Koehler Winery: A Place to Get Away From It All

koehlerAaron Spelling was one of the most prolific producers of programs in television history.

His long resumé of programs in which he had a hand includes “The Mod Squad,” “The Rookies,” “Charlie’s Angels,” “Beverly Hills 90210,” “The Love Boat,” “7th Heaven,” “Charmed,” “Jane’s House” and “Sunset Beach.”

Like many people involved in the hustle and bustle of Hollywood, Spelling needed a place to get away from it all. For some, the small communities of Ventura County, just north of California’s San Fernando Valley, were far enough away. Others trekked still farther north to Santa Barbara. And a handful — including Michael Jackson and James Garner — headed even farther north to the Santa Ynez Valley. That, too, was where Spelling headed to relax.

Today, Koehler Winery sits on a spectacularly beautiful 100-acre estate, surrounded by rolling hills and a small riparian stream that gently nestles its way through the property. And the estate’s storied history includes ownership by Aaron Spelling.

It was during this period, more than 40 years ago, that the vineyard on the property was expanded to its current 67 acres. And by the time the property was acquired by the Koehler family in 1997, the estate’s bountiful vines and superb fruit had been well documented as among the best in the Santa Ynez Valley.

Once the Koehlers recognized that some of the best wines in the valley were being produced with grapes harvested from their vineyards, they resolved to launch their own winery and tasting room. Drawing on their own entrepreneurial experience, the Koehlers’ mission was to create a world-class winery committed to making premium wines at affordable prices. Today, Koehler Winery is celebrated as one of the most popular and beautiful stops on the Foxen Canyon Wine Trail.

Winemaker Colin Murphy and Vineyard Manager Felipe Hernandez — one of the most skilled and knowledgeable vineyard managers in Central California — collaborate regularly to ensure the quality of the fruit improves from year to year. The vines are diligently tended, from pruning through harvest, to ensure they thrive in harmony with the natural conditions of the vineyard.

Since the Koehlers acquired the property, they have grafted six additional varietals to the original four, and plantings on the estate now include Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Grenache Blanc, Riesling, Syrah, Sangiovese, Grenache, Mourvedre and Viognier.

Winery guests sample a selection of estate-grown wines, and are invited to enjoy their tasting in one of the outdoor settings located around the tasting room, each offering impressive views of the estate and vineyard grounds.

Just steps from the tasting room are a gathering of rustic picnic benches, shaded by an awning of 30-foot-tall pepper trees. This meeting spot sits on a large, sprawling lawn, with views of the vineyard and a pasture where the Koehlers’ furry family members love to hang out.

The Oak Terrace is a breathtaking setting, with magnificent views of the vineyard surrounded by majestic 200-year-old oak trees. There, guests may enjoy a more private picnic experience while delighting in the tranquil scenery.

Adjacent to the tasting room, guests can relax and picnic at the harvest tables, shaded under a canopy of 130-year-old olive trees. Just a short walk leads to the deck, which is surrounded by a year-round display of blooming wild flowers. The deck is perfect for sipping wines while relaxing on the lounge furniture.

The winery offers a “Signature Flight” of six wines for a $10 fee, and a “Premium Flight” of six other wines for $15. Each flight includes a Koehler logo glass for the guest to take home.

For those who want to immerse themselves in a true vineyard and winery experience, the Koehler Estate Vineyard House can be rented. The 4,000 square feet of rustic elegance is complemented by stunning panoramic vineyard views, and the house sits on a one-third-acre manicured lawn.

High-speed wireless internet, HDTV and digital cable, Viking appliances, and beautiful original artwork are some of the amenities that make this a hidden gem in Santa Barbara County’s wine country.

The Vineyard House is just minutes away from top-notch dining, shopping, and wine tasting at other estates. It’s the perfect place to take time away from one’s busy work life.

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