The Ojai Wine Region
The town of Ojai California is located about 30 minutes inland from Ventura California in Ventura County. The population is just over 7,000 people with only one main road running right through the centre of town. A few twists and turns on the drive that features orange trees, old buildings and oak trees and we found our self on the main street (Ojai St.) in town.
The Ojai Vineyard
On this trip our mission was to taste some of the regions wines, one of which was the Ojai Vineyard. The Ojai Vineyard had a tasting room located just off the main street. They are a small producer of wine (between 100-900 cases depending on varietal of wine). Due to the small size of their production area they have opted to have a tasting room in town as opposed to having visitors on the production site (about five miles from town).
Interestingly we discovered that the Ojai region is not actually a producer of the grapes used to make most of their wine. Each type of grape used in the various wines are grown in the surrounding regions including Santa Maria, the Santa Rita Hills and the Santa Ynez Valley. The Ojai Vineyard uses the name of the region that the grapes are grown for each of the wines it produces.
The Ojai Vineyard Tasting Room
The Ojai Vineyard tasting room is small and quaint. Located about a half a block off the the main street that runs through Ojai. It is located in an old wood structure that used to serve as a firehouse (we assume many, many years ago). On this day they were pouring seven wines (two white, four red and one dessert wine), of course we tasted them all!
Wines From The Ojai Vineyard (remember the second part of the name of the wine is the region the grapes are from)
First up was the 2010 Sauvignon Blanc, McGinley – Santa Ynez Valley ($25.00). We found this to be a great summer sipper with fresh fruit aromas, but not over powering. Completed by a smooth finish and little lingering aftertaste. 7/10
Next was the 2008 Chardonnay, Clos Pepe – Santa Rita Hills ($30.00). We found this wine to be high in acid content and with a very strong smell and taste of lemon. Different and not typical of what we were expecting in a Chardonnay. 5/10
The third wine was the 2010 Pinot Noir, Bien Nacido – Santa Maria Valley ($40.00). While we thought this wine was a bit on the young side, it was rich in dark fruit flavours and had a great light red even a hint of pinkish colour to it. 8/10
Number four was the 2007 Syrah, Thompson – Santa Barbara County ($40.00). This wine featured large tannins and had great fruit flavours for a Syrah. It was completed by a smooth and concentrated finish. 9/10
For number five we tried the 2007 Syrah, Presidio ($40.00). It was interesting tasting back to back Syrah’s from to different grape growing areas. The Presidio Syrah had a much dryer taste more along the lines of tobacco and pepper. It was also much dryer tasting. 7/10
The sixth wine was the 2008 Grenache, Thompson ($45.00). The wine was very light in colour with just a hint of spice and had a small but smokey finish. 8/10
Finally for number severn and a great way to finish off the tasting we had the 2011 Riesling Dessert Wine (Botrytis), Kick on Ranch ($34.50). A nice sipper that wasn’t as overly sweet as dessert wines we find in British Columbia. Nice mix of sugar and acid to finish the day. 7/10
As you know we rarely go to a wine tasting without making some purchases. So what did we buy? The 2010 Sauvignon Blanc (Santa Ynez Valley), the 2007 Syrah (Thompson) and the 2008 Grenache (also Thompson).
A big thank you Matt who was our host on this day. He was friendly and very knowledgable about the various regions and the processes that the Ojai Vineyard uses in making each of their wines. Thanks Matt!
Here is a link to our full photo set during our travels in Ventura California this past week.
Jeff & Tara Ciecko of CK Golf Solutions write two blogs on their website, one is their 19th Hole Blog where they share personal experiences and the Biz Blog where they share business best practices and golf industry related opinions. They have owned CK Golf Solutions for 5 years and provide marketing, social media and business services to the golf and other industries.