Santa Barbara Winemakers.

Featured video.

When the future appellation in Santa Barbara County is awarded to Sierra Madre, there will be one winemaker who everyone will look to for his wisdom and bloody hard work. Dave Corey's interview will be seen as the first true understanding of what Cuyama, Alta Mesa, North Mesa and the Barnwood facility is really like. It is worth the ride out on the hwy 166, it's worth bearing in mind that Alta Mesa is the highest vineyard in the county at 3,200 feet, it's one of the most beautiful places in the world, it's producing some of the most intense fruit in California, it's also one of the windiest vineyards you will find here. This is the first time this area has ever been recorded in its true raw state. This video encompasses two separate visits with Dave to Alta Mesa to show you what this area is really like and how much work he puts into his craft. We also feature a private members tasting of some of the new blends Dave is releasing this month. This is a big video - running in at 108 megs, the sound was a little compromised due to the windiness of being at the sensational elevation, but it is worth every minute.

Click on the label and pull up a chair, you are in for a real treat this month.

Dave Corey

As usual QuickTime is the format for watching the videos, make sure it is loaded on your computer, you don't know what you are missing. Windows user get Quicktime for free here

For all our other video interviews head on over to the Screening Room.

October 21
To screw or not to screw. When a screw cap with red wine may best be appreciated - really.

October 21
Another rumour has been confirmed today too. Doug, the owner of the Santa Ynez tasting room, the annex to the Santa Ynez Inn has closed shop. The purveyor and pourer of all of the Clendenen line is not reopening the tasting room after the building completes its renovation work. This is a great loss to the Valley and to many who didn't know about this little slice of the Mind Behind and the Cold Heavens, you don't know what you missed. Nowhere else could you get the full complement of all that the Clendenens produce: Cold Heaven, Au Bon Climat, Il Podere Dell'Olivos, Vita Nova, Ici La Bas, et al. We will miss that chance to pacify the urge to try out the days' list of wines to truly keep the palate educated by the master. We are left with only the twice yearly journey to Ontiveros to get the full compliment now. A great shame to lose such a gem of a tasting room. If anyone out there wants to send me lots of money and lots of customers, let's see if something can be worked out.

October 20
Fruit is coming in, syrah is now coming in to Beckmen. Estrella has proven its worth and is being crushed today. There are strong rumours now that there is a lot of chard being left on the vine and have seen evidence of this in the Santa Rita Hills today. There's going to be a chance that the cabs will end up this way in Santa Ynez, but for now it seems the Rhones are ahappening.

October 17
They say that imitation is the highest form of flattery so I thought I'd welcome the mighty Wine Spectator into the 21st Century by congratulating them in their latest endeavour. They are now featuring a video page with some of the familiar themes you find here at Santa Barbara Winemakers. Just to keep up the pressure though it's worth pointing out that this website is the first of its kind. The cutting edge technology of Dreamhost our ISP provides us with so much bandwidth that we are able to post not just 2 minute snippets but full length feature interviews that can benefit the winemakers we feature and the original subject matter we cover. The high quality of our format and the vision of our goal to have every winemaker in Santa Barbara County interviewed is why, since going live in February 2006 we have over 4,000 visitors a month. It does seem that schoolmarm Gloria Maroti Frazee with her unlimited budget has already run out of ideas. Here's what we have filmed so far: Biodynamics - Done; Sierra Madre, a future appellation - Done; Inside Knowledge of Santa Barbara wines - Done; The next 12 months of interviews - Done; Budget - None.

Our promise is to continue influencing our followers, WS included (watch for an improvement in the quality of their footage, that's why we don't use Flash on this site and why we didn't post anymore clips on Google Video - note the dates by the way). When seriously great wines are made by seriously great winemakers, it makes sense to keep an eye on Santa Barbara County, it's going to the number one wine region in North America within the next five years. Remember, you read that here first as well.

October 16
The visit to Bien Nacido notes.

The 2006 harvest is looking down. Anecdotal remarks are being made about pinot and chards still on the vine and likely to stay there this year. Facts are that the reds are still around 22-23 brix and no sign of enough warm days to get to the magic 25. Brad Loweman from Waltzing Bear is expecting to get his Jalama pinot in this Wednesday. Most of the syrah, grenache etc. is still hanging, chard producers are looking at writing off the 2006 vintage. The rest of the county are showing a new crop of grey hair, no doubt finding out how it feels to make French wines. This is a 180 from 2005 when yields were double and all was well with the world. The cellars are sober this week, spotlessly clean, shipshape and Bristol fashion. Link to the Almanac page for the 5 day forecasts in Santa Ynez and Santa Maria. I'm still trying to get a permanent link to Cuyama as well as a more reliable reading from Santa Rita Hills.

October 13
It's like a whole bunch of things conspired to keep this month from being updated as much as I had anticipated. I thought September was busy but it seems this month is just the same. Anyhow, no excuses. As I write thunder is bouncing off the mountains, it rained most of the day up here. As promised on the first of this month research has been done to find out about the black grapes and so far so good. Harvest isn't for another two weeks. In most parts Happy Canyon side hadn't picked any black grapes yet, Fred Brander is confident his fruit will be fine, Mike Carhartt whose vineyard overlooks Ballard canyon one side and Alamo Pintado on the other has said the brix as of Tuesday are around 22, and over at Tinaquaic, the legendary Foxen dry farmed vineyard, the syrah and the cab franc are around 23 as of Monday 9th. Every warm day counts now, but we could be looking at lower than normal alcohol but ripe fruit. It's looking like many wines will be below 15% for a change.
Pinots are coming in quickly with Longoria almost complete. Chards are coming in this week and next, Sauv blancs started moving in last month and on top of that many Santa Barbara winemakers are spending this four day weekend focussing on the annual Celebration of Harvest. See you at Qupe/Au Bon Climat and Tantara for the annual pilgrimage on Sunday.

October 12
New interviews made this week for future viewing include Bill Wathen at Foxen showing us Tinaquaic vineyard, and Mike and Brooke Carhartt from Carhartt Vineyard.

October 1
Rain, rain, go away. It rained all day today. This is great news for those fighting the Day Fire, it's great news for my little community that is down to its last tank of water, it's good news for the rest of the mountain dwellers who are now out of fire season. That's the good news.
The bad news is that there are no black grapes harvested except for about 50% of the pinots and about 70% of the white grapes. All else is still hanging and the winemakers are now looking with bated breath to see what can be salvaged or what the next few weeks will bring. Will there be an '06 vintage? I will be in the wine country this week to find out.

Valid CSS! Valid XHTML 1.0 Transitional