Articles Tagged ventura county
“Stay out of Malibu, deadbeat!!!”
As a stunning display just how behind I am on everything, my take on the upstart, bootstrapping wineries of Southern California’s Ventura County was recently published over at PalatePress.com.
Yeah, that’s the one I talked about back in January when we featured the recent releases of Ventura’s Four Brix Winery (and that was written about six months after my visit). Whatever, look, I’m kind of busy lately, alright?
Thus endeth the triumvirate of articles I’d planned resulting from that S. Cal. jaunt, the remaining third being an overview of the wineries in the Ventura County wine trail for Wine.Answers.com. Mini-reviews might peek out here and there, though, to further highlight a few of my faves from the trip. Otherwise, it’s on to all of the other shizz on which I’m similarly several months behind.
The PalatePress.com piece continues a theme of sorts on which I’ve focused in my features over there: talking about off-the-beaten-wine-path vino areas about which almost no else is talking, and certainly mainstream media has been touching with a ten foot punch down pole, such as Ventura, Colorado, and Pennsylvania (incidentally, I’ll likely be sticking to that theme for future PP pieces, since whenever I veer from that and talk about ultra-expensive wines, or whether or not critical acclaim matters for wines that are so popular that they’ve created enduring brands, I create a veritable sh*t storm and get into all kinds of trouble… see, and you thought that only happened here on 1WD!).
But it (the article, I mean, which technically is still the subject, despite the ludicrously long sentence above) also explores the idea of whether or not Northern California’s vineyards exhibit terroir, and if so whether or not that individuality and vinous fingerprinting can be interpreted and displayed by bootstrapping upstarts buying the region’s grapes, just as the better producers on the Ventura County trail are attempting right now. I’m not yet convinced that they’ve fully achieved it, but the experiment is still in progress, and of course gives us geeky fodder about which to conjecture (is that a verb?… if not, it should be)…
Today, I was planning on giving you a recap of the January 2014 articles penned for my Wine.Answers.com gig, which I’m still planning on doing in a minute or so, but being cooped up in the house for days because of the second Deep Ass Freeze of the Winter season, coupled with drinking more than I should have been, topped off with dealing with the 4 billionth snow storm of the year here in the Philly area… well, it’s all got me a nit contemplative.
And so I’ve been thinking about things 1WD-ish, spurred by a conversation I had recently with Joshua Greene, the editor/publisher of Wine & Spirits magazine. I was a guest at the unveiling of the 2014 list of the 50 Great Wines of Portugal, which Joshua had been asked to select (much more on that to appear here in a week or two). After we’d gone through some sound bite interview stuff, Joshua and I got to shooting the shizz, and he asked me what everyone always asks me: “so what do you do, besides writing about wine, I mean?” The “…because, sh*t, there’s no way in hell anyone makes a real living writing about wine!” part is unspoken, because it’s implied.
I had to explain to him that this was, in fact, my gig, and that wine media / writing / freelancing / speaking / etc. was what I actually do for a living now. To the point that, between my status as a stay-home father and my hustling to make a buck while also making a dent in the wine world, I felt as though I’d been taking slack (not unjustifiably) from the online wine community for not being as involved as I should be. “For one thing,” I told him, “my daughter is more adorable than anyone in the world, online or not; for another, I really feel as though I need to prioritize the (very cool) paying gigs that I’ve been fortunate enough to have fall into my lap.”
“Damn right!” was Joshua’s response.
And in a way, that sums up what you an expect from 1WD in 2014…
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Depending on who you are, California’s Ventura County will spark up a number of mental images: beach stay-cations; Tony Stark’s mansion; a place to refill the gas tank en route to wine country in Northern California.
But there are a host of urban wineries (now numbering over a dozen) that are attempting to carve out a wine trail in Ventura, buoyed by the success of kosher powerhouse Herzog and critical darling The Ojai Vineyard, and sourcing grapes from their more famous Northern Cali cousin regions.
I’ll be talking more about all of this in a feature (I’ve yet to write…!) for PalatePress.com, based on press trip I took to the region last year. The short version of the tale is that I admired the gumption of those urban, bootstrapped wineries, most of which have been established by former hobbyists who went totally off the deep end and graduated their production into rented winemaking spaces, tasting rooms, and in some cases full-time gigs (can’t say they’re not courageous…).
Has Ventura arrived, wine-speaking? Not yet. Are they doing better than we ought to reasonably expect from such a ragtag group of independent upstarts? Yeah. Mini-reviews will be coming forthwith, but a brief highlight of some of my faves is up now at Answers.com. More of that trip will be put to light in the prospective Palate Press piece (only with less consonance… probably…).
Anyway, one of those upstart standouts is Four Brix Winery, a play on the U.S. grape ripeness measurement, and the number in the name represents four of the wine regions that got the founding partners (the Noonan, Simonsgaard and Stewart families) into this whole wine mess in the first place: Spain, Italy, France, and (naturally) California. If you find that a bit kitschy, just wait until you see how they name their wines…
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