Saturday, August 13, 2022     Volume: 23, Issue: 24

Santa Maria Sun / Eats

New AMC series shines spotlight on Loring Wine Company's pinot noir


Central Coast pinot noir was arguably the breakout star of 2004’s Sideways. During a road trip to explore Santa Barbara County’s wine country, Paul Giamatti’s character, Miles, can’t stop singing praises about the variety. 

Cooper’s Bar, a new mini series on AMC, highlights a locally produced pinot noir, Cooper Jaxon, in several scenes. The show stars Lou Mustillo (left) and Rhea Seehorn (right).

Nearly two decades later, a Lompoc-produced pinot noir is garnering some favorable attention in AMC’s new mini series, Cooper’s Bar. The show premiered at the end of May and follows an aspiring actor, Cooper, played by Lou Mustillo (Mike & Molly), who runs a tiki bar in his backyard.

Throughout the six-episode series, which also stars Rhea Seehorn (Better Call Saul), bar guests can be seen tasting the Loring Wine Company’s 2020 Cooper Jaxon pinot noir.

In good company
Find out more about the Loring Wine Company at The winery’s tasting room is located at 201 Industrial Way, suite B, Buellton. For more info on Cooper’s Bar, visit

“We didn’t really know what to expect, so I was blown away to see how much the wine is shown in the episodes,” said Brian Loring, co-owner of the winery. “Maybe I shouldn’t have been surprised since it is a guy’s backyard bar, so of course bottles would be part of the decor.”

The local vintner named the Cooper Jaxon wine after his nephew, Cooper—who Loring said was excited to hear that a show had been named after him as well.

Loring became involved with the show through its director and executive producer, Hannah Davis-Law. The filmmaker is a friend of Loring’s tasting room manager, April Pharoah, who introduced Davis-Law to the wine.

“While they don’t explicitly mention the wine by name, I think it’s a fun detail that an observant viewer will appreciate,” said Loring, commenting on the pinot noir’s inclusion in the show, which feels more like a genuine nuance than awkward product placement.

The Loring Wine Company’s 2020 Cooper Jaxon pinot noir is described as a blend of pinot noir barrels, with at least one barrel from each vineyard the winery sources fruit from, winery owner Brian Loring said.

“The characters do seem to predominantly drink Cooper Jaxon. So that’s pretty cool,” Loring said. “It also struck me that one of the goals of the main character is trying to stay authentic to himself, while attempting to create a TV show about the bar. And what’s more authentic than a guy with a backyard bar wanting to have a wine with his name on the label?”

Before launching the Loring Wine Company in the early 2000s, Loring worked in the aerospace industry as a software designer for submarine missile and torpedo launch systems. But he had a background in wine that predated that career route.

Kimberly and Brian Loring are the co-owners of the Loring Wine Company, which produces about 5,000 cases of pinot noir and chardonnay each year, from vineyards ranging from Monterey to Santa Barbara.

“I worked in wine shops during high school and college, and along the way, developed a passion for wine,” Loring said.

He was still working in software when he met and befriended Norman Beko, the owner of Cottonwood Canyon Winery in Santa Maria, during the mid-1990s. In 1999, Loring decided to buy three tons of pinot noir from Beko and dive right into the wine industry.

“That was the start of Loring Wine Company,” Loring said. “My sister, Kimberly, started helping with the winery in 2001. Due to our critical success, we were able to quit our day jobs in 2006 and go full-time wine.”

Loring and his sister co-own the company, which has a winery located in Lompoc and a tasting room in Buellton.

Although the Loring Wine Company’s winery is located in Lompoc, the company has a tasting room in Buellton, where guests can sample Cooper Jaxon pinot noir and other wines.

“We produce about 5,000 cases of pinot noir and chardonnay each year, from vineyards ranging from Monterey down to Santa Barbara,” Loring said.

Loring’s nephew—Kimberly’s son, Cooper Jaxon Loring—was born in 2015.

“We decided to make a special birth year wine for him,” said Cooper’s uncle, who described the resulting wine as a blend of pinot noir barrels, with at least one barrel from each vineyard the winery sources fruit from.

Loring also explained the inspiration behind the Cooper Jaxon label’s unique design.

“I felt his name sounded like something from the Gold Rush days, so I asked our graphic designer buddy to come up with a label that was reminiscent of that era.” Loring said. “Kimberly and I loved the result so much that we decided to continue Cooper Jaxon as a yearly bottling.”

Arts Editor Caleb Wiseblood is on a barrel roll. Send comments to

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