Greetings –

We wrapped up the 2017 harvest just in time for Thanksgiving and we’re bottling wines from the 2016 vintage today just in time to open some bottles for the New Year.  All good reasons for celebrating the holidays as we put to bed a season of hard work so that we can focus now on Friends and Family!

The 2017 vintage is showing great promise.  In spite of the Whittier Fire in July, we had ideal weather conditions this past year – rain, cool weather, and well-timed heat spikes – pushing varietals to optimum ripeness.

As you know, we are dedicated to Santa Barbara County AVAs.  We’re very much in touch with the nuances of the various microclimates across this region.  I  carefully choose the vineyards from which I source my fruit based on the highest quality and  varietal expression.

We are now working with Fiddlestix Vineyard and John Sebastiano in the Santa Rita Hills AVA; Goodchild, Gold Coast and Bien Nacido vineyards in the Santa Maria Valley AVA;  Vogelzang, Dierberg, and Grimm’s Bluff vineyards in Happy Canyon of Santa Barbara AVA; Area 51, Bella Cavalli, and Gunter Vernon vineyards in the Santa Ynez Valley AVA; and White Hawk Vineyard in the Los Alamos area of Santa Barbara County.

I’m leaving for the winery shortly to bottle some of those wines from last year’s harvest, including the 2016 “Les Jumeaux” Pinot Noir and the 2016 White Hawk Syrah, our only single vineyard designate.  We’re also introducing “Cuvée Rouge 246,” a Rhône-inspired blend of Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre.  We’re tagging the wine “246” in honor of Highway 246 that runs the course of the Santa Ynez Valley from west to east.  We’ll be debuting a white Rhône-style blend, “Cuvée Blanc 246,” in the spring along with “J’aime” Rosé, also Rhône inspired.

There’s always something going on at the winery.  We’re keeping busy.  Thanks goes to my assistant winemaker, Trevor Bethke.  He does a great job!  My kids did a pretty fine job assisting us during harvest this year.  They’re finally coming of age when I can actually put them to work.  I mean — they’re actually being productive.  Big cheers to Theresa-Noelle, Charlotte, and Buddy.

We should be re-opening the tasting room in the Spring, a project headed by Jamie.  But don’t stand on ceremony.  If you’re planning to be in the Santa Ynez Valley before then, let me know when and I’ll gladly meet you at the winery.

With the Santa Ana winds blowing dry and fanning the Thomas Fire flames through Ventura and Santa Barbara counties right now, it’s hard to imagine a rainy winter, but one can hope.  Rain in the Valley typically means snow in the mountains and it’s time to teach the kids to ski as reward for jobs well-done.

Enjoy the happiest of holidays!

*  Our heartfelt thanks to the fire crews that kept the flames from our homes, our wineries and our vineyards this past July – and our appreciation continues as they fight the Thomas Fire now blazing in the Central Coast.

Etienne Terlinden

Author Etienne Terlinden

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