Santa Barbara, CA – LaBarge Winery, an estate located on the western edge of the Sta. Rita Hills appellation of Santa Barbara County, has begun receiving guests for singular, outdoor experiences. Previously, the estate winery had been closed to the public. “We have 17 total acres planted to Pinot Noir, Grenache, Syrah, and Albarino. All of our vineyards are certified organic by the CCOF. I would argue that we have one of, if not the coolest vineyards for Syrah and Grenache in California,” says Vigneron, Pierre LaBarge IV. LaBarge’s estate harkens back to old-world models, with LaBarge himself moving seamlessly throughout the growing season between the cellar and his vineyard, resulting in a vital continuity between the vines and the winemaking process.
LaBarge adds, “I was lucky enough to start with a blank canvas and acquire fallow land to plant vines and build a winery from scratch. Since our facility and equipment has only received fruit from our own vineyard, we have never introduced any commercial yeast or bacteria. So, only our own indigenous yeast and bacteria has been built up and isolated over time as being unique to us. My goal is to grow and fashion wines that have a true sense of place and are unique and profound.”
Once at the estate, guests are served al fresco. Previously at Sine Qua Non, LaBarge hosts many of the visits himself, during which guests experience the LaBarge collection of wines, paired thoughtfully with food, outdoors overlooking this pastoral, maritime growing region. Ingredients are sourced locally by well-regarded purveyors, Industrial Eats, and each wine is thoughtfully paired with what is seasonally available. “It’s a peculiar time to be receiving guests, but I long to connect with others during these strange times, and structuring these outdoor meals and tastings seemed uniquely suited to my nature.”
Joining LaBarge as Guest Host is Michael Shearin, Vice President of Sales and a CMS Advanced Sommelier. Shearin, who has worked with Chefs Guy Savoy, Tom Colicchio, Thomas Keller and Celestino Drago, assisted in creating the new guest experiences at LaBarge. “We want our guests to feel pampered and well taken care of. They can expect to be seated at a lovely, well-appointed table, while receiving impeccable service and a thorough presentation of our wines, from vine to bottle,” Shearin says. The Al Fresco LaBarge Tasting is $125.00 a person and includes lunch prepared by Industrial Eats. Guests joining the wine club during their visit will receive a member’s discount on their visit ($95.00 a person).
For visitors seeking something more exclusive, Shearin and LaBarge have also developed the LaBarge VIP Experience. This singular experience includes transportation to the winery from Santa Barbara in a luxury vehicle, a gourmet meal prepared by Chef Celestino Drago of LA’s Drago Centro or Chef Ian Gresik, of The Arbour in Pasadena, (just two among a list of top California-based chefs collaborating with the winery), an impeccably set table, including floral arrangements, the finest glassware and china and fine linens. Guest chefs highlight coveted ingredients, which include wild game, Santa Barbara spot prawns, local produce, caviar, truffles and lamb. This experience is hosted by both LaBarge and Shearin and includes a rare glimpse into the LaBarge selection of wines, including older vintages. Guests seeking an exclusive VIP experience can customize their visit to meet the needs of their group. The LaBarge VIP Experience is limited to 8 guests and guests may inquire within regarding pricing for this rare experience.
Visitors may rest assured that safe social-distancing practices are followed to the letter at LaBarge Winery. Guests are required to practice social distancing, even when seated. To learn more about the outdoor LaBarge Vineyards experiences, please visit https://labargewinery.com/.