"Made in SB": Los Tepusquet Tornadoes w/Bien Nacido Winery & More! - Weekly Wine Tasting with a Live Wine Band - part of EpicureSB: Crave, Toast, Explore

Los Tepusquet Tornadoes w/Dieter Cronje (Presq'uille Wines) & Chris Hammell (Bien Nacido Vineyard)

The undisputed musical kings of the Greater Garey Area, Los Tepusquet Tornadoes make infrequent appearances at select venues on the central coast of Cali.

Bottom End: PÄ
Cello, etc: HÄMMELL
Head Roadie: PËDRO

Grassini Family Vineyards

Instead of joining the rest of the family at church on Sundays, my grandfather, Articondo Grassini, who came from Pisa, Italy in the early 1900s with his wife Afiora Tinucci, was more religious about keeping a garden, and stayed home to make that evening’s ravioli from the green bounty of his garden, while enjoying a glass of wine (or two)… He also kept chickens. As a nod to Grandpa Articondo, industrious fowl roam our vineyard while sustainably fertilizing the vines.

My father Leo Peter Grassini—while not making ravioli on Sundays—was equally passionate about keeping a garden to grow much of the family’s food. He shared his love for the soil with his children and grandchildren. This firmly-entrenched tradition has been lovingly passed on. A vegetable garden has been planted at the vineyard and provides us with many of the treats served with our wine.

Now, these earthy traditions have been entrusted to the third and fourth generations. From day one, my wife Sharon, and daughters Katie, Corey, Mandy and Molly, have been there in support of this exciting and enriching undertaking. Different blocks of our recently planted Cabernet Sauvignon clones proudly bear the names of all of our children.

At Grassini Family Vineyards and Winery, our extended family’s passion for beauty, the commitment to hard work and a special place all come together to make the wine in bottles bearing our family’s label something special… and it is our hope that you will enjoy the poetry of the wine and its sense of place and tradition with your friends and family. Articondo would have been proud.

Zaca Mesa Winery

The original property was purchased in 1972 by a group of friends and they started planting the vineyard in 1973. With few other vineyards in the area to learn from, the vineyard was originally planted with numerous varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Zinfandel, Riesling, Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc, Grenache, Chardonnay, and Syrah to see what would work.

As the vineyard came into production, a winery was built on the property in 1978 and later expanded in 1981. 1978 was another milestone for Zaca Mesa, planting the first Syrah in Santa Barbara County.

By the early-1990’s, we had determined based on our farming experience that the Rhône varieties (Syrah, Grenache, Mourvèdre, Viognier, and Roussanne) grew best on our property.

As one of the pioneers in the Santa Barbara County, Zaca Mesa was a training ground for many. Ken Brown was our first winemaker and later started Byron in Santa Maria Valley. Adam Tolmach, Jim Clendenen and Bob Lindquist worked at Zaca Mesa before venturing out on their own to start Ojai, Au Bon Climat and Qupé, respectively.

Zaca Mesa was the first Central Coast winery to appear in Wine Spectator’s Top 10 back in 1995. A year later, our Syrah was served by President Clinton to French President Jacque Chirac at a White House State Dinner. To show that we are not leaning one direction, our wines were also served at President Reagan’s 80th birthday party at the Beverly Hilton.

Since 1997, we have focused on growing the best Syrah, Viognier, and other Rhône varieties. We have ripped up over half the original vines, replacing them with high-density planting of new rootstock and clone combinations that has significantly improved our quality. We now have 9 clones of syrah and the most high density vineyard acres in the county.

Over time the ownership group diminished to one of the original partners. Zaca Mesa has been family owned for almost 25 years.

Point Concepcion Wines

We established Point Concepción Wines in 2002 with the goal of producing food-friendly wines from California’s Central Coast which are ready to drink and enjoy upon release. As with all wine and food, where it is grown is the key ingredient to creating a delicious and memorable product. Point Concepción itself is the dramatic marker of California’s Central Coast – a superlative place for growing food and food-friendly wines.

The roots of our winemaking are found in the Italian traditional pairing of food and wine at mealtime. Our family has been making wine for consumption with food for many generations in Italy. Peter is the fifth generation of his family in California but the first one born in California. His great, great grandfather was the first to come from Italy and he then founded a restaurant and hotel in San Francisco which was unfortunately destroyed in the fire and earthquake of 1906. Subsequent generations, though born in Italy, have lived and farmed in the California Central Coast since the early 1900’s.

Peter planted his first vineyard, Cargasacchi Vineyard, in 1998 in the Santa Rita Hills (now Sta. Rita Hills AVA). A second vineyard, Cargasacchi-Jalama Vineyard, was planted in 1999. Cargasacchi-Jalama Vineyard is closer to the coast, just south of Lompoc and near Point Conception.

Julia is also the first generation of her mother’s family to be born in California. She has fond memories of helping her grandmother with the vendemmia (grape harvest) in Italy, where she spent many summers. It was from her grandmother that she developed her interest in cooking and a love for Italy.

From our table to yours. Enjoy!
Peter & Julia Cargasacchi


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