:  How did you come up with the name, Caliza

CARL:  We wanted to develop a “sense of place” with our estate driven wines,  where the land, along with what Mother Nature provides us each year play a great part in the wines produced.  The land  in this area  of west Paso Robles, for millions of years,  was under the Pacific Ocean  and developed sedimentary shale and limestone layers.  These layers and layers of limestone are now  a big part of the terrior and soil type here.  I wanted to name the winery   something that had reference to the land, and after searching for a one-word appropriate name for the brand, we learned “Caliza” meant limestone in Spanish which was very fitting.  It sounded cool and had some significant meaning for us.  The fact that I  trek through this limestone soil every day and the vines have their roots in the limestone, which influence the flavors of the wines, just made “Caliza” very appropriate.

VAULT29:  What is the breakdown of your vineyard today by varietal? 

CARL:  We grow primarily Rhone varietals on approximately 20 acres.  We are committed to a large portion of Syrah – 9.5 acres – since we firmly believe and it’s proven to be the case Syrah thrives in this area.  Of the 9.5 acres of Syrah, we have 6 different clones each which bring different characteristics to the table.  Our other red varietals we grow are Grenache, Mourvedre, Petite Syrah, Primitivo and Tempranillo.  The two white varieties we grow are Viognier and Roussanne.

VAULT29:  What is your case production to date?

CARL:   We currently produce approximately 2,000 cases each year. 

Caliza Tasting Room, Paso Robles

Caliza Tasting Room, Paso Robles

VAULT29:  What can winelovers expect when they come to visit Caliza?

CARL:  Our tasting room is open on the weekends for visitors without an appointment needed.  However we also reserve appointment times on both the weekends and most weekdays for those that want a more focused tasting experience. Either way, wine lovers and those exploring Caliza wines can expect personalized attention from our tasting room team and quite often this includes me and Pam. We all love to share the passion we have as grape growers and wine producers.  We are very committed to passing along  our understanding of the wines from the Templeton Gap region. Paso has been divided into 11 sub-AVAs, and Caliza is now in the Willow Creek District, so we emphasize what makes the Willow Creek area and wines unique.  

VAULT29:  What does the future have in store for Caliza?

CARL:  We currently sell 1/3 of fruit which has been a great experience.  It’s very rewarding to sell our fruit to other small producers who share our passion; it’s also great to see Caliza vineyards on the bottle.  But our long term goal is to turn all of our estate fruit into our wine.  We want to grow the brand so that we have enough wine  to be able to expand  our loyal customer base and also be able to get our wines placed in more key California restaurants.

Be sure to view experiences at Caliza while adding your own by using the VAULT29 app!

You can also find them on Facebook & Twitter.

Central Coast

Central Coast

"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, partand "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.  

When Visiting Santa Barbara

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.


Gorgeous Grounds, Sweeping Views

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.


Home Winemakers to Business Partners

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!


Vineyard Tours at its Finest

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! 

Wine Mic Monday: Phantom Rivers

Wine Mic Monday: Phantom Rivers

"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. This week we are proud to feature Phantom Rivers., an Arroyo Grande (SLO) winery typically producing lots of between 50-200 cases or 2-8 barrels. Their 2012 Confluence (GSM blend) was just awarded "Best of Class" in the 2015 San Francisco Chronicle awards!

Meet Phantom Rivers & The Nipomo Wine Group by Steve Mathis

The Nipomo Wine Group was created in 2004 by four couples who share a passion for making wine and enjoying the life style of the California Central Coast.  Each one of us brings a unique skill to the company which includes: wine making, business administration, marketing, scientific theory, cooking, and wine & food pairing.

The name Phantom Rivers was selected for our winery as it pertains to the misty fog that evaporates into the air.  Streams of fog flow in and out of the valleys and wind their way up the old maritime valleys hugging the courses of ancient rivers.  This fog cools the vineyards at night and early morning which extends the hang time of the grapes on the vine.  This all adds to the distinctive flavors and complexities of Central Coast Wines.

Food & Phantom Rivers Wine | VAULT29

We met and became friends as home winemakers. We share a passion for making wines that pair well with food. What better way to enjoy life than to be surrounded by friends who share a passion, and love to drink fine wine and eat delicious home cooked meals?!

While we are all winemakers, the title of Wine Maker for Phantom Rivers belongs to John Thunen, PhD.  John had an extensive career in the aerospace industry during which time he stayed “grounded” by making wine.  During the past 40 years, John has honed his skills as an exceptional winemaker in much the same way he did as a Physicist, using scientific method coupled with natural artistic ability.  For years John led a team of scientists, now he leads our team of winemakers.

John Thunen, winemaker

John Thunen, winemaker

We do not believe a single property is capable of producing the best fruit for every varietal, as the terroir required for each varietal is different.  Therefore we focus our efforts in finding the perfect area for each varietal we are looking to produce, and purchasing grapes from those farmers.

For us, the beauty not owning a vineyard is not being tied to the varietals that excel on that piece of property. There are only so many years a winemaker has a chance to produce wine and there are so many different varietals to choose from. Since beginning the winery in 2004, we have produced some phenomenal wines that include:  Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Merlot, Grenache, Mourvedre, Zinfandel, Petit Sirah, Malbec, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Blanc, Viognier, Vin Gris, Muscat Blanc, and a Zinfandel Rose’ as well as a Zinfandel dessert wine.  We have also made several red blends including our new award winner, Confluence which is a GSM (Grenache-Syrah-Mourvedre) blend.

We decided to focus all of our efforts on fruit grown on the Central Coast of California. We purchase fruit from select vineyards from as far North as Paso Robles to as far South as Santa Ynez and the North East corner of Santa Barbara County.

There are literally hundreds of micro climates in this range, allowing vineyards unique terroir for their varietals. It is an amazing experience to search for a vineyard that offers the characteristics we are looking for in a specific varietal. Once found, we try to develop a long term relationship with the vineyard owner/manager.

Another decision we made was to produce our wine in small lots. We typically produce lots of between 50 to 200 cases or two to eight barrels. This allows us to pay a lot of attention to each lot from harvest to bottling. Small lots of wine allow the winemaker to exert a lot of influence.

When all is good, and your fruit has had sufficient hang time, the brix, TA, and PH are in range, chances are you are going to have a great wine. Selection of yeast, fermentation, decision to use extended maceration or not,  malolactic fermentation, type of barrel, time in the barrel, racking, filtration all come in to play during the winemaking process. The smaller the lot, the bigger the influence each of these decisions has.

Mother nature does not always cooperate. If the fruit comes in with high or low brix, too much or to little TA, then the winemaker, in our case John, has decisions to make, and these decisions have a dramatic impact on the quality and taste of the finished wine. The ability to fix flaws and overcome fruit that was either not fully ripened or over ripened is what distinguishes a winemaker as much as their individual style. We feel so very lucky to have John as our winemaker. His background in research has made him invaluable to our winery.

So now, the grapes have come in, adjustments have been made, fermentation is completed, the must has been pressed and the juice is now in the barrels. Over the next 14 to 18 months, there is still a lot the winemaker has to contend with and decisions to be made.

(L-R) Phantom Rivers Owners: Steve Mathis, John Thunen, Gary Smith, John Klacking

(L-R) Phantom Rivers Owners: Steve Mathis, John Thunen, Gary Smith, John Klacking

Do we make this a single varietal with 100% of the fruit from a single vineyard? Do we add a complimentary varietal to add character, depth, backbone? Do we blend cool and warm weather Syrah to make or more complex wine? Will we do a blend or more than one blend this year? For us, these decisions are made as the wine matures and develops in the barrel.

I find this to be the most fun and fascinating time to be involved with the winemaking. We gather the troops, pull samples of wines from the barrels, and the tasting begins. We make notes for each barrel, what it tastes like when blending from barrel to barrel and above all, we have a good time.

Decisions are reached over what to blend, what to bottle and when, and exactly, how much of each wine we will produce. While we are a democracy, we have all agreed to allow John to have the final say on all winemaking decisions. Stop by our Tasting Room in Arroyo Grande or visit us online. We think you will like Phantom Rivers Wine.

(L-R) John & Linda Thunen, Gary & Diana Smith, Steve & Sue Mathis

(L-R) John & Linda Thunen, Gary & Diana Smith, Steve & Sue Mathis

From our family to yours, Cheers!

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"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. This week we are proud to feature Laetitia Vineyard & Winery. The passion behind the brand is displayed by their premium estate wines showcasing the distinctive qualities of the Arroyo Grande Valley. Located in Southern San Luis Obispo County (SLO), their beautiful costal property overlooks the Pacific Ocean.

My Family Vineyard by Nadia Zilkha

VAULT29: How did the winery get started?

Nadia: Laetitia Vineyard & Winery was originally planted in 1982 by Champagne Deutz from France, recognizing it was the perfect location to create Methode Champenoise sparkling wines in California. Contrary to so many French houses that settled in Napa or Sonoma, Maison Deutz settled on the Central Coast close to San Luis Obispo to plant Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Blanc for our sparkling wine program. We still use Pinot Blanc in small quantities as we really like its unique textural quality that softens and imparts creaminess to our bubbles.

NADIA Tag Line | VAULT29

VAULT29: What's the origin of the winery name?

Nadia: In the mid 1990s the winery changed hands and was named Laetitia after that owner's daughter. When we bought the winery in 1998, we liked the name very much and decided to keep it. In 2005, we were looking to name our wines from the Santa Barbara Highlands Vineyard; we named it NADIA after me, the current owner's daughter. We appreciated the synergy between the two names, and I very much liked the fact that both our brands names end in IA, it's very pretty and poetic, and feels quite fitting. At times it's been confusing to hear people discussing NADIA the wine and not me the person but I've become more comfortable with it as time has passed. I'm also quite proud that I've been able to leverage the tagline on the NADIA cork, "You never know wher life will take you," into our present campaign that shows me, Nadia the person, promoting NADIA wine all over the country and world.

VAULT29: Tell us a bit about the people behind the brand.

Leatitia is SIP Certified | VAULT29

Nadia: Without sounding biased, the team at Laetitia is absolutely brilliant. My father, Selim Zilkha, who at 87 is as vital, smart, sensitive, curious and innovative as a businessman as he ever was, is someone who really cares for the wellbeing of his emplyees as well as the growth of our brands. He even went on Facebook in 2004, but by 2008 he'd had enough! I think we can all understand his feelings about that! Eric Hickey, our talented winemaker, grew up at Laetitia alongside his father Dave Hickey, who makes our sparkling wines, and couldn't have a better understanding of how to perfect the product due to a lifetime around the vines, grapes and wines. Lino Bozzano our visionary vineyard manager has implemented many great practices to improve our vines. These include night harvesting, Sustainable-in-Practice (SIP) certification to ensure we care about the land for the future generations, using goats for weed abatement and new types of trellising to maximize sun protection at our Santa Barbara Highlands Vineyard.

VAULT29: Why did you choose the region and/or varietals?

Nadia: As I mentioned earlier, the French recognized the potential for planting Burgundian varietals on our rocky volcanic limestone soils that benefit from being in the cool Region III climate. (At Laetitia, we’re only three miles away from the ocean and the maritime fog layer sits on our land keeping it cool all morning long during the summer). Our other vineyard at Santa Barbara Highlands is at 3,200 feet in elevation, inland and is very mountainous, making it better suited to Bordeaux varietals with its hot days and cold nights. The hearty Cabernet Sauvignon and Sauvignon Blanc grapes there are able to withstand and thrive in the Region III climate and the short and intense growing season. We’ve really matched soil to varietal to create wines that ring true, showcasing our commitment to the region we love that’s been so good to our brand.

VAULT29: What can wine lovers expect to experience when visiting?

Nadia: When I think about Laetitia I'm proud of our family owned and family estate run vineyard. We have melded our international roots and sensibilities to very American soils. The landscape is beautiful: gentle rolling hills with larger unobstructed vineyards. Our tasting room is friendly right off the 101 Freeway on the way to San Luis Obispo, a three-hour drive from Los Angeles, making it very convenient to visit. We have many interesting wines to taste there beyond our 8 core broad market wines. We make 8 different Pinot Noirs for the Tasting Room. My favorite is the Whole Cluster Pinot Noir, sold exclusively there. We have 8 different wine clubs to choose from including a sparkling club. So we offer a great deal of variety partly because of our size but also because we really enjoy showcasing the many clones and wine making possibilities our estate has to offer.

VAULT29: What does owning and working in a family business mean to you?

Nadia:  In our family it's a tradition that sons automatically work with their fathers; I feel so blessed that for the past 15 years my father has enabled and encouraged me to work directly with him. More recently, I've become the family face for our brands. 2015 marks our 17th year in the wine business and it's been a remarkable journey. We make delicious wines that are true to the terrior and pair beautifully with all kinds of food. This is particularly important to us. After all what's better than wine with food or food with wine?


VAULT29: Plan to attend any wine events locally or nationally? If so, where and when?

Nadia:  One event that I'm especially excited for us to be attending is a Laetitia/NADIA dinner at the James Beard House in New York City on Saturday April 25th. Eric, Lino and I will all be there talking about our wine. Chef Chris Manning from Thomas Hill Organics in Paso Roble will be cooking. He's already familiar with our wines having cooked at the Laetitia Estate House last November. It was a faboulous pairing all round and I have no doubt this will be as phenomenal as the last one!

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