Pick Up Parties and Pruning: Ventura County’s Lester and Clos des Amis

Steve suckering

“Instead of pruning, how about a pick up party?” I asked Steve Zambrano as we climbed into my car with my dog Cisco.

Steve is always interested in having new experiences and learning more about just about everything under the sun– and the moon and the stars! I’ve known Steve for at least 25 years as we both moved around the Ventura art scene, especially around Art City. He’d helped me with broadsides at Kinkos, he was a regular at poetry and other events I put on, and more. Last month he joined in the rose bottling party at Clos des Amis— where he helped bottle under the tutelage of one of his former Ventura College art instructors, Bruce Freeman.

Give it to Steve, asking him to a pick up party didn’t phase him one bit. In fact Steve is the kind of guy who hangs out in Hollywood with a porn star with a huge handmade sign hawking fake “Maps to the Homes of (Porn) Stars” just to get a response. 

But this wasn’t THAT kind of pick up party. Continue reading

This May, Stop and Smell the Ventura County CA Rosé from Clos des Amis and Cantara Cellars

Rose all May with Cantara and Clos de Amis

As the weather gets warmer, are you ready to Rosé All May?

We are!

And so is Clos des Amis after bottling their 2020 Ventura County South Mountain Estate Rosé of Grenache and Mourvedre.

And Camarillo’s Cantara Cellars is now offering a Rosé this spring– their first since 2008!  Continue reading

Party Time? Paella and Pinot from Clos des Amis in Ventura County

The past twelve months have really been something. My last in person wine event was with WALT Wine (read about it here) before World of Pinot Noir, the first weekend in March. In 2021, WOPN went virtual– with events the entire month of March instead of just one weekend. And then I was supposed to do a Spring Break Bud Break WSET 3 Bootcamp with Napa Valley Wine Academy followed by a press trip to Bordeaux and Germany.

Continue reading

Works of Art: Open That Bottle Night and VeroTalk with Clos des Amis Winemakers Bruce Freeman and Gretel Compton

Clos des Amis winemaker Bruce Freeman shows a label during a February VeroTalk.

“The goal of life is rapture. Art is the way we experience it.”
Joseph Campbell, in A Joseph Campbell Companion: Reflections on the Art of Living

For Bruce Freeman and Gretel Compton of Clos des Amis, art is life, an avocation and a vocation. Both have worked as professional artists and teachers of art throughout their long careers, Continue reading

Discover “Undiscovered California” at Ventura County’s Clos des Amis VeroTalk

With brown hills above Santa Paula and local snow capped mountains in the background, winemaker Bruce Freeman cradles three of his wines to be featured in the Feb. 11 Verotalk.

Following high winds with two brief yet intense rainstorms which left inches of hail on the ground and snow dusting the local mountains including several inches in Malibu canyon, I dropped by Clos des Amis yesterday  afternoon to taste how the 2020 vintage is progressing, and help a bit with clean up.

These 3 Clos des Amis wines will be featured in a Facebook live talk on Feb. 11; details on how to order them below. (Unfiltered, unedited photo!)

In a difficult year with COVID, fires, and sudden record-breaking high temperatures, the 2020 harvest overall was a bright spot for Clos Des Amis winemaker Bruce Freeman who predicted the vintage would be exceptional: “We had beautiful weather, beautiful fruit, and I’m excited about the potential for these wines.” Soon after harvested, he told me that the wines were “already showing elegance and power.” Continue reading

#SoGrateful for a Taste of Local: Food, Wine, Vineyards #WinePW

14938233_1175087245914371_6322035779796898585_n

For November’s #WinePW: The Feast Nearby – Grateful for Local Vintners and Seasonal Foods hosted by Culinary Cam, I arranged to meet with winemaker Bruce Freeman at his South Mountain Winery near Santa Paula California where he grows estate fruit for his Clos des Amis label (750 cases this year) which specializes in grapes from Ventura County.  Continue reading