Tag archives: winemakers

Nominated for Winemaker of the Year
By Richard Mineards   |   September 27, 2022

Santa Barbara winemaker Doug Margerum has been nominated Winemaker of the Year for the 23rd anniversary of Wine Enthusiast’s coveted Annual Wine Star Awards, which honors individuals and companies that make outstanding contributions to the wine and alcohol beverage world. Winners will be announced in the magazine’s Best of Year issue in December. Since the […]

J Vineyards’ “Shifting the Lens” Series: Wine as an Agent for Change
By Gabe Saglie   |   September 13, 2022

On a recent afternoon, on the rolling grounds of Eastside Knoll Vineyard in Sonoma, falcons are on alert. With the 2022 harvest finally underway, and with the pinot noir grapes here quickly maturing toward optimum ripeness, the birds of prey have been employed as an eco-friendly alternative to netting to keep hungry starlings away. “It’s […]

La Lieff Tasting Room Opens
By Richard Mineards   |   August 30, 2022

Montecito animal activist Gretchen Lieff, who has been making wine for 17 years, has opened her first La Lieff tasting room in the Funk Zone. The 1,000-square-foot Gray Avenue locale, formerly a storage facility for the late Pierre Lafond, had a sneak preview for Tama Takahashi’s 10-year-old Inside Wine club with 37 guests to show […]

A Deliberate Approach to Making Wine
By Gabe Saglie   |   June 7, 2022

Michael Brughelli’s 2019 wines – out just last week – are more than just the second release of his eponymous label. They feel a lot like a rousing encore performance. The Brughelli wines received critical acclaim early. His inaugural launch, a 2018 pinot noir and a 2018 chardonnay, saw scores high in the 90+ stratosphere […]

Year in Review: Wine
By Gabe Saglie   |   January 4, 2022

Wine Pioneer Jim Clendenen Passes Santa Barbara County lost one of its most prominent champions in 2021. Jim Clendenen passed away May 15 at age 68. His ebullient, electric personality was certainly a Clendenen calling card, much like his undulating blond hair and steady parade of loud shirts. “It’s funny, I always think that winemakers […]

Turning Tide: New Wine Label Spotlights Sustainability
By Gabe Saglie   |   October 5, 2021

Her new label, Turning Tide, marks a significant shift for winemaker Alisa Jacobson. As director of winemaking for 19 years for the mega producer Joel Gott, she oversaw the production of some 1.6 million cases of wine a year. With her new pet project, she’s spearheading a far smaller output of right around 1,000 cases […]

In Memoriam: Jim Clendenen, Au Bon Climat Wine Legend, Remembered as ‘Larger Than Life’
By Gabe Saglie   |   May 18, 2021

The Santa Barbara wine industry — and the wine world as a whole — lost one of its superstars when Jim Clendenen died over the weekend. He passed away at his home in Buellton, in his sleep. He was 68. Wine aficionados who did not know him personally certainly knew his wine, especially his flagship […]

Pop the Cork, Hold the Booze: Local Winemaker Launches Alcohol-Free Wine-Inspired Drinks
By Gabe Saglie   |   May 13, 2021

As we begin to push out of this pandemic, and as the light at the end of the tunnel grows brighter, many Americans are taking stock of how their drinking habits have changed over the last year. As one would guess, the angst and anxiety wrought by many months of lockdowns, restrictions, and Zoom calls […]

Everything’s Coming Up Rosés These Pink Wines are Perfect for Spring
By Gabe Saglie   |   April 22, 2021

Timing has a lot to do with rosé. That pink color – an alluring hue that can range from salmon to blush – is the by-product of grape juice and grape skins coming in contact for a few hours, or for a day, maybe two or three, until just enough tint bleeds into the wine. […]

Pinot Noir All Month Long: Famous Annual Wine Event Goes Virtual
By Gabe Saglie   |   March 11, 2021

Pinot noir lovers normally have the first weekend in March highlighted on their calendars. After all, it’s a weekend usually dedicated to the World of Pinot Noir (WOPN), the annual gathering of winemakers and wine consumers who fete Burgundy’s most famous red grape. Launched in 2001, the event has been held at the Ritz-Carlton Bacara […]

Margerum Hits Top 100
By Richard Mineards   |   December 24, 2020

Santa Barbara winemaker Doug Margerum has certainly got something to smile about during these gloomy times. Wine Enthusiast Magazine has recognized his Margerum M5 white Rhône blend, Margerum Esate Vineyard, Los Olivos district, as a top 100 wine of the year, ranking it at number 30. The publication’s global team of editors and tasters cumulatively […]

Fizzle and Pop: These Bubbles Will Help You Send 2020 On Its Way
By Gabe Saglie   |   December 24, 2020

The new three-week stay-at-home order that befell California this month means Santa Barbara County’s wine tasting rooms are shuttered, again. Your own hunt for great local wines to grace the holiday table and end-of-year festivities, though, continues. So keep in mind that, while the deadline for many shipments to arrive by Christmas has passed, there’s […]

A Santa Barbara First: Winemaker Greg Brewer Gets Top Honor
By Gabe Saglie   |   November 26, 2020

The latest honor for winemaker Greg Brewer is a perk for Santa Barbara County, too: it’s the first time a Santa Barbara-based vintner has been named Winemaker of the Year by the popular publication, Wine Enthusiast. “The accolade is flattering because my name is on it,” Brewer said last week after the award was announced. […]

New Hands at the Helm: Folded Hills Hires New Winemaker
By Gabe Saglie   |   July 2, 2020

An important change of the guard at Folded Hills: the winery has hired a new winemaker. Michael Brughelli brings a diverse background to the Folded Hills project, which operates a sprawling estate and vineyard off Highway 101 in Gaviota and an elegant tasting room in Montecito. The 38-year-old Nipomo resident gained particular acclaim with Scar […]

Finding Opportunity in a Shutdown: How Santa Barbara’s Wine Industry is Taking on Coronavirus
By Gabe Saglie   |   March 26, 2020

The grinding halt wrought by a virus sprinting across the globe has certainly not spared the Santa Barbara wine industry. These are businesses that depend on foot traffic, on one-to-one connections, on personalized experience. Shut that down, as the recent mandate by Governor Newsom (understandably) did, asking all wineries and tasting rooms to temporarily close, […]

Members Only: What Wine Clubs Are All About
By Gabe Saglie   |   November 21, 2019

Loyalty has its rewards. That’s certainly a fact in the travel industry, where repeat stays at your favorite hotel and repeat flights on your favorite airline can translate to upgrades, freebies, and being made to feel like a VIP. Oenophiles can tap into special perks, too, thanks to wine clubs, which can be a boon […]

Tasting Redefined: Brave & Maiden Estate Aims to Elevate the Wine Experience
By Gabe Saglie   |   October 17, 2019

Jason Djang is crystal clear about the Brave & Maiden philosophy. “We want to change the dynamic of the wine tasting experience,” he tells me, as we meander through his 70-acre estate in the heart of the Santa Ynez Valley. He’s explaining the one-on-one approach to tasting here, which is by appointment only and unhurried […]

Celebrating a Sense of Place: Famous Santa Maria Vineyard Turns 20
By Gabe Saglie   |   September 19, 2019

When the boundaries for the Santa Maria Valley AVA were drawn, they excluded a thousand-acre plot of land so far west, it was considered too cold to grow grapes. An AVA, or American Viticultural Area, is a carefully outlined ag area that’s been determined by the federal government, through myriad considerations like topography and climate, […]

Annual Fête Celebrates Santa Barbara’s Sta. Rita Hills
By Gabe Saglie   |   August 8, 2019

A rose by any other name may still be a rose. But when it comes to wine grapes, nomenclature matters. Just ask anyone who makes wine in the Sta. Rita Hills. The 10 square-mile ag region nestled in the westernmost reaches of the Santa Ynez Valley – where Buellton gives way to Lompoc and where […]

Every Sip Helps
By Gabe Saglie   |   August 1, 2019

Thirsty? May I suggest the “Storm Cellar” at Finch & Fork? After all, every sip helps! The mixology team at the popular restaurant and bar at Santa Barbara’s Kimpton Canary Hotel launched a unique charity drive this summer – Cocktails for a Cause. A new mixed drink is introduced each month and proceeds from the […]