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ATE * Drank * SAW

VC EatsVC Star

BY Lisa McKinnon | February 1, 2018

Photo/Lisa McKinnon – VC Star

Ventura County has more than a dozen wineries. But vineyards? Not so much. Exceptions include Cani Amante, located in the Upper Ojai and named for the loose translation of “dog lovers” in Italian. (The name isn’t an accident: Owner Ed Guerra got a paw-print tattoo on his left wrist, placed a giant metal sculpture of a dog in the vineyard, and donates proceeds from wine-grape sales to Ventura County Animal Services.) Stretching over more than 4 acres of hilly terrain, Cani Amante serves as the estate vineyard for Four Brix Winery in Ventura. The partnership first came to fruition with the 2014 release of a 2013 riesling. (For The Star’s story about that wine, click HERE.)

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The Dogged Pursuit of Wine

Edible Ojai & Ventura


“Wine makes daily living easier, less hurried, with fewer tensions and more tolerance,” according to Benjamin Franklin. You could say the same about dogs. Better yet, add “pets” and it’s quite possible you’ve got yourself the perfect pairing.

With good wines and beloved pets in mind, Four Brix Winery in Ventura and Cani Amante Vineyard in Ojai have partnered to benefit Ventura County’s best friends in need. A portion of the proceeds from each bottle of wine made with grapes from Cani Amante and sold by Four Brix supports the Ventura County Animal Services no-kill animal shelter in Camarillo via its nonprofit arm.

Cani Amante loosely translates to “dog lovers” in Italian. The vineyard’s owners, Debbie and Ed Guerra, have been longtime supporters of rescue programs for animals, especially dogs.

“We specifically use the funds from Four Brix for the Fly Me Home program, where we pay for animals to fly across the country, which takes animals from our shelter and places them into other communities where they’re quickly adopted,” says Tara Diller, director of Ventura County Animal Services.

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TravelSavvy visits Ventura County West

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Cheers to Ventura County West

Featuring Karen Stewart, Four Brix Winery & David Whittemore, Herzog Wine Cellars

Behind the wine world’s “big three”-France, Italy, and Spain-the next major producer of the world’s vino is sunny California.  Ever since Father Juipero Serra planted vines in mission gardens from San Diego to Sonoma in the late 1700’s, the region’s year-round temperate climate and abundant sunshine, along with the rich and varied soil, has propelled the creation of a whopping 4,200 wineries.  They produce more than 709 billion gallons of red, white, sparkling varieties in 2014.  In Venutra County West, wine lovers will be delighted to learn there are a handful of boutique wineries and wine-tasting rooms operated by locals.  The beautiful weather not only produces amazing grapes, but the area is ripe for enjoying the California sunshine, where you can bike, hike, swim, kayak, and surf.  In short, it’s the best of all possible worlds.

We connected with Karen Stewart from Four Brix and David Whittemore of Herzog Cellars and talked about beaches, picnics, and the simple beauty of a perfect cup of coffee.

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Rockin Red Blog



Although there are only a handful of wineries in Ventura County, California they are producing some seriously high quality wines. One such winery is Four Brix Winery, a collaboration of six longtime friends and passionate wine lovers. Karen Stewart, whose husband Gary Stewart is the wine maker, opened the Brix House tasting room for me one Tuesday afternoon to share the Four Brix wine portfolio with me. I will tell you upfront the wines were excellent! As you know the term “brix” measures how much sugar is contained in grapes. To play on this wine making word Four Brix winery is named after their four flagship wines representing different wine growing regions: Rhondezvous for France, Tempress for Spain, Zeductive for California and Scosso for Italy. Each of the European wine regions holds a special place in the hearts of the owners through their travel adventures. As you will notice from the pictures their labels are as unique and expressive as their wines. So let’s get to tasting….

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Wine Tasting in Ventura. Who Knew?

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.

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Ilana Angel writes two blogs for KEEPING THE FAITH is about her worldview as a single Jewish mother, and KEEPING IT REAL is all about reality television…. Read more

Four Brix Winery Blog

Harvest 2013

November 15th – Four Brix Harvest 2013 concludes with a time lapse video showing our last grape press of the year with Cabernet Sauvignon from Paso Robles AVA.

October 18th – Four Brix Harvest 2013 continues with a visit to Gold Hawk Vineyard in Russian River Valley Sonoma AVA.

September 5th – Four Brix Harvest 2013 continues with a visit to Terravant in Buellton for a Wine Press of Viognier.

August 25th – Four Brix kicks off Harvest 2013 with a special pick at Cani Amante Vineyards in Ojai.  Gary talks about this project, extreme wine making, and takes a ride on a tractor.

Ventura Music Week

DR_VMWAre you ready to get DIRTY? Well here is your chance to see the hottest Band in the 805 – DIRTY RICE!

Four Brix Winery and Dirty Rice are joining together for a special night of Music & Wine during Ventura Music Week. Thursday, June 13th is the designated night for the OffMarket Street neighborhood of Ventura. Along with Surf Brewery and The Cave at Ventura Wine Company, Four Brix Winery is hosting a special concert this evening.

Do you need to know more about Dirty Rice? They are a 7-piece reggae band based in South Oxnard, California. The soulful sound of Dirty Rice is a mix of roots, rock, and hints of reggae combined with never-ending drum grooves, acoustic guitar, wholesome keys, soothing vocal harmonies and rocking bass riffs. Accompanying them will be high-quality audio equipment to make it an enjoyable experience. If you are a musician and are in need of good audio equipment, you can redirect to Graham Slee HiFi online to see what they have there for you. Those looking to enjoy the music of Dirty Rice and their other favorite artists will likely also find that the best listening experiences are had on top-end audio equipment. You could set up your soundstage at home with something like the Majority Snowdon ii Soundbar and pair it to your TV or other multimedia device. This will completely overhaul whatever sound capabilities the device already has in favor of a truly capable speaker that can provide the detail and volume that audiophiles are looking for. Music, podcasts, tv shows, and movies will never sound the same again.

This special Concert in the Cellar event will be standing room only. The doors will open at 6 pm with the Band starting the Island Groove at 7 pm.

Concert in the Cellar with DIRTY RICE $15
Thursday, June 13th. Doors open at 6pm

Event Sold Out!
Phone (805) 256-6006 or email us.

Four Brix in Ventura | NBC Los Angeles

Four Brix in Ventura | NBC Los Angeles.

THE TRUTH: Where does the Santa Ynez-Santa Barbara-Lompoc-Los Olivos wine country region start for you? Around Buellton? Summerland? Thousand Oaks? It’s an area rich in grapes and growers, so putting a definitive sign or marker saying you’ve reached a starting point doesn’t seem necessary. Still we were taken a bit aback when we learned that Four Brix is set to open what is being billed as Ventura’s “only full-fledged winery.” That’s the city of Ventura. Of course, there are other wine-rich businesses and shops in the area, so call Four Brix’s new digs an excellent complement to an excellent area. Plus, they’re an urban winery, and as long as we live to love wine we’ll still be a little bewitched by the concept.

THE DETAILS: Opening weekend is Saturday, Sept. 17 and Sunday, Sept. 18; all sorts of festive things’ll be going down (and yep, a lot of festiveness will arrive via glasses). Tastings are ten dollars. One last add: Four Brix is part of the Ventura County Wine Trail. Honest, we can’t decide if we like the term “urban winery” or “wine trail” better.

4th Annual Ventura County Wine Trail Celebration – June 23rd

Join Four Brix Winery for the 4th Annual Ventura County Wine Trail Celebration!
This event showcases the best local wineries and is the starting point for the central coast wine region; as well as fine restaurants, local attractions, visitors bureaus and tours.
The festivities will include tastings of great artisan wines, delectable appetizers, live music and fun for all. The celebration will be held at the historic Heritage Square in downtown Oxnard, CA from 5:30 to 8:00 pm, June 23rd, 2011. Tickets for the event are available online for $35. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to the Ventura County FOOD SHARE, a food bank that houses and distributes millions of pounds of food every year to the hungry of Ventura County. This event is open to the public – ages 21 and up. Don’t miss this opportunity to enjoy the finest wines of Ventura County!
Click here to order tickets!

TOI Tapas Bar Wine Maker Dinner May 14th




Join Four Brix Winery for a Wine Maker Dinner hosted by  TOI Tapas & Wine Bar. Chef-prepared menu to pair perfectly with a selection of Four Brix Wine will make for a nice evening on May 14th. TOI Tapas Bar and lounge in Thousand Oaks, California brings a new and exciting option to diners in the Ventura area. They specialize in wood fired gourmet pizza, world cuisine tapas and an inventive local ingredient driven menu. Partnering with local produce growers and producers of cheese, wine and coffee. The menu is an exercise in pure authentic regional cuisines from South America to Polynesia and everything in between. Simplicity is the key to showcasing the natural beauty of the ingredients they use.

Please contact TOI Tapas Bar for reservation as seating will be limited.
75 W Thousand Oaks Blvd
Thousand Oaks, CA 91360

(805) 373.8785 phone
(805) 373.8785 fax