Santa Maria Sun / Eats
Santa Barbara County wine industry has more places to taste
BY WENDY THIES SELL
Summertime 2013 has been a season of growth and renewal in the Santa Barbara County wine industry.
Several wine producers spent the summer renovating existing tasting rooms or moving into new locations.
One such vintner is Sonja Magdevski, the Malibu beauty who opened Babi’s Tasting Room in Los Alamos a year and a half ago to sell her boutique Casa Dumetz wines.
In a short time, she has earned a loyal following of fans who pack her tasting room every weekend.
Casa Dumetz wines are as lovely as Sonja, an event-oriented creative dynamo who invites experts every Friday evening to her tasting room for her “Words to Live By” speaker series, tackling topics such as wine fermentation, home brewing, storm chasing, astronomy, and raising chickens at home.
Fridays have become so popular with customers that Sonja found a larger, historic building just a block down Bell Street at which to hold the events.
“I love winemaking and I love having a wonderful community to share it with,” Sonja told me. “I wanted to have more space to invite more people into my home, so to speak.”
Her family in Michigan came out to California to help her clean, paint, and redecorate the adorable space. She is turning her original location into a tasting space for other winemakers and brewers, offering a monthly rotation of wine and beer tasting.
There are now so many reasons to visit “Little L.A.”
“Los Alamos has a wonderful energy that welcomes people to discover the delicious offerings we have in wine, food, art, and antiques,” Sonja shared. “People feel relaxed when they are here. There is something about the air and sunlight that mingles perfectly to create smiles.”
Sonja’s new tasting room, Casa Dumetz Wines, is located at 388 Bell St., in Los Alamos. It’s open Thursday from noon to 7 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. The phone number is 344-1900. The winery website is casadumetzwines.com.
More new digs
Three wine labels share a new tasting room that opened June 29 in Buellton, next to The Hitching Post II.
Longtime friends, Brian Loring—who co-owns Loring Wine Company with his sister Kimberly Loring—and Peter Cargasacchi—who owns both Cargasacchi and Point Concepción Wines—teamed up to refurbish a former garden center into their new wine tasting room on busy Highway 246 leading into Solvang.
“It’s basically one of the entrances to Santa Barbara County wine country,” Cargasacchi said.
Cargasacchi Wines produces pinot noir and late-harvest pinot grigio using estate fruit. Point Concepción produces pinot noir, chardonnay, pinot grigio, and syrah from estate and locally grown fruit.
“So far, so good,” Cargasacchi said. “We’ve had really good turnout and we’re really excited about the future!”
The tasting room has a back picnic area with a view of Ostrich Land next door and the Santa Ynez River Valley. It is open Thursday through Monday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The address is 420 E. Highway 246, Buellton. The phone number is 691-1300.
Fontes & Phillips Wines opened a new tasting room in June. The vintner closed its Los Olivos tasting room in favor of one at 3630 Sagunto St., Suite A1, in Santa Ynez.
“With around 40 tasting rooms in Los Olivos, we felt lost in the noise,” manager Maeapple Chaney said.
“Situated across from the Santa Ynez Inn and in walking distance of The ForFriends Inn, a diverse selection of restaurants and great boutiques, and a bit of night life found at The Maverick Saloon, we feel our new location has everything a wine country visitor could ask for!”
Winemaker Alan Phillips handcrafts sauvignon blanc, chardonnay, rosé, and pinot noir and will be releasing two sparkling wines this fall. Hours are Thursday through Monday from 11:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. or by appointment. The phone number is 688-2200. The winery’s website is fontesandphillipswines.com.
Zotovich Cellars recently moved just down the street to a new location in Lompoc. The new tasting room, located at 200 North 12th St., Unit 1, Building A, opened Aug. 17.
“We are moving to a larger space inside the same building as our winery,” Chelsea Rushing of Zotovich Cellars said. “We will not only be closer to our production space, but we will also be more accessible to tasters off of Highway 1 and Highway 246 as this tasting room is directly at the entrance of Lompoc.”
Zotovich produces pinot noir, syrah, chardonnay, viognier, and rosé. The website is zotovichcellars.com.
Santa Maria’s Riverbench Vineyard and Winery added in June a second tasting room in downtown Santa Barbara’s hip Funk Zone, home to numerous tasting rooms, shops, and eateries.
The tasting room, located at 137 Anacapa St., Suite C, is an urban farmhouse. Original planks from the San Ramon Chapel in Santa Maria flank a wall.
The new Riverbench tasting room is open daily from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., pouring pinot noir, chardonnay, and sparkling wines. Go online to riverbench.com for details.
Presqu’ile Winery ushered in summer by unveiling its stunning tasting room and winery complex off of East Clark Avenue in the Santa Maria Valley, as reported previously in this column. It is a wine destination that delivers the “wow factor.” For details, go to presquilewine.com.
So what are you waiting for? There are so many amazing wine adventures to be had in Santa Barbara County!
Sun wine and food writer Wendy Thies Sell wishes there were more hours in the day to discover. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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