Monday, June 29, 2015



As winemaker at Domaine Chandon, Pauline Lhote is responsible for the day-to-day cellar operations, including tirage, crush, blending and dosage trials. To say that Pauline is passionate about Champagne is an understatement. She grew up in Champagne, knew she wanted to make Champagne from an early age and chose her higher education based on attaining that goal.

While earning a National Diploma of winemaking in Reims, Champagne, Pauline gained hands-on experience at Moët & Chandon where she performed maturity controls, winemaking trials and cellar work. Her work there in 2004 coincided with the Champagne house’s increased focus on crafting rosé champagnes, so she spent time creating red wines used in producing rosé sparkling wines, including the coveted Dom Perignon Rosé.

In 2005, Pauline took her experience to another esteemed
Champagne producer, Nicolas Feuillatte, as consulting winemaker, making reds for rosé sparklers in addition to creating more base wines, performing dosage trials and learning the art of blending.

Pauline then felt an urge to have international winemaking experience—but remaining true to her Champagne roots, she set her sights on Domaine Chandon in the Napa Valley, the first French-owned sparkling wine house in California. Pauline arrived in Yountville for a three-month contract in late 2006, fell in love with Napa Valley and stayed.
Today, Pauline leads the winemaking team in crafting America’s premier sparkling wines.



Our Story
It started over 20 years ago as a fantasy: living on a lush beautiful vineyard, producing your own style of favorite premium varietal wines that are well received and appreciated by those who have discovered the wines and shared them amongst friends.

Now, drive along the scenic Highway 46 West, about three miles west of the 101 Fwy at Oakdale Road, you will find this dream has become reality for David Hunt, Winemaker and owner of Hunt Cellars, a winery committed to producing “Memorable Wines”. We believe that great wines leave indelible impressions when poured with wonderful meals and great friends and scintillating conversations. Hunt Cellars was founded on the philosophy of producing wines that you will look forward to simply sipping by a cozy fireplace or pairing with your favorite meals to enhance that special event or moment in time.

How It Began
When The Hunt Family decided to pursue their dream they were uncertain where they would choose to build their vineyard. The Hunts spent exhaustive days and weekends traveling to various premium wine regions from Oregon, Washington, and throughout the State of California. They finally narrowed their decision down to the Central coast to San Luis Obispo County. Paso Robles was selected because of its rich diversity in soils, superb growing climate and unique styles of wine making along with the spirit of graciousness and traditional American values.

Eventually after looking at numerous parcels of vineyard potential property, they settled on uniquely beautiful property containing over 550 acres on Highway 41 in Creston. This unique property met their criteria in topography, soil composition and unparralled beauty. Within the 550 acres there are four terrior’s with varying elevations containing soil composites that mirror the great wine regions of the world. They were convinced that they could grow wonderful exciting intense fruit here on this property.

Destiny Hunt
The Hunt Family decided to name their vineyard, “Destiny Vineyards,” in honor of their new baby girl they named Destiny who was born in 1996. Just ask Destiny who has the best wines today and she will certainly tell you.

Destiny Vineyard’s first planting consisted of: Cabernet Sauvignon, Sangiovese, Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot, Syrah, Petite Syrah, Cab Franc, Viognier and Zinfandel. The Hunts decided to build a tasting room for their premium wines, which opened in October of 1999.

In 1997 they began producing their first releases of memorable wines… Experience has taught Hunts that in order to make great wines you must simply have the best fruit. At Hunt Cellars, we believe passion, hard work and never giving up until we have put together all the components and structure that will give our wine the varietal character, flavor and velvet finish that will become a trademark of our wines.

View of Destiny Vineyards
As you enter The Hunt Cellars Tasting room, the fun wine experience begins, as you are greeted with either live music or our white grand player piano, which can play any song. Stroll up to our Cabernet Bar, where our warm and friendly staff are eager to lead you through a light hearted and fun sampling of our wines. You may also choose to sip your wines on our spacious 1200 foot veranda, smoke your favorite cigar under our pavilion or simply stroll through our lush inviting landscaped lawns. We want you and your guest to simply have a wonderful time at Hunt Cellars and bring your friends and family back on your next visit to the Paso Robles Wine Country.

How Hunt Cellars Wines Differ from Others
There are many different wineries in the Paso Robles area; few compare to the quality of Hunt Cellars. Hunt uses only the best and rarest mountain grown fruit to produce the best harvest of grapes. Their vineyard’s location has been specifically chosen for its composition and diversity – every step of the production process is designed so Hunt Cellars produces the highest caliber of wine for you to enjoy.


Monday, June 22, 2015



Cebada Vineyard is part of Forbidden Fruit Orchards, an award-winning boutique farm and winery located between Buellton and Lompoc, just west of the Sta. Rita Hills Appellation.  This working farm sits on 100 acres of stunning property and harvests everything from year round organic blueberries, homemade jams, syrups and applesauce, mulberries, hardy kiwis, avocados, currants, tea, apples, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay wine grapes to rare, amber-colored honey made by the honey bee hives which pollinates the crops.

All of our Estate Wines are grown on a southern slope just 12 miles from the Pacific Ocean and enjoys the cool, coastal weather which preserves the natural acids in the wine without accumulating high sugar contents.  The sandy soil adds a silkiness to the wines.  The east west mountain range of the farm funnels cool, temperate weather inland making Cebada Vineyard perfect terrain for producing great Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.  We are a small case producer, only making wines from fruit grown on our farm.  These are sophisticated Burgundian style wines.

To request a private, by appointment only wine tour and tasting, please go to our website  Let us know the time, date and how many persons will be coming. $45/person ($30 is credited toward a wine purchase). Reservations need to be made in advance; please contact the winemaker Sandra Newman at (805) 735-4648.

My passion for the land and being outdoors started early in my life when I learned how to plant my first vegetable garden from my Grandmother. Throughout my childhood, I was the producer of vegetables for my family and the ornamental gardener around the house. It was a given by all that knew me I was destined for Agriculture School. I received my B.S. and M.S. from the University of Delaware in Plant Science.

Years went by and as I painstakingly saved my pennies and was finally able to purchase my own piece of heaven. In 2002, I bought 100 acres in North Santa Barbara County with apple trees. The parcel needed a lot of tender care to get it back on its feet and by the spring of 2003, I planted 2 acres of blueberries on a southern slope about 12 miles east of the ocean under frost protection. I decided to farm them organically and hoped that the blueberry plants would stay evergreen through the winter. Our plants stayed evergreen and did not go dormant. This was important because we could produce fruit off-season and not compete with the large growers. Our season started in September and ended in July. So we planted another 4 acres.

As I watched how our plants preformed, I took note that our fruit had a very long ripening hang time on the plant compared to other blueberry locations. My parcel is located at the western edge of the Santa Ynez appellation (where the movie Sideway’s was filmed). The east west mountain range funnels cool, temperate weather inland making for great Pinot Noir and Chardonnay vineyards. This allows us to let the fruit hang and ripen slowly adding wonderful flavors but maintaining its crispness.
In 2005, we planted about 200 tea plants (Camellia sinensis) as a trial planting in conjunction with the University of California, Small Farms Co-operative Extension. In 2007, planted 6.2 acres of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay and made our first wines in 2011. In 2007-2008, we also planted Pakistani mulberries, currants, hardy kiwis and avocados.



As wine consultant to Gourmet Magazine for 20 years, a highly sought after personality on national television (MSNBC, CNN, The Food Network, Today Show) and at major wine & food festivals worldwide, Michael’s range and depth of experience is unmatched in the industry.

Harnessing the power of food and drink to build relationships, Michael is able to articulate a company’s mission through the exploration of wine, cocktail mixology, and food, making him a favorite talent for blue-chip companies worldwide who want to create memorable brand-building events.

No one is more knowledgeable about wine, or the business and pleasure of food and drink, than Michael Green. And just as important, no one makes the subject as accessible and entertaining. Michael’s relentlessly energetic and utterly accessible style effortlessly blends information and audience engagement into an unforgettable experience that is low-pretense, high-impact, and supremely entertaining.

Uniquely, Michael Green understands the language of business as well as he understands the language of food and drink, and crafts customized tasting experiences in synergy with the goals and objectives of your business and your event. To be sure, his experience and knowledge in the epicurean world put him at the top of his field, but it is his ability to translate that knowledge into the vocabulary of his audience that sets him apart.

It is Michael’s unique combination of experience, energizing performances, and fluency in the language of business that has kept clients coming back, again and again, for 25 years.


Monday, June 15, 2015



Château Mouton Rothschild winemaker Lucien Sionneau and Robert Mondavi’s son Timothy made the partnership’s first vintage at the Robert Mondavi Winery in 1979. The following year the partners officially announced their joint venture.

In 1981 a single case of the joint venture wine sold for $24,000 at the first Napa Valley Wine Auction – the highest price ever paid for a California wine. In 1982 Robert Mondavi and Baron Philippe de Rothschild began label design. The partners agreed to choose a name of Latin origin for the joint venture, allowing for easy recognition in both English and French. Baron Philippe announced his choice, “Opus,” a musical expression denoting the first masterwork of a composer. Two days later he proposed an additional word: “Opus One”.

The 1979 and 1980 vintages were simultaneously unveiled in 1984 as Opus One’s first release. Opus One then became known as America’s first ultra-premium wine, establishing a category of wine priced by the bottle at $50 and above.

Following Lucien Sionneau’s retirement in 1985, Patrick Léon joined Château Mouton Rothschild as winemaker and Timothy Mondavi as co-winemaker of Opus One.

Three years later, Baron Philippe de Rothschild died in France at the age of 85; and Baroness Philippine de Rothschild took the reins of the family wine business. This same year Opus One exported a share of its 1985 vintage – and became the first ultra-premium California wine to be sold in France, the United Kingdom, Germany and Switzerland. International demand for the wine continued, and in 1999 Opus One celebrated its 20th anniversary by holding vertical tastings and gala dinners in Oakville, New York, Paris and London. In 2001 the release of its 20th vintage – the 1998 – was met with gala events in Tokyo and Hong Kong.

The winery’s board of directors appointed David Pearson CEO in 2004, the first person singly responsible for Opus One. Michael Silacci was thereafter named winemaker, the first to assume full responsibility for viticulture and winemaking.

Constellation Brands, Inc. purchased Robert Mondavi Corporation and assumed 50% ownership of Opus One in 2005. Baroness Philippine de Rothschild and then Constellation Brands President and COO Robert Sands announced the Opus One Accord between Baron Philippe de Rothschild, S.A. and Constellation Brands, Inc. Opus One assumed operating independence in three key areas: vineyard management, domestic and international sales, and administration.