As the harvest was in full swing, I was lucky enough to find myself just north of Los Angeles, in Ventura, for some sustainability advisory work with a leading company.
On Saturday September 17th I had kept a day free and had been frantically emailing all the sustainably-minded winemakers I could, in order to try and secure a few visits and to record some interviews for this blog.
A few replied, and so I hired a car and drove north on Saturday morning. It was going to be a long and intriguing day. I knew virtually nothing about Central Coast wines, and had had little time to prepare. You'll hear that in my slightly bumbling interview below.
I was also about to taste some superb wines, and receive some typical Californian hospitality.
There are two other posts in this series, both more focused on Pinot Noir, a little further south.
My first stop was at Qupé, well known for making some very good central coast of California wine. In particularly Syrah and other Rhone varietals. But not only those.
Bob Lindquist and his charming colleagues treated me to lunch in the winery, whilst they took a brief break from bringing in the Grenache harvest and crushing and pressing the grapes for fermentation.
A fair bit has been written about Qupé.Here's how Berry Brothers & Rudd describes their work:
"Bob Lindquist turned a one time hobby into a full-time job when armed with a small bank loan he established Qupe Vineyards at Santa Maria in Santa Barbara Country. Today he produces 20,000 cases a year with all the wines being made at the same winery as those of Au Bon Climat.
He produces 3 different bottlings of Syrah - Central Coast, Los Olivos (blended with 40% Mourvedre) and Bien Nacido. Lindquist specialises in Rhone-style wines but aslo produces superb Chardonnay. The Bien Nacido Cuvee is a deliciously rich and aromatic blend of two-thirds Chardonnay and one-third Viognier." More on Qupé here.
After a very Tuscan/Toulouse style lunch in the winey (photo below) Bob and I stopped off in his office to record a podcast on where we where, the wines he makes, and how he views sustainable wine making practices in California.
Rather than repeat the history of Qupé, you can read about it in their own words here.
You can check out the audio I recorded with Bob here. It's about fifteen minutes long. It's also 'embedded' below:
Here's a short video I shot of the Grenache grapes going into the crusher:
They are also very active on Facebook, so take a look here for more.
Here's some of the pictures I took, with captions below.