My History in the Vines

Vineyard and Oak from the Central Coast AVAs
Vineyard and Oak from the Central Coast AVAs

It’s no secret to those that know me that wine is and has always been a big part of my life. From the time I was little, I can remember counting the bottles (and losing count) of the bottles in my parents wine cellar. They would make a few treks to Europe every year and restock the cellar at our home in Santa Maria. One of the first vacations I can remember was a trip to Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and Italy. I can still remember riding on the barge on the the Rhine river and visiting the intersection of the Rhine and the Moselle. Even at the early age of eight, I can remember how steep the hillsides along the rivers were. I tried to imagine how hard it must have been to tend to the vines.

In my later high school years, I took classes at Hancock College in Santa Maria to study viticulture and enology. A close friend of mine, Matt – who now works up in Napa managing vineyards – had a greenhouse in his backyard and we would endlessly argue the merits of the various canopy systems in vineyards and the best practices for maximizing fruit production. Around the age of 17 or 18, we started visiting the wineries, tasting rooms, and caves on the Central Coast of California. I can recall visiting the tasting room at Sanford Winery when it was owned by Richard and consisted of only a tiny shack in the Sta Rita Hills AVA. Tastings were free, you were allowed to keep the glass as a gift, and the sign outside the tasting room reminded visitors “Please don’t feed the fat dog.” I continued to learn about winemaking and vineyard management throughout my time at Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo during my studies in Graphic Communications; not as a career path, just for fun.

Fast forward 20 years and here I find myself in beautiful Santa Barbara and in the middle of one of the hottest wine producing areas on the planet today. The Central Coast of California is absolutely bursting with grapes, vineyards, and wineries. I love driving from Santa Barbara to Paso Robles and seeing vineyard after vineyard where there was only dry grass decades ago.

It’s so thrilling for me because it presents me with an opportunity to marry my love of marketing, technology, and design with my love of wine and viticulture! I’ve enjoyed working with the Urban Wine Trail in Santa Barbara since 2012 producing the Tasting Room Map/Brochure, the Passport and promotional materials for Passport Weekend, and the Urban Wine Trail website.

We recently designed and launched CarrWinery.com  (built on Vin65 and WordPress) for Carr Vineyards and Winery here in Santa Barbara and Santa Ynez. They’ve always been one of our favorite Santa Barbara Wineries. Take a browse and stop in to say “hi!” I know they’ll be glad to share their story with you.