Mention California and wine and most folks instantly think Sonoma and Napa up in Northern California. But as good as some of those Napa Sonoma wines may be they are the new kids on the block for California wine making. Wine making got its start in California in the mid 19th century in Southern California in portions of both Orange and Los Angeles counties.
In fact in the 1880’s when the wines of Europe went nearly dry due to adverse conditions, a great deal of California wine was actually exported to Europe. Now it is true, of course, that due to weather and soil conditions Northern California does have a greater variety of grapes and therefore wines than the Southland. But over the decades of Southern California wine making there has emerged a solid core of superb wines sometimes referred to as desert wines. That is desert not dessert wine although they can and do coexist. One of the most enjoyable wineries to visit in Southern California is the Agua Dulce Winery, less than a one-hour drive from downtown Los Angeles in the stunningly beautiful Agua Dulce, California.
Agua Dulce Winery first came to life in the mid 1990’s when the first owner Ray Watt launched the project on 100 magnificent acres. He quickly installed the best wine making equipment available and set about producing many award-winning wines. By 2009 the ownership shifted to Barry Goldfarb and family who immediately committed to making something that was already very good into something truly great.
Wine varieties include Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Zinfandel, Syrah, Sangiovese and Syrah Port. But much more than a mere wine list a visit to the Agua Dulce Winery is an excursion into relaxed joy.
Sure there is wine tasting available and most adult visitors partake of that opportunity. But there is also a cozy store with not only wine and wine accessories but a fun variety of gizmos and gadgets. And there is the vineyard with row upon row of superb grapes awaiting their inevitable conversion into a fine wine. For the children of all ages there is even a small but very intriguing collection of animals including llamas, goats, ponies, at least one peacock and many other happy creatures.
Some folks simply drive out to the Agua Dulce Winery located at 9640 Sierra Highway, Agua Dulce, California 91390. It is open from 10:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. every day and you, for a modest fee, may taste their entire collection of multiple award-winning wines.
Other folks come with a tour group with a wide variety of options offered by Groupon.com and Living Social. One favorite option is the tasting tour package for two that includes a guided wine cellar tour with two barrel tastings, a picnic lunch and a collectible wine glass signed by the wine maker. This is easily a $112 value but costs only $39 when booked through Groupon.com. Check here for further details here. Or you may take advantage of the same deal through Living Social.
Agua Dulce Winery is committed to being very people friendly and offers frequent special events throughout the year. One of the most fun events is the annual harvest party they call the Stompfest. Yes, it is exactly what the name implies and it is literally a barrel of fun coming up on Saturday October 8th 2016 from 3:00 to 6:00 p.m.
Whenever you go and by whatever means you choose the odds are excellent that you will enjoy one very happy day. It is a virtual certainty that during your visit you will meet the very affable and helpful Steve Wizan, General Manager. But then truly everyone who works at the Agua Dulce Winery is dedicated to making your visit a long lasting and richly positive memory that you will most likely repeat many times. For more information about the Agua Dulce Winery you may also view their website.
Photos by Kari irwin
Ron Irwin was born in Chicago, Illinois a long time ago. He served in the Marine Corps in Vietnam, became a trial lawyer, TV and radio host, CEO of a public company and once held an Emmy. He never won an Emmy he just held one. Ron has written and published twelve books. His most important book to date is “Live, Die, Live Again” in which Ron tells of his early life and his unexpected and very temporary death in 2012. That experience dramatically refocused his life and within the pages of that book Ron reveals how he achieved a much healthier life, ridding himself of Diabetes, Cancer and Heart Failure. Now Ron enjoys writing about many things including health topics, travel [he has circled the globe several times], adventure, culinary experiences and the world of performing art. Ron’s motto is “Live better, live longer and live stronger because it feels great and annoys others.” Contact the author.