Media Bulletin from San Luis Obispo Wine Country
The surf’s always up in SLO Wine Country. Here, in southern San Luis Obispo County on California’s Central Coast, our wineries reside an average distance of just five miles from the ocean, resulting in prevailing coastal conditions that are among the most pronounced of any wine region in California and beyond. Which is why we are known for producing standout Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, aromatic whites and other wines—and for our laid-back vibe that locals call the “SLO Life.”
From beachfront tasting rooms to storybook backroads, here’s what’s shaking in SLO Wine Country this season:
SLO Wine Harvest 2015: Early Picks, Intense Flavors
SLO Wine Country was no exception to the early harvest timelines experienced across California this year, with several local wineries wrapping up their picks by the third week of September—assisted by the fact that the region is largely planted to early-ripening cool climate varieties such as Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. The accelerated harvest was propelled by lower yields in the wake of ongoing drought conditions. The consensus from the vineyards has been “early and light, with intense flavors.” Brian Talley of Talley Vineyards sums it up nicely: “Acidity is higher than 2014 and I expect more concentration due to the lower yields.” www.slowine.com
Harvest Hits The Coast on November 7
With its wineries located just five miles from the ocean on average, it’s fitting that SLO Wine Country holds its signature harvest season event right next to the Pacific. Indeed, on November 7, 2015, local wineries and chefs alike will converge at Avila Beach Resort for the Grand Tasting & Wine Auction as part of the larger Harvest on The Coast weekend celebration. Along with food and wine from more than 50 establishments comes an “over the top” wine and lifestyle auction hosted by the winemakers.
The night before on Friday, November 6 is the “Crafted on the Coast Collaborative Winemaker Dinner” where guests enjoy dining at a vineyard house with seven winemakers. Then, on November 8, those who attended Saturday’s Grand Tasting may use their ticket to enjoy a complimentary “Slider Sunday,” where wineries have open houses and serve their version of the “slider” while attendees enjoy wines, live entertainment, wine discounts and special offers. For information and tickets, visit www.slowine.com.
Historic Town Site and Gourmet Deli Make for Idyllic Stop Along Wine Trail
Those out for a day of wine tasting along San Luis Obispo’s wine trail find the Old Edna Town Site a refreshing stop. Here, visitors may enjoy gourmet panini, baked treats, wines and coffees on a sunny deck overlooking a cluster of 19th century buildings. Self-guided tour maps are available for those wanting to explore the site’s former blacksmith shop, creamery, barn, farm house, animals, tree house, cottages and vineyard. A number of the buildings are currently used as vacation rentals and meeting facilities. The site also doubles as the tasting room for Sextant Winery, which occupies the two-story Tin Building built in 1899. Sextant sources a portion of its fruit from MacGregor Vineyard–one of the oldest vineyards in Edna Valley, which happens to be right next door!
Limited Edition Wine to Raise Funds for Children with Cancer and Special Needs
Biddle Ranch Vineyard has created a limited edition wine and custom label to benefit children. The winery has unveiled the 2014 Jack’s Helping Hand (JHH) Pinot Grigio, from which a portion of the proceeds from every bottle sold of the 425 cases produced will be donated to Jack’s Helping Hand, a San Luis Obispo County nonprofit organization dedicated to assisting children with cancer or special needs. The wine, whose label depicts the hand and heart elements of the Jack’s Helping Hand logo, is available through the end of 2015 at the Biddle Ranch tasting room in Edna Valley and at participating San Luis Obispo County restaurants and shops.
New Café Opens at Expanded Ancient Peaks Wine Tasting Room
Ancient Peaks Winery has unveiled its remodeled and expanded tasting room in Santa Margarita, complete with a new on-site café featuring food crafted in collaboration with chefs Jeff and Cheyne Jackson of The Range, a renowned restaurant in Santa Margarita. The Ancient Peaks Café menu offers local ranch-to-table fare including an artful blend of quick nibbles, light bites, fresh salads and fine sandwiches—all available to be paired with the winery’s selection of estate-grown wines. Some of the ingredients are sourced from local purveyors, including Santa Margarita Ranch, which is operated by the same families who own Ancient Peaks Winery. In addition to the new kitchen and café space with bistro tables, the expanded Ancient Peaks tasting room features lounge-style seating, an outdoor wrap-around patio, and more than double the square footage of the previous tasting room. The bar includes a visual display of the five soil types found at the winery’s estate Margarita Vineyard.
Wine Trail Shares the Spotlight with the Avila Apple Trail
While the wine trail is the heartbeat of SLO Wine Country, the Avila Apple Trail is a much beloved extension of the local fermentation family! Indeed, seven farms and ranches operate in this coastal microclimate that produces quality, crisp and juicy apples. Here in Avila Valley and See Canyon, the apple season runs roughly from September through early December. Kelsey See Canyon Vineyards and Le Mieux Family Orchard are known for their hard ciders, apple wines and apple champagnes and are open year-round. The Avila Valley Barn also offers events throughout the year plus an extensive produce section, apple pies, a petting zoo and ice cream. The other farms are open during the fall season. These include Creekside Apple Farm; See Canyon Fruit Ranch; Gopher Glen Apple Farm; and SLO Creek Farms, an organic U-pick apple orchard. The town of Avila celebrates its apple heritage with the two-day Avila Apple Festival in September (www.avilaapplefestival.com). The weekend kicks off with a Farm-to-Table dinner, then continues the next day with an afternoon street faire. Visit www.avilavalleyappletrail.com
In the San Luis Obispo Wine Country on California’s Central Coast—or “SLO Wine Country,” as locals call it—the Pacific Ocean shapes our culture, our terrain and our wines. Here, where our wineries boast an average distance of just five miles from the water, the prevailing coastal conditions are among the most pronounced of any wine region in California and beyond. Our ocean-cooled environment fosters unifying qualities that are native to the wines of SLO Wine Country. For details and wine tasting information, visit SLOWine.com.