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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 |

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!

Pick-Up Party June 19th

Pick-Up Party at Four Brix Tasting Room in The WineYard will feature the newest member to our wine family, Roseo. Event will take place from 12-6 p.m. on June 19th and will include some barrel samples of our soon to be released 2009 vintage. If our Brix Heads are not able to make the Sunday event then we will have your shipment available to you for pick-up starting June 16th at The WineYard. Sign-up on our email list for more information.

What they are saying about Roseo. “A big strawberry nose meets great acidity and fruity flavors on the palate. It’s definitely a wonderful rose for food.”. Randy Fuller from Now and Zin

Simi Valley Cajun & Blues

Join the Ventura County Wine Trail at the Simi Valley Cajun & Blues Festival on May 28 and 29.  With two jam packed stages of entertainment, food, and crafts, this promises to be the best Music Festival of the Year.

Ventura County Wine Association will be on hand in the first time ever Wine Garden where participants can sample through various wines and talk with the wine makers.  Part of the Ventura County Winery Trail these wineries bring wine from most of the appelations throughout California and offer many varietals and blends to enjoy all weekend.

Speaking of entertainment, the two stages are going to be on fire.  Grammy Award Winning Buckwheat Zydeco will be on stage for the first time ever at the Festival, along with Elvin Bishop, Maria Muldaur, and a live broadcast of Ana Popovic on KJAZZ.

Four Brix Winery is very excited to be part of this festival again this year.  Coming off  the Palio di Ventura party we will have some new releases of wine to share with our fans.

Laissez les bons temps rouler!

Four Brix tasting at The Wine Closet – December 16th

Four Brix Winery will be pouring at The Wine Closet on Thursday, Dec. 16, 6-9pm.  We will pouring our wines based on the influences of our travels to the great wine regions around the world.  The Wine Closet, owned by Rob and Linda, will be hosting us at their establishment in Old Town Camarillo.  They have one of the best selections of wine in Ventura County, and Four Brix is proud to be on their list.

Wines to be Poured

Four Brix will be pouring Smitten, Temptress, Rhondezvous, Scosso and a special pouring of Petite Sirah.

Thursday, December 16, 6-9 p.m.

The Wine Closet
2423 Ventura Blvd.
Camarillo, CA 93010
(805) 746-5708

About The Wine Closet:
We’re very grateful to live on the Central Coast of California and although I’m a California native, Rob transplanted 10 years ago from Rhode Island in search of warmer surf and landed in Ventura. It wasn’t soon thereafter we began experiencing the benefits of living in an area where some of the best wines in the world are produced. Never did we believe our love of wine would lead us to give up a career in Corporate America and join forces in the search for great wine…not too different then the surfer forever searching for the perfect wave I think.

After many, many wines later, we launched this website – starting with just over a dozen California hand-crafted wines from small production, family-owned vineyards from up and down this beautiful coast. We’re now 150 labels strong with a few import wines added to our collection. Our goal is to find those special wines, gems as I like to call them, of the highest quality wines, each one hand-selected with care, and share them with you…our friends, family and fellow wine lovers. Our selection is small, but we’re always up for the challenge of finding special request wine for those who ask.  So drop us a line at and let us know what your favorite wine is.

Rob, Linda, Kona and Lily

California Wines and the Ventura Wine Trail

“Among the wine trails here in California you will find that each has something very unique.  All along the coast of California, travelers find communities that each exhibit their own charm and ambience.  Ventura is no exception.  In fact, Ventura has been cited as a stand alone experience that epitomizes the California of “days gone bye”, while providing amenities found in much larger city settings.  Ventura is just an hour’s drive from Los Angeles and Hollywood, located along the scenic southern-most part of California’s Central Coast. Year round daytime temperatures average 70 degrees F (21 degrees C) so it’s no wonder early Spanish settlers dubbed Ventura the “land of endless summers”.
Good news wine lovers.  Ventura County has its own wine trail.  Just a short trip from Los Angeles is a wonder place for wine lovers and family entertainment alike.  Learn more at: You just might be surprised at what awaits you there.”

Four Brix Harvest Party November 6th

It is time for our Four Brix Winery Harvest Release Party 2010!  Join us in celebrating the release of our Spanish Rioja-style blend called Temptress. Temptress is a blend of Tempranillo, Mourvedre and Grenache and will go perfectly with the Spanish menu of tapas and paella we have planned for the evening.

The event will be held on November 6th from 6-11 p.m. at the Westlake Yacht Club.  This is an ideal venue for our Harvest Party with a Spanish flair.  The setting is beautifully located on the shores of Westlake Lake, and will remind you of an evening on the Costa Del Sol.

Also being poured for the first time at this event will be our only single-varietal release of Petite Sirah, along with Smitten, our white Rhone-style blend.  Special pricing will be available for wine purchases that evening.

We are very happy to have Miguel Rivera playing Spanish Guitar for the evening.  Miguel has studied with various teachers from Spain, Guatemala, Brazil, US, and has many performing credits that include movie scores, radio performances, and a variety of venus that include the US , Cuba, and Latin America.  Miguel will perform with Flamenco Dancer, Rosalina Castillo, known as “Chali” has studied and performed in Spain, Chile, Mexico, and has numerous performances in a variety of venues.

We have special ticket pricing of $85 for our Brix Head Wine Club Members and $95 for non-members. Ticket price includes dinner and wine tasting all evening.

Please go to this link to purchase tickets and receive more information.

Looking forward to sharing some time with you.

Chin Chin,
Four Brix Winery
Noonan, Simonsgaard and Stewart Families

Four Brix Climbs Mt. Whitney for Charity

“Then there was a cheery trio of hikers — Laura Peters, 40, a saleswoman from Irvine; Doug Daily, 47, an engineer; and Jim Noonan, 43, owner of the Four Brix Winery in Simi Valley — who planned to spend the evening at a base camp at about 12,000 feet and head up to the summit Sunday morning.

Peters, a trim triathlete with long brown hair and aviator sunglasses, also wanted to include her adventure in an effort to raise funds for the Orangewood Children’s Foundation, a nonprofitorganization dedicated to eliminating child abuse and neglect in Orange County. “My goal is to raise …a dollar for every foot of the mountain’s height.””

2010 Harvest Release Party November 6th

It is time for our Four Brix Winery Harvest Release Party 2010!  Join us in celebrating the release of our Spanish Rioja-style blend called Temptress. Temptress is a blend of Tempranillo, Mourvedre and Grenache and will go perfectly with the Spanish menu of tapas and paella we have planned for the evening.

The event will be held on November 6th from 6-11 p.m. at the Westlake Yacht Club.  This is an ideal venue for our Harvest Party with a Spanish flair.  The setting is beautifully located on the shores of Westlake Lake, and will remind you of an evening on the Costa Del Sol.

Also being poured for the first time at this event will be our only single-varietal release of Petite Sirah, along with Smitten, our white Rhone-style blend.  Special pricing will be available for wine purchases that evening.

We have special ticket pricing of $85 for our Brix Head Wine Club Members and $95 for non-members. Ticket price includes dinner and wine tasting all evening.

Please go to this link to purchase tickets and receive more information.

Looking forward to sharing some time with you.

Chin Chin,
Four Brix Winery
Noonan, Simonsgaard and Stewart Families

Santa Barbara News-Press

Ventura County Wine Trail – Exploring grape country across the county line


October 3, 2010 9:39 AM

Editor’s note: This is the second in a two-part series exploring burgeoning area wine trails just in time for harvest.

Ventura County is renowned for its agricultural strength. Citrus fruit — lemons and Valencia oranges, mainly — thrive here, as do strawberries, raspberries, tomatoes, avocados and peppers. Agriculture here is palpable, with farms, fields and orchards visible from any of the highways that cut across this diverse county.

In recent years, though, another ag industry has thrived. At first, it was comprised mainly of individual ventures; singular efforts, but with a singular goal: to make and sell wine in Ventura County. A more concerted effort was launched earlier this year, and now the Ventura County Wine Trail is generating buzz. “The Trail’s been around, officially, for three years,” says Dottie Kelley, director of the Ventura County Wine Trail. “But, technically, the ball didn’t get moving until they created my position.”

Trail members hired Ms. Kelley in March, investing in a full-time post to spearhead marketing. The publicity approach, which is funded by yearly dues paid by each member, is two-pronged. First, the distribution of wine trail maps. A high-end, glossy map is handed out in tasting rooms, hotel lobbies and restaurants throughout the county; a second, fold-out map, showcasing tasting room locations with driving directions and lists of suggested restaurants and hotels, is featured at 665 tourism locations throughout the state.

Ms. Kelley’s other task is to produce wine-tasting events, where she pours the reds and whites of Trail members. Many take place in Los Angeles, a consumer mecca, to which the Trail is marketed as an easy day trip. “For people in L.A., our tasting rooms are something special in their own backyard,” Ms. Kelley tells the News-Press. The yearly dues also get members placement on the group’s official website

Diversity may be the Trail’s greatest attribute. It boasts 15 members, one of which is kosher, two of which produce certified organic wines, half of which farm their own vineyard and almost all of which have tasting rooms that are open to the public. And membership is expected to double in the next year. But in Ventura County, that largess in diversity also translates to a largess in distance. There’s no denying that the Trail’s biggest challenge is that members are widely spread out. The Trail covers more than 50 highway miles from the quaint town of Ojai to the beaches of Malibu. For consumers, that means this is a Trail best experienced in stages. “We do have these pockets along the way, like groups of tasting rooms in Malibu, Thousand Oaks, Camarillo, Oxnard and Ojai,” says Ms. Kelley. “Our next marketing efforts will focus more on highlighting those individual areas.”

The Malibu angle obviously gives the Trail a dash of sex appeal. Good wine can hardly hurt an image already oozing movie stars and secret beaches; in fact, serious wine is not new to the Malibu hills, whose vineyards were officially recognized with their own American Viticultural Area — Malibu Newton Canyon — in 1996. Four Malibu wine ventures are part of the Ventura County Wine Trail. “To umbrella them with us even if they’re technically in L.A. County gives them exposure,” explains Ms. Kelley. “People want to go to Malibu and they will travel to do wine tasting.”

Rosenthal – The Malibu Estate makes estate wines from estate vineyards located about a mile from the L.A.-Ventura County line, on the Malibu side of the hill. Their big reds — cabernet and merlot — consistently earn high marks. They also market a second label, Surfrider, with grapes sourced from Santa Barbara County and the Edna Valley in San Luis Obispo; proceeds benefit ocean cleanup efforts, including the Surfrider Foundation. Both wines are available for tasting at the Rosenthal tasting room, a marker of sorts that opened six years ago along an especially groovy stretch of Pacific Coast Highway. “Being on the Trail gets us working with other wineries in the area to get into some of the best tasting events in L.A.,” says director Neil McNally. “But it also lets us target people from throughout Ventura County and Santa Barbara.” Rosenthal offers two tasting flights: four wines for $12 or eight wines for $15; you get to keep the glass.

Nearby, Malibu Wines’ tasting room features its two proprietary labels, Semler and Saddlerock, and is located along Mulholland Highway. Four miles down the road is the tasting room of Cornell Winery, which sources its fruit from more than 50 vineyards in and around the Santa Monica Mountains. Sip Malibu, situated just off Kanan Road, features several upscale wines from the Cielo Malibu Estate; some of their popular reds retail for $100 to $175 a bottle.

Two stops along the trail bring you to Thousand Oaks. The few vineyards here tout heat during the day but cool ocean breezes driven inland at night from the shores of Malibu. Los Robles Hills Winery is a new venture; their certified organic vineyard was planted in 2005 to merlot, sangiovese and cabernet sauvignon, and their first release, two reds from the ’08 vintage, are on sale through their website, Los Robles Hills Winery does not currently have a tasting room; winery tours are by appointment.

Four Brix Winery has its tasting room inside The Wine Yard, a popular wine bar located next to the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza along East Thousand Oaks Blvd. The joint venture by three families — the Simonsgaards, the Stewarts and the Noonans — started pouring for the public in May. Four Brix sources grapes from throughout California and produces five wines, including a blend of Paso Robles-sourced zinfandel and Sonoma-sourced petite sirah dubbed Zeductive.

On the other end of the Conejo Grade, north along Highway 101, Camarillo Custom Crush Winery is where many wine dreams are born. The facility offers a comprehensive winemaking approach for many a winemaking enthusiast. “They help you acquire grapes, do crushing, bottling, labeling, they’ll even provide the winemaker, and they can ship wine for clients internationally,” says Ms. Kelley. “And they provide marketing through the tasting room, where their wines can get poured.” The tasting room on South Lewis Road is open to the public weekend afternoons.

At Cantara Cellars in Camarillo, owner and winemaker Mike Brown is happy with his spot on the Ventura County Wine Trail map. “We know from our Web traffic that we get 30 percent of our referrals through the Wine Trail website,” says Mr. Brown. “That tells me our name is getting some traction.” What’s more, Mr. Brown sees Ventura County as a viable wine stop for Southern Californians. “Not everyone has a whole day or weekend to allocate to wine tasting in Santa Ynez, so we are a nice day trip for those in county and people in Los Angeles, which is a prime market for us.” Mr. Brown is a sixth-generation Californian from Lodi, and that’s where he sources almost all of his grapes. His parents’ farm provides chardonnay. Business has grown steadily since the tasting room on Wood Road, near the Central Avenue exit off the 101, opened in 2007; 600 cases when they started will make way for 3,200 cases this year. A tasting of five wines (plus one or two barrel samples) costs $7.50. Frankenvine, an admittedly quirky proprietary blend of cabernet, petite sirah, zinfandel and old-vine zinfandel, is a hot seller at $36 a bottle.

Bella Victorian Vineyard in Camarillo sources its grapes from private vineyards in the city and runs a tasting room, bistro and retail boutique along East Ventura Blvd. One of the most active stops on the Trail is Oxnard. No doubt, Herzog Wine Cellars’ presence here is a key element to the Ventura wine industry’s visibility. Perhaps the most celebrated kosher wine producer in the world, the state-of-the-art winemaking facility along Camino del Sol also houses a lavish tasting room, an elegant boutique and Tierra Sur, considered one of the county’s most celebrated eateries. “We see people come in with the map in hand pretty often,” says Herzog’s marketing director, Monica Agyekum. “The map helps bring people who are looking for us because of the quality of the wines we make, not just because we are kosher.”

Rancho Ventavo Cellars has its commercial winery nearby, inside an industrial park. But their tasting room is on Oxnard’s Heritage Square, a picturesque city block where homes built near the turn of the 20th century were transferred in 1990 to be preserved. “Our tasting room is inside a 1902 home,” says owner and tasting room manager Faye Hawes. “We were wine lovers — winos, really — and home winemakers who turned a hobby into a passion.” The tasting room, which is adorned in a homey blend of hardwood floors, oak paneling and wood-burning fireplace, opened in June 2009 and it features red wines exclusively. “It’s all we drink,” admits Ms. Hawes, whose husband, George Gilpatrick, makes all the wine. “Visiting us can be a whole afternoon experience,” touts Ms. Hawes, who regularly refers clients to the popular Italian restaurant, La Dolce Vita, next door and the movie theater down the street.

Oxnard’s Magnavino Cellars, which produces 10 wines, opened up its tasting room along North Rice Avenue this summer.

The Trail ends in the picturesque Ojai Valley. Here, Old Creek Ranch Winery, founded in 1981, sources grapes from Santa Ynez to Napa and opens its winemaking facility on Old Creek Road off Highway 33 to the public daily. Bring a picnic. And idyllic downtown Ojai is home to two tasting rooms on the map.

Casa Barranca pours certified organic wines at its East Ojai Avenue location Wednesday through Sunday.  Much of its fruit is sourced from throughout the Central Coast, from Santa Ynez cabernet franc to Arroyo Grande pinot noir.

The biggest thing to hit the Ojai wine scene, though, may be the opening of The Ojai Vineyard’s tasting room on Montgomery Street. This venture has been making wine in the Ojai Valley since the 1980s under the auspices of celebrated winemaker Adam Tolmach, who co-founded Au Bon Climat with winemaking rock star Jim Clendenen. The Ojai Vineyard sources most of its grapes from some of Santa Barbara County’s most celebrated vineyards, like Presidio and Bien Nacido. It also has exclusive access to Ojai’s Roll Ranch, whose fruit Mr. Tolmach uses to make an intense syrah. The Ojai Vineyard’s tasting room opened in July. Simple and bright, it pours half a dozen high-scoring wines, including a viognier ice wine; these grapes are harvested and put into a commercial freezer in Oxnard for 10 days before they’re crushed and turned into a wine that, even while being 29 percent sugar, delivers bright flavors of flowers and honey. “The tasting room allows us to bring our wines to the public when we think they’re ready,” says assistant winemaker Fabien Castel. He appreciates the attention to Ojai that the Ventura County Wine Trail brings. But he admits that an Ojaiexclusive trail — marked with tasting rooms and eateries — may not be too far away. “It would build on the village aspect of our town,” says Mr. Castel, “while challenging the overall sprawl of Ventura County.”


1. Rosenthal — The Malibu Estate, 26023 Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu; 310-456-1392

2. Cornell Winery & Tasting Room, 29975 Mulholland Highway, Agoura; 818-735-3542

3. Sip Malibu and Cielo Winebar, 2598 Sierra Creek Road, Agoura; 818-865-0440

4. Malibu Wines, 31800 Mulholland Highway, Malibu;818-865-0605

5. Four Brix Winery, 1948 E. Thousand Oaks Blvd., Thousand Oaks; 230-2773

6. Los Robles Hills Winery, Thousand Oaks; or

7. Camarillo Custom Crush Winery, 300 S. Lewis Road, Suite C, Camarillo; 484-0597

8. Bella Victorian Vineyard, 2135 E. Ventura Blvd., Camarillo; 383-8800

9. Cantara Cellars, 126 Wood Road, Suite 104, Camarillo;484-9600

10. Herzog Wine Cellars, 3201 Camino del Sol, Oxnard;983-1560

11. Magnavino Cellars, 961 N. Rice Ave., Suite 5, Oxnard;

12. Rancho Ventavo Cellars, 741 S. A St., Oxnard; 483-8084

13. Old Creek Ranch Winery, 10024 Old Creek Road, Ventura; 649-4132

14. Casa Barranca, 208 E. Ojai Ave., Ojai; 640-1255

15. The Ojai Vineyard, 109 S. Montgomery St., Ojai; 649-1674