In depth tour of vineyard in Santa Ynez region?
A group of 4 of us will be up in the Santa Ynez area for wine tasting over Oct 15 weekend. I had read wonderful things about the 3 hour tour/tasting at Clos Pepe, and we hoped to do it on Sunday. However, I contacted the vineyard and they happen to be closed that weekend. On Saturday we will be going to a number of vineyards' tasting rooms, but on Sunday we hoped to do something a little more in depth at a nice winery. Anyone know if there are other vineyards that offer an experience comparable to what Clos Pepe does? We probably aren't looking for one of those van tours of several vineyards. Thanks!
(And here is the Clos Pepe information, if anyone wants it for another weekend.)
An Invitation to Visit Clos Pepe
Note: Clos Pepe will no longer offer public tours after December, 2011. At that time, all appointments for tasting must be made through an existing list member. We are getting too many requests at this time to accomodate all tasters.
We do things a little different and a lot slower out here at Clos Pepe. No tasting room bar. We don't believe you can understand what we do here without spending a few hours with our vineyard manager, our winemaker, our sheep, our climate and our family. This is how they do it in the Old World--maybe two dozen people per week go through these tours, which is more meaningful to our business than turning and burning a thousand through a tasting room turnstile. Try it and see.
No one responded to my post, but in case there are others out there who would like this information, I want to share the name of a wonderful vineyard that we visited yesterday. We made an appointment with Roger and Hilarie of Harrison Clarke in Solvang. It was the highlight of our trip. Their small-production vineyard is located on a beautiful hillside with breathtaking views. Roger walked us around the vineyard, explaining the growing process in depth and answering any and all questions. Roger has a wonderful sense of humor, an obvious love for his work on the land, and could not have been more welcoming. Tasting the grapes was a real treat. We were also lucky enough to see hawks flying overhead, a large hare hopping through the vines, and the couple's small herd of cows running down the hillside. Once we had toured the vineyard, we went up to the barn that is their winemaking facility, where Hilarie works her magic. Hilarie took us into the barrel room for some barrel tastings - delicious! She explained her winemaking process, and then treated us to tastes of 4 or 5 of their wines. The vineyard makes Rhone-style red wines, although they have planted some white Viognier that will be ready in a few years. Their syrah was the best wine we tasted all weekend. Bottles are priced from about $18 to $52. This was an amazing, relaxing, informative, and fun experience, and I encourage anyone visiting the area to make an appointment with Roger and Hilarie.