Monday, April 11, 2016



Hartley Ostini Hitching Post wines are available by the taste, glass or bottle at the Hitching Post II restaurant where they are sold to take home. They can be found at several retail outlets and, of course, from our website order form.  When the winery is sold out of these wines, some may still be available elsewhere, we are leaving the descriptions here to assist you with your choice. Winery prices are listed on this site's order form.

Hartley Ostini Hitching Post Wines are the creation of Gray Hartley and Frank Ostini, two friends that began making Santa Barbara, California wines in 1979. Long before Hollywood discovered the winemaking landmark and its great wines,  Gray Hartley, a former Alaskan salmon fisherman and Frank Ostini, the Chef and owner of the famed Hitching Post Restaurant in nearby Buellton, were brought together through their love of wine and winemaking. Over the years their backyard hobby has turned into a highly acclaimed winemaking enterprise.

“It started in 1979 as a lark,” said Gray Hartley. “Frank called me and said ‘why don’t we make some wine? I’d like to bring some wine into the restaurant’. We had an old whiskey barrel and away we went – and here we are, nearly thirty years later. Started out having fun and we still have as much fun now as we had then!”

In 1981 they discovered the wonder of Pinot Noir grapes; since then Pinot has been their primary focus. A great example of these wines is the Hartley Ostini Hitching Post HIGHLINER. “Highliner” is one of the best fishermen in the fleet, and this name honors the great men of the Alaskan Salmon Fishery alongside whom Gray Hartley worked for 28 years. A special wine, HIGHLINER is meant to be the “best of their fleet” of Pinot Noirs. Along with ten selections of Pinot Noir, Ostini and Hartley produce a Dry Rose called Pinks, a Syrah, a Merlot, and a Merlot-Cabernet Franc blend named Gen Red. Gen Red started as just a house wine for the Hitching Post. “As a chef, I like to make blends by combining flavors and textures to make a whole complete and satisfying taste.  I do it with food, and I like to do it with wine” says Frank  “The base of Gen Red is from two very good vineyards that when blended, always gives me what I’m looking for. The Alisos Vineyard in the hills of Los Alamos has 25 year old Cabernet Franc that lends dramatic aromatics; Westerly Vineyard in Happy Canyon (the warm eastern end of Santa Ynez Valley) yields well-farmed serious Merlot that makes intense red wine with ample tannins and a full mouth feel.  We always add a touch of Syrah to round out and sweeten the palate with ripe fruit flavors, resulting in a great bottle of wine.”

Then came Sideways, the Academy Award® winning film set in Santa Barbara wine country, prominently featuring The Hitching Post and Hitching Post Wines.“Sideways gave us the opportunity to make more wines,” says Frank. “We could always make wine; the difficult thing was selling it. It was always popular in California, but beyond that it was a harder sell. We didn’t have the marketing surge to do it. Sideways gave us the chance to sell our wine because it became known.” From the exposure in the film, Hitching Post wines have gained in popularity. Currently, the winery has 800 barrels and produces about 14,000 cases a year.

Hartley and Ostini strive to create handcrafted flavorful wines that possess poise and balance, successfully complementing the red oak grilled foods of Ostini’s restaurant, The Hitching Post II.  Hitching Post Wines are enjoyed by an audience that reaches around the globe who admire Santa Barbara wines for their fresh fruit, complexities of spice and earth, and refreshing acidity.

Gray Hartley and Frank Ostini are two gentlemen from the country – Santa Barbara Wine Country.  Their mission is to put a slice of Santa Barbara in every glass and a piece of their soul in each bottle of Hitching Post Wine.

Saturday, May 14th, 2016 6PM
at Warner Bros., “Midwest Street”

A wine tasting extraordinaire and spectacular hors d’oeuvres dinner benefiting the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. One of WINE SPECTATOR’S “TOP TEN U.S. CHARITY WINE AUCTIONS” will be held on the “Midwest Street” backlot at Warner Bros.

The California Winemasters is a perennial Wine Spectator Top 10 Charity Wine Auction set for May 14, 2016 at Warner Bros. Studios in Burbank.  This extraordinary event showcases 50 international chefs and 75 of California’s Finest Wineries.  “Winemasters” has raised nearly $29 million in support of the mission of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. The CF Foundation is a nonprofit donor-supported organization dedicated to attacking cystic fibrosis from every angle.  It’s focus is to support the development of new drugs to fight the disease, improve the quality of life for those with CF and ultimately, to find a cure. The Foundation’s drug development success has been recognized by Harvard Business School and by publications such as Forbes, Discover Magazine and The Wall Street Journal. Make your reservations NOW for this wine tasting extraordinaire and spectacular hors d’oeuves dinner!




2016 Event Featuring 75 Lots Representing 16 Sonoma County Appellations

The Sonoma County Vintners invites members of the licensed wine trade to preview the never before, never again limited production wines that will be available for purchase at the 2nd annual Sonoma County Barrel Auction on April 29th. Seventy-five unique wine lots representing 16 Sonoma County appellations and cultivated in Sonoma County’s most highly acclaimed vineyards will be sold to the highest bidder at the one-day-only auction. Descriptions of a selection of wine lots can be viewed at A full list of all lots will be available on the site in the next week. Qualified members of the licensed wine trade who would like to place absentee bids or register for the event should visit  Space is limited.

These specially chosen wines were evaluated in blind tastings held in February and March by seven panelists comprised of Master Sommeliers and Masters of Wine. Sonoma County Barrel Auction lots range in size from five to 20 cases and include unique single vineyard bottlings, specific clonal selections, blends, wines aged using special barrel regimes and joint lot wines made by collaborating wineries.

Examples include: Bacigalupi Vineyards, Dutcher Crossing Winery, Flanagan Wines, Gary Farrell Winery &

MacRostie Winery & Vineyards
“Judgment of Paris 40th Anniversary Barrel” 2015 Chardonnay, Bacigalupi Vineyards, Russian River Valley (20 cases)—The 1976 Judgment of Paris sent shockwaves through the wine community, and forever cemented California’s place among the world’s most revered wine regions. The original Wente Clone on St. George Rootstock that contributed to California’s unexpected victory still thrives today at Bacigalupi Vineyards. Bacigalupi Vineyards, Dutcher Crossing, Flanagan Wines, Gary Farrell Vineyards & Winery MacRostie Winery & Vineyards and these legendary vines have combined forces to create this historic 40th Anniversary Barrel of Chardonnay. This extraordinary wine captures the spirit of that winning wine, with layers of voluptuous texture, floral notes and a mineral finish.

Laurel Glen Vineyard
“Block 4 Old Vines”, 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon, Laurel Glen Vineyard, Sonoma Mountain (5 cases)—When Patrick Campbell bought Laurel Glen Vineyard in 1977, the vineyard was three acres of 10 year-old Cabernet Sauvignon. Patrick took cuttings from the existing Cabernet vines to develop an additional 12 acres of vineyard. UC Davis subsequently identified the clone as unique. The Laurel Glen clone of Cabernet Sauvignon remains the only clone Laurel Glen uses. Block 4 was developed in 1978 and has never been replanted. They typically harvest one ton per acre from vines that are now 37 years old and planted on St. George rootstock. Winemaker Randall Watkins chose a selection from Block 4 that best expresses the elegance and age-ability of the historic Laurel Glen Vineyard.

Martinelli Winery
“Bondi Ranch: One Barrel, One Block, One Clone, One Time,”  2015 Pinot Noir, Bondi Home Ranch, Green Valley (5 cases)—TheBondi legacy began in the Green Valley of Russian River Valley more than 130 years ago when Italian immigrant Paulo Bondi arrived with a dream of farming these cool hillsides. In 1997, the Bondi Home Ranch vineyard was planted by Paulo's grandson, Lee Martinelli Sr., securing the Martinelli family’s place in the history of Sonoma County viticulture. This Bondi Pinot Noir is from the Martinelli family’s favorite barrel, from their favorite block and from their favorite clone on this cherished family land. This block is the soul of Bondi Home Ranch Pinot Noir every year—it is typically blended with other blocks and other clones from this vineyard to create a final single-vineyard wine. Exclusively for the Barrel Auction, the Martinelli Family chose to do a single-barrel offering of just this block, just this one clone, just one time only.

Rodney Strong Vineyards
“Asymmetry,” 2015 Merlot Blend, Alexander Valley, Knights Valley & Northern Sonoma (10 cases)—Rodney Strong was one of the pioneers of Sonoma County’s modern wine industry, a visionary who understood the potential that Sonoma County’s soil and climate held for producing world-class wines. Now under the care of Proprietor Tom Klein and Winemaker Rick Sayre, Rodney Strong Vineyards carries this legacy forward by continuing to craft wines that achieve critical acclaim and a loyal consumer following. As a testament to its well-known Left Bank Bordeaux-style blend, Symmetry, the winemakers have created a Right Bank Bordeaux-style blend, called Asymmetry. This one-of-a-kind Merlot based blend from five different prized vineyards in Sonoma County delivers layers of complex red and black fruits, with a refined tannin structure that is extremely food friendly.

Seghesio Family Vineyards & A. Rafanelli Winery
“Pioneer Producers from Dry Creek Valley,” 2015Zinfandel, Dry Creek Valley (5 cases)—This story begins in the early 1900s when Italian families began immigrating to Dry Creek Valley to grow grapes and make wine. Families worked together to build and farm the vineyards of Dry Creek Valley, using methods most suitable for growing Zinfandel. Two such families, the Seghesios and the Rafanellis, are still thriving after five and four generations of winemaking, respectively, producing some of the best quality wine in one of the most highly recognized AVAs for Zinfandel: Dry Creek Valley. To celebrate their shared history, Seghesio Family Vineyards and A. Rafanelli have partnered to create a unique Dry Creek Zinfandel that integrates wine from both properties to deliver a powerful and delicious representation of the appellation.

Jean Arnold Sessions, former president of Hanzell Vineyards and a noted wine industry leader in Sonoma County, has been named the interim Executive Director of Sonoma County Vintners (SCV). She steps into the role following the resignation of Carolyn Stark, who stepped down as executive director for personal reasons earlier this year. Sessions takes her position effective February 22.

“I am truly honored to have the opportunity to lead Sonoma County Vintners as interim Executive Director,” said Jean Arnold Sessions. “I have dedicated my career to Sonoma County winemaking and had the privilege of working with many SCV members, as well as serving as a previous board member. Sonoma County is a world-class destination with world-class wines and I couldn’t be more proud to serve as an ambassador alongside the SCV team and our allies everywhere.”

“Jean brings the rare combination of industry expertise, deep regional roots and the respect and admiration of her peers across the county and around the nation,” said Caroline Shaw, President of SCV’s board of directors. “Her leadership, relationships and passion for Sonoma County will continue to deepen the impact of SCV and its advocacy and marketing efforts.”

Previous to her interim role with SCV, Sessions was president of Hanzell Vineyards from 2002 through 2013.   She is founder of the Jean Arnold Group, a strategic consulting firm, and creator of Women in the Business of Wine, a platform for mentoring women in wine, food, and hospitality. Sessions also serves on the board of director of the Sonoma Valley Hospital Foundation and has been named a woman of the year in wine by North Bay Business Journal.   She also served on the board of directors for the SCV from 2003 to 2009.

Sonoma County Vintners (SCV) is the leading voice of Sonoma County wine, dedicated to raising awareness and building understanding of Sonoma County as one of the world’s premier wine regions, noted for its heritage of artisan winemaking, distinct growing regions, and extraordinary quality. Founded in 1944, SCV represents more than 250 wineries and affiliates of all sizes throughout the county. Learn more about SCV at  


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