We are thankful for so many things it’s hard to narrow down the list. Here are the top 10 things we’re thankful for this season:
Santa Maria Valley is known throughout the wine community as one of the top AVAs for premium Chardonnay. Whether you prefer Chardonnay aged in oak or stainless steel, you can find a Chardonnay that’s right for you. Our goal is to prove that during The Chardonnay Symposium, slated for July 2010. Follow our blog for the latest developments.
2.) PINOT NOIR
We can’t get enough of the balanced Pinots from the SMV. There are a variety of styles throughout the area but one quality is found throughout Santa Maria Valley Pinot Noirs; they are food friendly. For many wine drinkers, wine is a part of daily life and enjoyed with dinner. It’s for this very reason that we are so proud of our food friendly wines. Occasionally you’ll find a wine that should be enjoyed on its own but most of our Pinots are extremely complimentary of a variety of foods, especially Thanksgiving Turkey. Need more ideas for Thanksgiving food and wine pairings? Check out this post by food and wine expert Laura Mohseni.
Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Syrah may be the most popular varietals in Santa Maria but our winemakers love to experiment with many different varietals. Take Ken Volk, for example. It has been said that he works with as many as 60 different varietals. At any given time he can be selling wines made with 2 dozen different grapes. If you’re a big fan of obscure wines visit his tasting room and try wines such as the Cabernet Pfeffer.
The Santa Maria Valley Wine Country is growing. We’re so happy to welcome CORE wine company’s new tasting room to the wine trail. Stay tuned throughout the year for news about Presqu’ile Winery off of Clark Ave (not yet open to the public). They have big plans for their future label and we can’t wait to try their wine. We’re also excited that Wine Country, the popular wine, beer and cigar tasting room from Los Olivos will be moving to Orcutt. Check this blog throughout the next year for news about all of the new wineries and tasting rooms in Santa Maria.
5.) HOLIDAY DISCOUNTS
The best discount of the season is probably the Wine Christmas Passport. Not only do you save up to 70% off of wine tasting fees but we’re giving away raffle tickets for every 2 bottles of wine that you purchase for the holidays (or for your wine cellar).
Another quick and affordable way to buy holiday gifts is to purchase a case of wine (and reap the reward of the case discounts offered by most wineries). Some wineries go beyond the average 10% discount and make a case discount impossible to pass up. Stop by Cottonwood Canyon on Black Friday and save 50% on case purchases of 2003 Bistro Zinfandel and Non-Vintage Bistro Chardonnay!
One of the best reasons to live in Santa Maria, besides the great wine, is the community. Santa Marians support each other like one giant family. We are thankful for all of the support we have received from both businesses and individuals throughout the valley. In order to give back to our community, we have decided to give a portion of proceeds from our events (Wine Christmas Passport, The Chardonnay Symposium) to the Marian Foundation and the Blochman Union School District (the wine country’s school district).
7.) LOCATION LOCATION LOCATION
The Santa Maria Valley is only one of two East-West transverse valley on the whole west coast of North and South America, making it one of the most unique AVAs in the world. The transverse orientation accentuates cooling maritime influences from the Pacific Ocean, creating an average temperature of 64 degrees, with high temperatures rarely reaching above 75. Because the Valley is situated at its particular southerly latitude, an extended growing season (125 days on average) allows Santa Maria Valley to produce intensely high quality fruit.
Nearly every weekend there are a variety of winery events to attend. There are Friday Night Wine Downs at Costa de Oro and Cottonwood Canyon, special food and wine pairings at Riverbench, art shows at McKeon-Phillips, “Bring your own burger” nights at CORE wine company, farmer’s markets at Cambria and much, much more. For a complete list of events in the wine country visit the SMVWINES calendar.
9.) FRESH, LOCAL PRODUCE
There are numerous ways to pick up fresh produce for the holidays (or for any meal). There is a Farmer’s Market at Town Center West across from the Santa Maria Town Center Mall (Broadway near Main Street) on Wednesdays from 12:30-4:30pm and in Orcutt on Bradley and Clark on Tuesdays from 10am-1pm.
Did you know? Santa Maria produces 10 million boxes of strawberries annually, which are transported to supermarkets all across the United States.
For juicy Santa Maria strawberries check out Darren’s Berries on the corner of Stowell and Highway 101’s northbound exit. You can buy them by the flat or half-flat. Don’t wash them until you’re ready to eat them and keep them spread out in an airtight container. That way they’ll last at least a week (or more)–IF you can refrain from eating them all in two days. Better yet, make strawberry jam for the winter months!
10.) SOCIAL MEDIA
Social media has allowed us to reach out to fans of SMV wines throughout the world. We love hearing from you and sharing what we’re learned with you. There are so many ways to be involved with wine online. We’re planning on starting monthly online wine tastings in 2010 (stay tuned) as a way to share our wines with those across the globe. You can also keep in touch with us through Facebook, Twitter, You Tube, Flickr, Snooth, Open Wine Consortium, and many more wine websites. Just search each site for SMVWINES or click on the links above.