A Sparkling Industry: New Maps Showcase Quick Growth of Central Coast Bubbly
Gabe Saglie, Senior Editor Travelzoo
In Santa Barbara County -- where pinot and chardonnay, Champagne's main ingredients, flourish -- many of the top tier producers sell their bubbles from about $20 to $50 a bottle, with a few commanding prices above $60. Many of them, like Lucas & Lewellen, produce the still wine locally and then truck the juice to an outside facility – a place called Rack & Riddle in Napa, mostly – to be further fermented into bubbly. But a growing number, including Flying Goat Cellars and Fess Parker Winery, produce their sparklers entirely in-house, emulating Champagne’s classic methode tradit
Marketing pro Liz Dodder gets a sparkle in her eye when she talks about the Central California wineries that make bubbly. “Bubbles are my favorite,” she says with enthusiasm, “and I was always keeping a personal list of who was making it.” That led her, in 2014, to produce a Central Coast sparkling wine map for her popular blog, Cali Coast Wine Country. There were 45 stops on that map, already a testament to a burgeoning industry.
Blessing grapes a tradition as wineries' harvest begins
With the harvest of wine grapes underway at wineries all along the Central Coast, a ceremony that's become a tradition at Lucas & Lewellen Vineyards took place Thursday inside one of the company's crushing rooms in Buellton.
About 20 winery owners, workers and visitors gathered around half a dozen bins filled with clusters of pinot grigio to witnes Father John Finley conduct a blessing of the grapes, asking not only for a good harvest but also a successful fermentation and bottling, ultimately ending with fine vintage varietals on consumers' tables.
Lifetime Acheivement Awarded to Louis Lucas - Lucas & Lewellen Vineyards
Len Wood - Santa Maria Times Staff
February 5, 2016
Local business and government groups teamed up to hold "Growing Possibilities": A forum to celebrate and support regional agriculture on Friday, Febrary 5th, at the Santa Maria Fairpark.
Louis Lucas is congratulated by Mike Kirkwood, George Adam and Assembly Member Katcho Achadjian for the lifetime achievement award he received during the "Growing Possibilities" forum at the Santa Maria Fairpark.
Katcho Achadjin (on left) Louis Lucas (center) Royce Lewellen (on right)
Tasting Reveals Wide Range of Local Sparkling Wines
December 24, 2015
Not too long ago, a tasting like this would have been impossible. When Flying Goat Cellars' Norm Yost launched his sparkling wine program in 2005, he was pretty much on his own. Other labels had dabbled in bubbles in the past, like Brewer-Clifton and Whitcraft. But sparklers made yearly from Santa Barbara County grapes was brand new territory.
Today, the number of local producers with a regular sparkling wine program approaches 40.
And, this year alone marks the first-ever releases of bubbles by several labels, like Alma Rosa and Potek. So the time seemed right to pick a random sampling and taste some of Santa Barbara's effervescence at its best.
Where else would Italy meet Thailand except in the pages of our local Santa Barbara County newspapers? Although the default approach to pairing spicy Asian cuisine is toward a sauvignon blanc, riesling or gewürztraminer, there are a number of local Italian varietals that can pair well with the exotic flavors of Thailand and Vietnam as well.
Wine, Wash & Wag spread out around the downtown village of Solvang. It was the brainchild of Lucas & Lewellen events manager Anjie Parker and Pam Koga, owner/operator of Pam's Pampered Pooches mobile grooming.
Harvest started a couple of weeks earlier than ever before. Our yields in some varieties, like Pinot Noir and Pinot Grigio, are unbelievably low. Both bunch size and berry size are small. This situation is statewide, especially in the coastal regions. Everyone is questioning why. Many things enter into it,
like the fact that we had three large crops in a row, an early fall frost, a warm winter, bad weather during flowering, irregular berry set, a lack of winter rains and no deep soil moisture. Our total production will be down about 50 percent. I do expect the 2015 vintage to be a quality one. We were done harvesting a month early.
Solvang, though built to mimic a quaint Danish town, complete with a museum honoring Hans Christian Anderson, looks more like a town out of my childhood Cinderella or Hansel & Gretel Golden Books. But there's nothing fairy tale about the wineries.