It has always fascinated me that we take road trips to places like Santa Ynez, Paso Robles, Napa, etc to taste wine yet we never look in our own backyard. Recently, thanks to two of my best friends, I was introduced to a local winery that is a stones throw away from my house. They are located on Sierra Hwy just north of Sand Canyon Rd. Driving up Sierra Hwy it is beautiful seeing the vineyards on the hills of Agua Dulce. Entering the parking lot, you will enter an era of past years seeing an old carriage in front of their wine production facility as well as a barrel in front of the tasting room that brings back memories of the I Love Lucy Show. In one episode, Lucy was on vacation in Italy where she meets a bellhop who directs her to go to Turo where old school wine practices are still used. One of these processes was to crush the grapes in a barrel by stomping them bare foot. Of course, typical Lucy, she ended up getting heavily stained from the grapes. The crushing barrel at Agua Dulce Vineyard pays tribute to Lucy as does their annual event, Stompfest.
This event has grape crushing, horseshoe games, dancing, traditional food and of course wine. Many of the woman at the event even dress like Lucy displaying the bright red lipstick that was her trademark. For those of us approaching retirement we grew up with Lucy and seeing the barrel marked "Our Salute to Lucy" brought back a lot of fond memories.
Stepping into the tasting room we were greeted by a very cheerful person, Sue Ann Gabriel. The tasting room and bar is very spacious with the decor in wood and several gift items, cookbooks, etc to browse through and purchase. Sue Ann introduced me to Steve Wizan, General Manager, who provided us with more details of the Agua Dulce Winery. He also offered my friend a 2003 Merlot from their Library wines. I was honored to to get a try this wine with my friend and was it ever fantastic. Twelve years in the bottle and was aging wonderfully, still holding the magnificent fruits that one expects from a varietal such as Merlot.
2008 & 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon
NV Robusto Rojo
NV Sierra Roja
2006 Syrah Port