Excerpt from Keeping the Faith Blog
I was invited to the opening of a new winery. Not one to turn down an opportunity to enjoy a glass of wine, I happily agreed to go. I planned to drive to Santa Barbara, go to the opening, and spend the night. I had the weekend planned out and was excited. I booked a hotel room and was looking forward to a mini break in wine country.
A few days before the opening I received an email reminding me about the event and saying they looked forward to seeing me in Ventura. What? Ventura? I thought perhaps they wanted to meet me in Ventura and drive together, which would not work because I was using the opening as an excuse to have a little vacation.
That is when I looked closely at the invitation and realized the winery was actually in Ventura. I had no idea there were wineries in Ventura. I was unclear about anything in Ventura actually, and had to rethink my whole plan. Ventura is less than an hour away so my weekend in Santa Barbara became a day trip to Ventura with a stop at the local outlet mall.
I did a little research online and there is a thriving wine business in Ventura. It may not be as famous as Napa, or as sexy as Santa Barbara, but it is an amazing group of people making great wine and chasing their dreams. I was looking forward to the wine, but after a little reading on the business of winemaking, I was excited to meet the people.
It was an interesting afternoon. Not only did I try wine, but spent time with the owners of the wineries. I was treated to an afternoon of learning about wine and fantastic stories about the journey from grape to glass. I can appreciate the subtle nuances between different types of wine, but never really thought about the bigger picture until now.
I started by meeting with the owners of the Four Brix Winery. The word “brix” is the term used to measure how much sugar is in grapes. The owners picked the their four “sweet spots” for wine which are California, Italy, France, and Spain, then called their company “Four Brix”. They have a great story and I was listening like a kid at storytime.
This group of friends from Ventura went on wine tours through Europe and began making wine in their garages just for themselves. During their trips abroad they became more involved in the world of wine and decided to make a go of it and start their own winery. I tried a few of their wines and my favorite was one called “Scosso”.
I would eat Scosso popsicles it was so good. It is a blend of Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot. It tastes fruity and soft and would pair perfectly with an Italian meal. When I knew the story of the wine, and that it took over three years to get from vineyard to glass and more than 20 people were part of the process, it tasted better.
To sit with the wine makers amongst the barrels of wine is very cool. The barrels themselves are beautiful works of art. They’re held together by metal brackets and have no nails, which I never knew. The work it took just to carve them is amazing and to learn how they vary by region and tree is fascinating. I was hanging on every word.
After an amazing time with the owners of Four Brix, I walked next door to their newest venture, Blendz. The best way to compare these two wineries is to say Four Brix is a handsome and sophisticated gentleman, while Blendz is a sexy, bad boy, rock star. They have partnered to start a new label and nothing about the Blendz winery is ordinary.
Ilana Angel writes two blogs for JewishJournal.com. KEEPING THE FAITH is about her worldview as a single Jewish mother, and KEEPING IT REAL is all about reality television…. Read more