I’ve often said that “wine country” is where you find it.
It’s not limited to California’s Napa Valley or France’s Bordeaux region, or Tuscany in Italy.
“Wine country” is anyplace grapes are grown with the express purpose of making wine.
And that includes our own backyard here at Vinesse headquarters in Ventura County, California.
I’d like to devote this week’s Journal entry to a press release that just crossed my desk. It makes my point beautifully, but more than that, I hope it motivates you to plan a visit to yet another “wine country” area…
Like a fine wine, the Ventura County Wine Trail is improving with age.
As the seven wineries on the map are in the first stages of harvest, two of them are planning on opening new tasting rooms, while others revamp their existing tasting rooms.
The Ventura County Wine Trail, which launched in June, has expanded the wine culture in Ventura County and brought a noticeable increase in traffic to participating wineries.
“The Ventura County Wine Trail Map has had a very definite beneficial impact on our business,” said Carmel Whitman, owner of Old Creek Ranch Winery in Ojai. “People come to our tasting room, map in hand. Customers of ours have become customers of the other wineries.”
Bella Victorian Vineyard and Rancho Ventavo Cellars will both be opening new wine tasting rooms in Old Town Camarillo before the end of 2008. Casa Barranca is giving their tasting room a new look. The remodeled Casa Barranca is located in downtown Ojai’s historic arcade. It is reopening its doors this month to serve certified organic wine from organic grapes.
Camarillo Custom Crush’s tasting room is built but not completed yet. The tasting room is expected to open sometime in early 2009.
The other three wineries all have tasting rooms and offer tours. Herzog Wine Cellars not only has a tasting room attached to the winery, but also Tierra Sur Restaurant, which serves Mediterranean influenced seasonal cuisine, utilizing California’s local produce.
Old Creek Winery’s tasting room looks over the orchard at the entrance to the property and continues to offer beautiful picnic areas for guests.
Cantara Cellars’ tasting room and tour experience gives visitors the ability to watch part of the winemaking process during this harvest season. During September, visitors can watch the grape pressing and also get up-to-date progress on their Web site.
An online version of the map is currently in the works, and should be launched within the next couple of months. The site not only contains information about the Ventura County Wine Trail, but can also assist viewers with their local travel plans for Ventura County. A comprehensive listing of dining, lodging and other attractions will be featured on the site.