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Cani Amante Vineyard


Cani, (Italian-pronounced Con e) Amante grew out of a love of the land, family, and of course wine. The owners, Debbie and Ed Guerra, took one look at the 38 acre parcel in 2005 and fell in love. The views were stunning looking up from the flat 4-5 acres which would naturally become the vineyard. One side, the striking Topa Topa Mountains, the other, the hills of Nordoff Peak on the edge of Los Padres National Forest; another, Ventura in the far distance with a sliver of Lake Casitas, and the crowning jewel, a knoll on the property which captures the infamous Ojai Pink Moment every waning afternoon. The Pratt Trail runs along the entire length of the vineyard so a walk down from Nordoff Peak drops you right into the middle of this majesty of nature. In the Spring you may even hear a seasonal spring racing below you as you walk alongside the rows of vines.

Records showed this property had never been farmed and the land proved this true. So began the clearing process. With the love of wine in mind, no fear of big projects, and a confirmation from soil testing that this land was waiting for grapes, the rock removal began. The task at hand began in early 2009; clearing 5 feet of rock above and beneath the ground. Debbie’s father, eager to buy the backhoe and tractor he wished he had as a kid growing up on a farm, made a seemingly impossible task only somewhat impossible. Then Debbie’s Uncle Stan, who grew up on that same farm, didn’t let the 80 years behind him slow him down. He volunteered his tractor skills. Ed and Stan went to work pulling boulder after boulder out of the earth, some the size of a small car. By late summer, it was Debbie’s turn on the backhoe. From 8am-5pm every day, Uncle Stan was ready. She couldn’t wait to get on the tractor and what seemed like an insurmountable task now was a pleasure to share each day with her uncle and father. The feeling of pride as they all looked over the acres of flat, beautifully groomed dirt after a year of hard work is a moment they’ll never forget. Ed and Debbie will always be grateful that their land was prepared with such love; the perfect bed for planting.


After speaking with numerous people throughout the valley, one name always came up as the man to manage the vineyard. Martin Ramirez, owner of Vineyards of Ojai, was the premier vintner’s choice for farming wine grapes in the Ojai Valley.


After meeting Martin, they knew he was a perfect fit and in April 2010 the first vines were planted. Cani Amante grows Riesling for a dry white, Cabernet, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, and Petit Verdot for a Bordeaux type blend and then the majority of the vineyard is a few select Italian red varietals; Montepulciano, Sangiovese, Nebbiolo and Barbara. The first day of planting was a mix of Martin’s highly skilled crew, friends and family that came to help, the owners, and of course their dog Sara. After 12 years together, Sara could now add “vineyard dog” to her long list of accomplishments. She was right alongside the entire process, sometimes riding with Dad on the tractor, sometimes helping Uncle Stan eat his lunch, and during planting, right there sniffing the vines to make sure they were up to her owner’s high standards.


Sara is now watching over Cani Amante and was the inspiration behind the name; “dog lovers,” a loose translation from Italian. Her 16 years of love and devotion made an indelible mark on their lives. Joy and love are two emotions that dogs bring to our lives and are such a guiding force for living life. Cani Amante hopes to be able to help other dogs live as blissful a life as Sara and to share such joy with families throughout Ventura County by donating some of the profits from sales of Cani Amante Vineyard wines towards various dog advocacies in the area.


This is one of the many reasons Cani chose to partner with Four Brix Winery. Not only did they share the owner’s love of animals, but their skill and enthusiasm for the young vineyard made the decision easy. We shared the same vision. The years ahead will be filled with “extreme harvests” (Gary’s term, one of the owners of Four Brix, for having to backhoe the grape bins out of the vineyard), farm to table wine-member parties in the vineyard, jeep tours, and dog fundraising events.

The Guerra’s look forward to sharing these events with family, friends, and other wine enthusiasts that appreciate the land, the love of family and friends, and hopefully dogs; because dogs are always welcomed and encouraged to run to their heart’s content at Cani Amante Vineyards.

Many thanks,
Debbie & Ed Guerra- owners, Cani Amante Vineyard

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.

Read the complete article.


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

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 Winery hits the “sweet” spots of great wine in Ventura, CA

 Orange County Restaurant Examiner November 27, 2011 – Like this? Subscribe to get instant updates.
Grapes in the fermentation process.
 It all started back in 2004 when 3 families (The Simonsgaards, Stewarts, and Noonans) were making home and hobby wines with their friends and family. Eventually, they decided to share their winemaking experience with others and formed Four Brix Winery, named for their four favorite “sweet” spots for growing grapes – France, Spain, Italy, and California. Gary and Karen Stewart were on hand during our visit to Four Brix Winery. Gary knows a lot about wine, winemaking, and the history of wine. It’s really amazing how much he knows and you can taste the enthusiasm in the wine he makes. Since our visit was during the fermentation process, we were allowed to “punch down” the grapes in the fermentation vats and smell the fermentation in full swing. The aroma is wonderful!

Let’s take a look at the blends that Four Brix Winery offers:

Smitten 2010 is light gold in color and is a perfect blend of Viognier and Marsanne. Crisp and light in the mouth, the floral aroma has hints of peaches from Viogner. The finish has the essence of green apple and slight mineral taste from Marsanne.

Roseo 2010 is a blend of Grenache and Zinfandel. It has a bright raspberry color, intense fruit flavors of strawberry and watermelon, yet is made in the French Provence style, completely dry, well-structured and balanced with a lingering finish. This is a great sipping wine. Thumbs up, way up!

Temptress 2008 is a blend of Tempranillo, Mourvedre, Grenache, Petite Sirah, and Zinfandel. It begins with a light earthiness and then moves into mocha with a hint of strawberry. The tannins from the Tempranillo are soft and emerge into cocoa with some dark cherry, tobacco leaves, and a bit of raspberry. The after taste is bold; reminiscent of fresh baked bread in a warm hearth.

Scosso 2009 is a blend of Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot. It has a ruby color with a bouquet that opens up more and more as you indulge. It drinks well now and has enough tannins to age for years. There is richness on the front end and the viscosity evokes a feeling of heavy creaminess like cream soda without the carbonation. The finish has a touch of blackberries and will last all night. This has a very smooth yet spicy end. This is great for sipping paired with some good cheese. Thumbs up, way up!

Rhondezvous 2009 is a blend of Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre, and Counoise. It has a medium-ruby color. The nose is a combination of black cherries and tobacco. The full-bodied depth is rich in black cherries and vanilla with hints of raspberries and nutmeg. There are solid tannins to carry it through more aging, if you can wait. I found it to be bold and spicy with a strong aroma.

Plan for a full day or weekend up in Ventura and make Four Brix Winery one of your stops. It is part of the Ventura County Wine Trail. There are also shopping options like the Camarillo Premium Outlets and attractions like Ronald Reagan Library to keep you busy.


Savings Tip:

  • Become a Brix Head! Free membership with 2-shipment minimum, Choice of 4 or 6 bottles in each shipment (twice annually), 15% discount on all wine and merchandise all the time, 20% discount on case purchases (including mixed cases), Complimentary tasting of one flight for yourself and up to 4 guests, Invitations to Brix Head-only events, and Pick-up Parties for members to pick up their shipments. See the Brix Head page for more details:


For more information:

Four Brix Winery
2290 Eastman Ave Ste 109
Ventura, CA 93003-7796
Continue reading on Four Brix Winery hits the “sweet” spots of great wine in Ventura, CA – Anaheim restaurant |

2009 is in the Brix House

With our first vintage in 2008 we thought there was an over-concentration of Zinfandel in California, being the official grape of the State.  So we made little of our Zinfandel-led California field blend we call Zeductive®.  We found out quickly that the grape, Californian’s like to call their own, is still very much in demand.  We sold out of Zeductive® in a very short time and have had numerous inquiries as to when we would be releasing the 2009 vintage.  We are happy to say that Zeductive® is now in the Brix House!

Our version of the old California field blend is made from Zinfandel sourced from a famous West Side Paso Robles Vineyard and paired with our special Russian River Petite Sirah from Sonoma.  This truly is a California field blend bringing wines from two regions, one from Central California, and the other from the northern part of the state.

Zeductive® will take the place of Roséo® in our tasting room line up.  Roséo® has left the Brix House and will be back next spring just in time for your Summer BBQ.

We also now have our Grenache-led 2009 Rhondezvous® and Sangiovese-led 2009 Scosso® joining the line up.  Four Brix is very excited to share the entire 2009 collection.

How many Brix? Four Brix, of Course!

Hoot ‘n Annie visit Four Brix

On our way to Newport Beach recently, we stopped in Ventura to see Hoot’s Twitter buddy Gary Stewart of Four Brix Winery. This was our first time meeting him in real life, along with his wife Karen. We were fortunate to get a tour of their new tasting room and winery facility, which opened just one weekend before we arrived. The location is actually pretty awesome, it’s an industrial area but we have to say, they have done an outstanding job with the tasting room…it’s actually a place we would love to hang out and enjoy a glass or two if we lived closer.

Of course, we had to taste the wines…right?? Well, we did taste them, and we were quite happy about it! It was great hearing Gary talk about each wine, where the grapes were from, and how they were made as we tasted through.

A side note here, from Hoot: I am constantly amazed at the power of social media. So many people disregard it, and even talk negatively about it…but I have met so many amazing people via Twitter and Facebook. Some of those people I have ended up meeting in person, like Gary of Four Brix, and others I have not met in person yet; but you know what…these people have added to my life! I have learned from them, I have gained friendships, and I wouldn’t trade any of that for anything else. Be sure to follow Four Brix on Twitter and Facebook!

And a side note from Annie: We found Four Brix by following our GPS, Madge (Magellan) through an industrial area of Ventura and wound up at this awesome place tucked back in the other warehouses. It’s just one of those places that draws you in when you walk through the door! Then, as we spent a few minutes talking to Gary and hearing the story of how he, his wife and two other couples started the winery after their travels together. They’ve spent time all over the place, seeking out great wine; in France, Spain, Italy, and of course, California! They call these the four sweet spots, hence the name “Four Brix”, brix being about the sugar content in the grapes. It was awesome to meet people that are passionate about wine, and the fact that they source a lot of their fruit from little old Paso Robles put them even closer to our hearts! Cheers, guys! You’re doing an incredible job!


Harvest 2011

Four Brix Winery, part of the Ventura County Winery Association, celebrates Harvest at its urban winery and tasting room.

Ventura County wine lovers have an excuse to sip and celebrate harvest at Ventura’s only full-fledged winery and tasting room. Harvest is in full gear at the winery and you can enjoy some wine will watching the crew work in the back on the coming 2011 vintage.

Four Brix Winery & Tasting Room
2290 Eastman Ave. #109, Ventura, CA 93003
Open to the public; Wine Tastings $10

Local art displayed throughout Grand Opening weekend. Light hors d’oeuvres, cheese plates, and charcuterie available for purchase. No reservations required. More information email us.

Four Brix Winery
Noonan, Simonsgaard, and Stewart Family’s