I was able to take a tour of the new Iacobelli Winery in Fallbrook. Click on the picture below to watch the video.
For a long time the Southern California wine scene was overlooked. Temecula was one of the first areas to get a little bit of attention but got hit by the sharp shooter in the late ’90s. Even though it was a bad thing, it really helped the wineries come into their own and helped other lesser known areas embark onto the scene.
Because most of Temecula vines were diseased at that time the winery owners had to come up with a new strategy for the region. Prior to the disease, they had planted grape vines based on market demands. The tragedy made most of the growers realize it would be better to plant varieties that were better equipped to handle the elements of the area. In other words, they just needed to be themselves. Other wine regions followed suit and now there is an explosion of wineries opening all over Southern California.
Over the years, here’s what I have observed are unique traits at Southern California wineries.
1. Girls Just Want To Have Fun
It’s true you’ll find lots of bachelorette and birthday parties with groups of women dressed in brightly colored sun dresses at many bigger Southern California wineries, but there are just as many smaller wineries that don’t get the big crowds or the loud parties. The wineries are as diverse as the multi-cultural landscape. Don’t get frustrated when you run into these ladies. Ask if you can take a picture with them and join their fun. They might want you to post the picture on Facebook and then you’ll make a bunch of new friends.
2. There Really Is Good Wine Being Made
I can’t count how many times people have joked with me about the wine in Southern California not being any good. It’s hard not to take the comments to be a personal offense as most of the time they know I’ve written about the area. Sometimes I defend the wineries, but other times I just let the naysayer’s voices roll right off me. Yeah, there’s some wine produced in So Cal that’s not any good, but you can say that about any wine region. That’s really why the whole wine tasting idea got started in the first place. The wineries were being generous and letting you sample the product before you bought it to make sure you liked it. It wasn’t until people started taking advantage of their generosity, sampling but not buying, that they decided to start charging a tasting fee. Most likely the naysayers were also the cheapskates. Bah humbug, mean critics go Debbie Downer somewhere else. It’s always sunny here so we like to be optimistic.
3. We Know More About Wine Then You Think
Just because Southern California has a reputation for spurning out blonde bimbos and surfers, doesn’t mean most of the population isn’t educated. According to infoplease.com, California has the most universities of all the states in the union (399) and eight of the top 14 Universities in California, according to topuniversities.com, are located in Southern California. That makes for a lot of brain power that is most likely being put to use when people are evaluating wine qualities at wineries. We can be smart and fun too so don’t judge us.
4. A Diverse Scene
Because the population of California is so diverse, there are just as many unique wineries to match a person’s preferences. Want to bring your dog to a winery? You’ll find some welcoming your friend. You just like the Syrah varietal? There are wineries that focus on that variety. If you like to pretend you’re part of the royal line, you can find wineries that look like castles. Or if you don’t like to make it out to a rural setting there are some in town. Whatever the preferences are, it seems Southern California wineries are more willing to give it a try. Maybe, like Avis, So Cal wineries try harder.
5. An Underdog
The Urban Dictionary describes an underdog as one that is at a disadvantage. Southern California wineries, although there has been a lot of progress, are still mostly overlooked by serious wine professionals. It seems to make perfect sense then that Southern California wineries are underdogs–and just maybe like to be that way. According to a Dallas news article by David Tarrant who interviewed Malcolm Gladwell who wrote David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits and the Art of Battling Giants, Gladwell told Tarrant that a lesson in underdog stories is that “being an underdog can force people or organizations to try new techniques and out-of-the-box strategies to overcome obstacles, whether it’s a disability, lack of money or other potential impediments. His book is full of stories illustrating this theme.”
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Located in the Nob Hill area of Portland, at 115 NW 22nd Avenue, Elephants Delicatessen is a feast for the foodie’s eyes and stomach at reasonable prices.
It is difficult to decide if the eyes or stomach are more hungry here.
In the same Nob Hill area you’ll find Moonstruck Chocolate at NW 23rd Avenue. Another difficult decision.
Oregon’s wine country is known for its Pinot Noir grape. You’ll find a bunch of wineries in the Newberg and Dundee areas. This one, Winderlea Winery, was hosting a crowd one rare sunny April Saturday. Winderlea is located at 8905 NE Worden Hill Road, Dundee.
Another winery in the Dundee area, Erath Winery, is located at 9409 NE Worden Hill Road.
After you’ve sampled enough wine, have lunch at Red Hills Market, another feast for the senses, located at 155 SW 7th Street, Dundee.
Q: Ok, explain that one word, just a little.
A: I started as a brewer. After 7 years of crafting ales I moved to Sonoma and switched to wine. I’ve been fermenting for over 23 years…. jeez!
Q: Why should someone visit you at your winery?
A: We source fruit from very special appellations all over the North Coast. The staff is fun and knowledgable and we are open until 9pm.
Q: What’s your favorite varietal?
Q: What’s your favorite wine that you make?
A: Syrah! It’s very bold, fruit forward but structured and well rounded….. Why?
Q: What part of your personality do you put into your wine?
Q: Your name and title.
A: Adam Carruth Owner/Winemaker
If you’re longing for an overcast day with an Underground trip to Whittard of Chelsea but you’re sitting in your office looking out at a sunny California day without a good pot of tea to be found, taking a mental trip there might be the next best thing.
Whittard of Chelsea got a 4.5 out of 5 review on Yelp and an 8.8 out of 10 rating on Trust Pilot.
According to RateTea.com, Whittard of Chelsea dates back to 1886 and is one of the largest online retailers in the UK but they aren’t as well known in the United States. Whittard’s Original Black tea received an 83 rating from one reviewer on RateTea. Steepster.com gave an 83 rating for Whittard’s Chelsea Garden Blend, Very Very Berry Caffeine Free Fruit Infusion, White Tea with Pomegranate, and Christmas Leaf.
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