Monday, July 21, 2014

Be still, my wine loving heart


 Be still, my wine loving heart
       In the Zone- by Tommie Vaughn

It is with great pleasure that I give you some exciting news, news that makes my wine loving heart skip a beat. A new highly anticipated destination joins the celebrated Urban Wine Trail in our beloved Santa Barbara’s downtown Funk Zone on July 10, 2014. The Santa Barbara Wine Collective will be the first communal tasting room in the already happening Anacapa Project area of the FZ, where visitors can taste and explore wines produced by a quartet of exceptional winemakers – Eric Railsback, Ernst Storm, Justin Willett and Dustin Wilson. 

The Santa Barbara Wine Collective, located at 131 Anacapa Street, will showcase the incomparable and vast terroirs that produce a range of varietals not found in any other region in the world. Santa Barbara County’s diverse soils, climate changes and temperatures allow for a stunning spectrum of wines within a ten mile area that include Pinot Noir, Cabernet, Syrah, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.

Notoriety, not sobriety

Part of the excitement is that the talents behind the Santa Barbara Wine Collective, have already gained international notoriety for their work in the wine industry.  The Collective is the brainchild of Sommelier Eric Railsback (Lieu Dit, Vallin), Winemakers Ernst Storm (Storm Wines and the new Notary Public), Justin Willett (Tyler, Lieu Dit, Vallin) and Master Sommelier Dustin Wilson (Vallin). It will feature the projects of all four, appealingly representing the best of what Santa Barbara can do with native French grapes.

When asked about the wines, the winemakers said they take their inspiration from old world traditions of Burgundian, Loire, Rhone and Bordeaux winemaking, selecting grapes from vineyards in Santa Maria, Santa Rita Hills, Santa Ynez and Happy Canyon to produce wines with a personal style and achieving a new world balance. Starting July, 2014, tourists and locals alike will be able to taste and purchase Syrah, Viognier, and Rosé from Vallin; Notary Public’s Cabernet Sauvignon; Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from Tyler; and Lieu-Dit’s Chenin Blanc, Cabernet Franc, Sauvignon Blanc and Rosé.

Located next to Les Marchands Wine Bar & Merchant in the 10,000 square foot historic warehouse owned by the Castagnola family since the 1920’s, The Santa Barbara Wine Collective will be open daily from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. The tasting room will offer $10 flights from Vallin, Lieu Dit and Notary Public, $15 flights from Tyler and a $41 tasting line-up from each of the wineries for a complete Santa Barbara County experience. Retails sales and wine club memberships of Vallin, Lieu Dit, Tyler and Notary Public selections will be sold on site. Wine club shipments are planned quarterly in addition to an exclusive combination collection for members. 

Meet and Greet

In an effort to give the customer a personal experience, the winemakers- Railsback, Storm, and Willett will have rotating schedules so that customers can meet the winemakers and learn more about their varietals during their visit. The Collective will also serve as a learning center for Santa Barbara County Wines with a schedule of seminars and classes open to the public.

The look inside of the SBWC is somewhat familiar, since leading the design is restaurateur and designer Doug Washington, who is responsible for the inimitable style of neighboring businesses The Lark, Lucky Penny and Les Marchands Wine Bar & Merchant. Washington brings his singular urban style integrating vintage and repurposed materials for a sophisticated, yet casual sensibility. And with the wonderful open space it is perfect to accommodate large parties, wedding rehearsals, or maybe just a great spot for a ladies wine night.

But even with the gorgeous décor and a great location to boot, it really is all about the wine... which I am happy to report, is deliciously divine, some of the best I’ve had to date and I’ve dated a LOT of wine. But don’t take my word for it, get down to the FZ to taste it for yourself, your wine loving heart will be glad you did. The Santa Barbara Wine Collective, 131 Anacapa Street,

Through the Grapevine:

I just couldn’t seem to get enough wine in my column so I had to add more, especially when it also involves my other passion- music, and one of my favorite guitar makers and my favorite guitar shop in Santa Barbara. (whew!)
A Taste of Tonewoods is an incredible free event happening on July 27th, from 6-8pm brought to you by Santa Barbara Guitar Bar and Taylor Guitars, who invite you to join them for an evening of guitars, music and wine at the beautiful Gainey Vineyards in the always gorgeous, Santa Ynez Valley. Come enjoy live music from Grammy-winning guitarist Wayne Johnson (Bette Midler, Rickie Lee Jones, Manhattan Transfer), learn about the sonic profiles of different tonewoods, how guitars age, and much more all while sampling Gainey’s fine wines. And don’t forget to ‘test-drive’ an array of beautiful Taylor acoustic models, that will be available at special event pricing.  

I caught up with Jamie Faletti, Mister Guitar Bar himself to get a little inside scoop on such a cool event.
TV: Your event with Taylor guitars sounds groovy, how did it all come together?

JF: We have a really amazing relationship with Taylor that gives us great opportunities to do things like have one of a kind guitars and also create events like this. Billy Gill of Taylor and I had been brainstorming how to do a Taylor event at a winery in the Valley for years. Dan Gainey is a student here at the shop and he and I had been kicking around the idea of doing an event together somehow. The two ideas came together and Taylor was able to create a one-of-a-kind event for us.

TV: Taylor is one of the leading makers of guitars in the industry, what makes them so unique?

JF: Taylor is one of, if not the most future facing guitar manufacturers in the world. Their work in wood conservation and commitment to their employees puts them at the top of the list in our industry. On top of that, they create fantastic guitars that pair beauty, tone and innovation to create an excellent instrument every time.

TV: Is there a model that seems to sell the best in your store?

JF: The Taylor 814ce is historically the best seller for Taylor and for SBGB. This year Taylor’s master luthier Andy Powers (who was hand picked by Bob Taylor) has completely redesigned the 800 series. This was incredibly bold as this was the most popular of Taylor's guitars. Most companies would have had a “it’s not broke, why fix it” attitude. Yet another reason Taylor is unique.

TV: How much wood, could a woodchuck chuck? (If a woodchuck could chuck wood?)

JF: Depending on the size of the woodchuck of course, probably eleventy woods. Or threve. But only if the wood was legally grown, harvested and imported.

Yeah, that just happened. See you in the Valley, music and wine lovers! Gainey Vineyard Tasting Room, 3950 East Highway 46, Santa Ynez, CA 93460 805-688-0558

See it in The Santa Barbara Sentinel  page 13 

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