Monday, March 27, 2017



Jeff was committed to promoting the Santa Maria Valley; a place he considered home and cared about deeply. By offering a Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Blanc under the J. Wilkes imprimatur of quality, we hope to introduce a new generation of wine drinkers to wines of typicity from a venerated appellation. We hope these wines serve not only as ambassadors of an iconic growing region, but also as an introduction to three varietals that merit much pursuit and discovery. The J. Wilkes brand was established in 2001 by Jefferson Wilkes, a widely respected wine industry veteran who loved the community of Santa Maria and sailing the Pacific Coast.  Since Jeff’s passing, the J. Wilkes brand has carried forth with a simple mission: to deliver wines of varietal character, at affordable prices, that highlight the virtues of the Santa Maria Valley appellation.

Wes worked as Vineyard Manager and Winemaker at Clos Pepe Vineyards and Estate Wines in the Sta. Rita Hills for 21 years and is considered an industry leader in Santa Barbara Wine, having served for more than a decade on the Board of Directors for both Santa Barbara County Vintners and Santa Rita Hills Winegrowers Alliance. Wes is an accomplished wine writer, researcher and lecturer; He has written for the L.A Times Magazine, Sommelier Journal, Burgundy Report and has appeared and been featured / quoted numerous times in the Wine Spectator, Wine Advocate and Wine Enthusiast. Wes researched, wrote and had approved the last three AVA’s in Santa Barbara County: Sta. Rita Hills, Happy Canyon and Ballard Canyon. Wes taught the Food and Wine Pairing program at Allan Hancock College for four years and has lectured on the History of Wine and Santa Barbara Wine at Cornell University, Caltech and many, many other prestigious institutions. His most recent achievement is having been nominated for a TED-talk on the History of Wine. Wes has an active and impressive social media following on Facebook (Wes Hagen), Twitter, Instagram and Delectable (@weshagen).






The Garagiste Wine Festivals ( are the first and only wine festivals dedicated to the undiscovered and under-recognized American artisan ‘garagiste’ producers who are making some of the best, most exciting, handcrafted small-lot production wines in the world. Founded by fellow garagistes Stewart McLennan and Douglas Minnick, the Garagiste Festivals are committed to discovering the best and most innovative limited-production winemakers and promoting and showcasing them to a broad audience of discerning wine consumers.
In addition to its flagship annual festival in Paso Robles, CA, the Garagiste Festival line-up includes Garagiste Festival: Southern Exposure, featuring Santa Ynez Valley garagistes; the Garagiste Festival: Urban Exposure, in Los Angeles; garagiste mini-tastings presented from So Cal to Tahoe; winemaker dinners, a newsletter, garagiste profiles and more. The festivals were named one of the ‘Top Nine Incredible Epicurean Vacations’ in the world by ABC News,* “one of the premier wine events of the year,” by the LA Times and “Best Festival” by Sunset Magazine’s ‘Best of the West.’ The festivals are produced by Garagiste Events, a non-profit dedicated to furthering the education of future winemakers and those training for employment within the wine industry. Proceeds from the festivals support the Garagiste Festival Scholarship fund of the California Polytechnic State University at San Luis Obispo Wine and Viticulture Department.

Doug Minnick is the Co-Founder of The Garagiste Festivals. Minnick knew what he wanted to do with his life on February 9th, 1964 when as a 7 year old boy in suburban Chicago, he saw The Beatles perform on The Ed Sullivan Show. After 11 years playing in rock and roll bands and ignoring his schoolwork, he took off on a cold February day in a 1967 Buick Elektra 225 bound for L.A., palm trees, and the music business as an 18 year old with $500 in his pocket. Working his way up from the mailroom (no kidding) at A&M Records and surviving a successful career as a Music Business executive in the 80s, Doug eventually chucked the corporate music world for the uncertainty of an independent, two-man start-up. Ten years later, with the independent start-up now a multi-million dollar success story, Minnick again proved unable to control his passions, this time tossing the music business for the world of wine. Particularly Central Coast wine. Doug is now the Co-Founder (with Stewart McLennan) of The Garagiste Festivals, which feature high-quality, limited-production artisan winemakers – Garagiste has emerged as the most unique and influential wine event in California. By helping small-production wineries connect with their audience, The Garagiste Festival truly impacts the business of these winemakers while satisfying their fans’ desire to discover high-quality, hard-to-find wines. Everybody wins. Doug owns (with three partners), and is winemaker for, his own winery, Hoi Polloi. The Garagiste Festival:Southern Exposure takes place this Friday and Saturday in Solvang, featuring over 40 micro-production wineries.


Monday, March 20, 2017



Veritas Imports fine and rare wines and spirits from exclusive sources all over the world. Specializing in the classic and mature vintages of Europe’s most elite regions, the company maintains vertical selections of most cru classe Bordeaux, including all of the First Growths, ‘Super-Seconds,” and most other well-known chateaux. Veritas also participates actively in the annual en primeur offerings to the trade, and acquires current vintages directly from chateaux through negociants in Bordeaux.

In addition, Veritas represents on an exclusive basis a select number of producers, importing and distributing their products into one or more markets that Veritas serves. Included among such producers are Americans Ann Colgin and Mike Bonaccorsi: Burgundians J-F Mugnier, Sominiqu Lafon, Etienne de Montille Giroud, Gerard Mugneret, Alain Burguet, Rene Engel and Bonoit EnteL and Bas Armagnac Laberdolive, Cognac Jean Fillioux, and the Poire, Dranboise and Prune of Etienne Brana.

Veritas also serves as a wholesale dealer in the wines and spirits and currently distributes all or a portion of its portfolio into New York, California, Illinois, Nevada, Arizona, Colorado and Washington, D.C. Ceritas principally services the restaurant and hotel industry, together with highly-selective specialty retailers. The company carefully ships its wines in refrigerated containers and maintains its stocks in temperature and humidity controlled warehouses. Current inventory exceeds 120,000 bottles from over five hundred distinguished producers.

Veritas is fully licensed by all federal and state authorities having jurisdiction over the conduct of its business and it compliant with all relevant laws, ordinances and rules. Under applicable law, Veritas is not permitted to sell to consumers, although retailers can be recommended in many markets.



America’s first organic and Biodynamic winery - Producing award-winning vegan, gluten free wines with no added sulfites since 1980

We are a third-generation family-owned and operated winery located at the pristine headwaters of the Russian River in Redwood Valley, Mendocino County, California. At Frey Vineyards we combine the best of modern and traditional winemaking methods to showcase distinctive varietal flavors. Through minimal manipulation in the cellar, we allow the wines to express the authentic character of our soils and climate. For over three decades we have been vanguards in crafting wine without added sulfites, a synthetic preservative added to most other wines (even wines made with organically grown grapes!) that can cause adverse allergic reactions in some people.

Our organic and Biodynamic farming methods encourage care for the soil, groundwater, and wildlife, promoting rich biodiversity in the vineyard. Ninety percent of our land is held as unspoiled natural habitat with a diverse mix of native plants and animals. As stewards of the land, we emphasize producing organic and Biodynamic wine of the highest quality while caring for planet and palate alike.

Paul Sr. and Beba Frey grew up a few blocks apart in the gritty New York City of the 1930's and 40's. Paul relished his summer escapes to the Poconos Mountains, Pennsylvania. And Beba found bliss each summer on a Catskill Mountains dairy farm (see photo above). Each vowed to escape the city permanently. They later met and married in medical school. While their family grew, they longed for a life closer to nature and finally settled down in Northern California in the early 1960's on their ranch in Redwood Valley, Mendocino County. The 12 children grew up instilled with love and respect for the natural environment, and picked up gardening, farming, and agricultural skills, as their parents had dreamed.  Paul Sr. and Beba rounded out their children’s education by schooling them in the sciences, history, literature, classical arts and music, as well as appreciation for world cuisines paired with wine.

In the late 1960's, Paul and Beba and the older kids planted Cabernet Sauvignon and Gray Riesling on the ranch's old pastureland and sold the fruit to nearby wineries. A decade later, brothers Jonathan and Matthew realized the vineyards' potential when a Cabernet Sauvignon grown by Frey's grapes won a gold medal for a Santa Cruz winery. Frey Vineyards was bonded the next year, in 1980, and soon after became the first organic winery in U.S.

The eldest brother Jonathan and his wife Katrina studied organic agriculture under the tutorship of Alan Chadwick, a green-thumb guru of the California 70's. At the winery's inception, Jonathan introduced high integrity organic practices that are still in place today.  Brother Matthew, learned the mechanical and technical skills of the wine business when working at nearby wineries. A final touch to the new winery's credo was that the wine would be made not only from organically grown grapes, but without any added sulfites. In the late 1980's, Paul Frey Jr. returned from the University of California at Santa Cruz to help perfect the techniques for making wine without the synthetic sulfite preservative, and is today our main winemaker. In 1996, Luke Frey spearheaded the conversion of our estate vineyards to biodynamic cultivation, making Frey Vineyards the first producer of certified Demeter Biodynamic wines in North America.

We are pleased that many local wineries and grape growers have become certified organic and biodynamic as well, for the health of our common environment as well as our customers. Today, a third of all organic grapes in California are grown in Mendocino County, and 15 wineries making wines from organically grown grapes are located here – more than any county in the U.S. The trend of organic grape growing is rapidly spreading in Napa and Sonoma Counties, and across the U.S. Frey Vineyards is the largest of the very few wineries to have taken on the challenge of producing a true organic wine, made with no added sulfites – a practice that is now tradition for our family. Today, more than 30 years since the founding of Frey Vineyards, many of the 12 children and spouses work for the family business. As organic food production is reaching new heights in the U.S., we hope the trend never stops, benefiting taste buds, planet, and the future generations.

There aren't many jobs Katrina hasn't worked at Frey Vineyards. She has worn the hat of grape-picker, bottler, saleswoman – you name it! Katrina developed our sales and marketing branch and acts as our office manager. In addition to her work at the winery Katrina is the President of the Board of Demeter USA (our national Biodynamic certification agency). She gives her time generously to organic issues such as non-GMO activism and food safety, as well as Mendocino County's local Phoenix Hospice. NUnder Katrina's community minded guidance Frey Vineyards has generously donated product and funds to local and national environmental and social justice charities and non-profits. As a leader in the organic industry since day one, Katrina has been a featured speaker at Natural Products Expo East, the All Things Organic trade show and the Sustainable Brands conference.

UPCOMING EVENT:  Frey Wines and Crab Bites! - Friday, January 22, 2016 ~ 4:00pm-7:00pm


Monday, March 13, 2017



Two Brothers: One Dream
Daniel and Georges Daou are committed to producing collectible, world-class Bordeaux style wines to rival those of the most respected appellations in the world.

Their appreciation for quality wine was nurtured throughout childhood, in France, where their father enjoyed good wine with every meal. Daniel and Georges came to appreciate great wines as young adults, and their passion for the fruits of the vine has grown stronger with every passing year.

Georges & Daniel Daou: A Little History
When it came time for college, the two brothers set sail for San Diego, California to attend UCSD, where they graduated with degrees in electrical and computer engineering. After college, the enterprising brothers formed DAOU Systems, where they developed intranet technologies for the medical industry. In less than ten years, the company became one of the top five IPO’s in the country. Throughout the years of building successful technology startups, Daniel never lost his appreciation for wine and his desire to produce it. He began to intensively study winemaking and viticulture, working with great winemakers and learning everything he possibly could about the fine points of producing premium wines. He and Georges soon began a new professional venture that was far closer to their hearts than the technology industry: crafting world-class wines that married the elegance of the French wines they had grown up with, and the concentrated flavors of California wines.

In 2007, Daniel and Georges’ search for the perfect terroir led them to the west mountain Adelaida area of Paso Robles in California. There, they found land that had been part of the historical Hoffman Mountain Ranch Vineyard; land that fit their very strict criteria. They wanted the kind of terroir that could grow Cabernet Sauvignon and other red varietals to rival those from the world’s best wine appellations. The combination of high elevation, cool marine influence, southeast and southwest sun exposure, and high-concentration calcareous-lime soils was exactly what they were looking for. As an added bonus, the one hundred acre property had over seventy farmable acres, making it one of the larger vineyard sites in the Adelaida region.

The property, now nicknamed DAOU Mountain, has expansive views of the luscious countryside. On a promontory rising above the valleys and canyons of this bucolic landscape now stands a stunning, Spanish Colonial style winery and tasting room. At the heart of the winery hangs a bell, dated 1740, that was recovered from a monastery in Spain. This beloved, beautifully painted iron piece was forged before the founding of the United States.

In the golden, oak-studded hills of Paso Robles’ acclaimed west side, not far from William Randolph Hearst’s magnificent castle, there is a man with a Homeric vision. His name is Daniel Daou and he is devoting his life and every imaginable resource to creating, first and foremost, a Cabernet Sauvignon that rivals the very best in the world. Gracefully perched atop a stunning promontory at 2,200 feet, the DAOU Spanish Colonial style winery is embraced by a tangible serenity. Hawks wheel and bank while the all-day sun caresses close planted rows of lush, emerald green vines. The 100 percent calcareous soil makes no sound as it parses out nourishment and only a gentle breeze flows up through the Templeton Gap from the Pacific Ocean. The quiet is bewitching; you want to lay down roots here, just as the seven-year-old vines have done. But the sense of peace belies the serious industry at work on this 212 acre estate. No effort is spared to create the luscious varietals and blends that flow from this limited production winery. This kind of synergy happens rarely: superlative climate and terroir, super intensive vineyard culture, and cutting edge viticultural practice. You’re more likely to find it in Bordeaux than Central California. Coupled with the infectious passion and gracious, family style hospitality of the Daou brothers, Georges and Daniel, the result is pure magic. The kind of magic that comes in a bottle.



James can trace his California roots back to 1781, when Josef Ontiveros rode on horseback into Alta California and the family became the recipient of a Mexican land grant. At one time, the Ontiveros Family owned over 36,000 acres in modern-day Orange county. They then sold El Cajon de Santa Ana and Los Coyotes and moved to Santa Barbara county. The 1837 Rancho Tepusquet grant – nearly 9,000 acres bordered by the Sisquoc and Cuyama Rivers – was passed to Don Juan Pacifico Ontiveros, who constructed the Ontiveros Adobe on the property in 1856. He and his wife raised horses, cattle, sheep, several grain crops and grapes.

Over the eight generations that came before him, this cattle and farm land was divided and passed down until the mid-nineteenth century, at which point it had been completely sold off and none of the original land grant remained in their name.

Rancho Ontiveros Vineyard, one of the vineyard sources for Alta Maria, was not inherited; it has been built over the last 20 years. Mark and Louise, James' mother and father, worked to buy the ranch in 1986 with a wistful view of the original property of Rancho Tepusquet that once had been their own. James was the first in his family to go to college and became interesed in viticulture and winemaking while at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.

James grew up ranching, but the wine business was fast becoming James' new love. The irony was that his family were cattle people with a little bit of a farming background; they were cowboys, not winemakers; over time that has changed.

James attendeed California Polytechnic University San Luis Obispo working on dual degrees in Fruit Science and Crop Science. While in college in 1997 James planted 8 acres of Pinot Noir at Rancho Ontiveros Vineyard.

James has worked with Kendall-Jackson as a Field Supervisor throughout the Central Coast, with Gallo-Sonoma in grower relations in the North Coast and vineyard manager in Sonoma Coast and the Russian River. Most importantly for Alta Maria’s evolution, James took a position with the Miller family as Director of Sales and Marketing for 10 years which included over-seeing the Bien Nacido Vineyard, Solomon Hills, French Camp, CCWS and Paso Robles wine services. This was the property where his great, great, great, great grandfather Juan Pacifico Ontiveros had built the adobe on their original land grant.

With the 2004 vintage, James joined forces with Paul Wilkins, winemaker and long-time college friend, to start Alta Maria focusing on important sites for Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from only the Santa Maria Valley AVA. They wanted to make genuine, honest and authentic wines that were inspired by the old world wines they loved. Much like James’ family history in California, Alta Maria reflects the heritage when times were simpler, people worked with the earth and were fulfilled personally and professionally by hard work.

Since 2005, Paul and James Ontiveros have been making Alta Maria Vineyards wines and in 2011 opened a much-anticipated joint tasting room for Alta Maria Vineyards and Native9 in Los Olivos, California. Alta Maria wines are sold in over a dozen states and export markets.

Alta Maria is a small, artisan winery focusing on producing Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from the cold and oceanic Santa Maria Valley appellation in Santa Barbara County. Founded by 9th Generation California James Ontiveros, and Winemaker and long-time college friend Paul Wilkins, Alta Maria’s wines are inspired by the old world regions of France and are classic examples of purity, balance and complexity. We strive to make the best wines possible in a very conscientious manner and employ organic and sustainable practices leaving no indelible mark on the people and places around us.

The name “Alta Maria” refers to the upper Santa Maria River, which James’ ancestor, Don Juan Pacifico Ontiveros crossed on Saint Mary’s Day, 1855, as he drove cattle from Southern California to his new home at Rancho Tepusquet – now home to some of the globe’s most renowned vines. The picturesque river flowing through the valley was the force responsible for sustaining ranch life in those early days.

The artwork for Alta Maria Vineyards features hand-hewn iron nails used by homesteaders in Santa Maria before the Industrial Revolution introduced mass-produced, machine-cut nails. Despite its lowly function, each nail is unique from the next according to the conditions in which it was made and the expertise of the craftsman.

“Native9 is the fulfillment of my own American story two centuries in the making. Tracing my roots back to the first men and women who settled in the Santa Maria Valley, I worked for hourly wages along with my parents to buy a small plot of land our ancestors’ 8,900-acre Mexican land grant: a modest cattle ranch where I planted my 8-acre vineyard and a panoramic view of the land that had once been our own. Planted in 1997 by my own two hands with the help of friends and family while I attended Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo, Rancho Ontiveros Vineyard is now considered one of the finest sites for Pinot Noir in California. As a natural extension of my deeply personal vision for this vineyard,Native9 is made in small lots with a nod to bothOld World sensibilities and New World stylistic freedom with the help of my longtime friend and vetted winemaker, Paul Wilkins. Though I wasn’t born into the wine industry by traditional means, I have vine-growing and farming in my blood. The name Native9 reflects my gratitude to the generations of California farmers and ranchers who came before me.”


Monday, March 6, 2017




Gary Eberle grew up in a small town in Pennsylvania and went to Penn State on a football scholarship. After graduating with a Bachelor's of Science in biology, he attended Louisiana State University (LSU) where he continued his graduate work studying cellular genetics. While attending LSU, Gary developed an appreciation for wine and changed his academic path to become a winemaker. He traveled west to California to study enology at U.C. Davis where he received a degree in Enology in 1971 and then headed south to Paso Robles in 1973.

Gary launched his career as a winemaker and as the “Pioneer” of Paso Robles Wine Region by helping to establish his family's Estrella River Winery & Vineyards. In the late 70’s, he decided to pursue his own project and acquired nearly 64 acres just down the road from Estrella River Winery. Shortly thereafter, Gary released his first Eberle wine, the 1979 Cabernet Sauvignon debuting the iconic boar logo, depicting the German origin of the name Eberle, meaning “small boar.”

By 1984 the Eberle Winery production facility and tasting room were open for business and in 1994 Gary expanded underground, building the first wine caves in Paso Robles. Now, over 30 years later, Gary Eberle still greets guests daily with complimentary wine tastings, public tours of the production facility and 16,000 square feet of underground caves. They also play host to a variety of delicious and entertaining events held at the winery throughout the year.



David Hejl, Former General Manager and CEO of Kosta Browne and Founder and Winemaker of DOMAINE DELLA is introducing a luxury Pinot Noir to the market. This wine label honors his family’s mother who died long before her time. DOMAINE DELLA’s mission is to craft intense and adventurous wines partnering with the very best growers to make a wine that inspires and creates special moments with those that matter and timeless memories. Extremely limited production from the finest sourced grapes in the Russian River and Sonoma Coast offered and first released commercially in 2014.

DOMAINE DELLA wines are released in the Spring and Fall over a three week period twice a year to active “list” members. Join the list