Blending + Veraison July 2021: Ventura County Vineyards + Beyond

Blending trials at Clos des Amis: Bruce Freeman, Chris Dunn, Jade Dunn (Bruce’s daughter)

While harvest is crazy busy for farmers, so are the days and weeks leading up to harvest.

The more preparation that can be done NOW means less to deal with THEN.

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Slow Wines, Fast Times: Ventura County Vineyards Growing Great!


Lunch time on bottling day for South Mountain Cabernet made with fruit from Paso Robles; Gretel looking pensive

After 18 wineries in five days last week in El Dorado County and the Lodi AVA, Sue and I made it back home to Ventura, and it looks like the summer is going to be FEVERISHLY HOT and busy as we continue to visit wineries looking to update and add to the Slow Wine Guide.

El Dorado’s Starfield with a full moon rising

This week we started assessing three Ventura County wineries, The Ojai Vineyard, Clos des Amis, and Topa Mountain Vineyard, as well as two from Santa Barbara County, Melville and Camins 2 Dreams with most of the grapes coming from the Sta Rita Hills AVA. All five wineries plus Anna’s Ciders will be featured in my upcoming article for Ventana Monthly’s July/August issue; we did our tasting and wine pairing dinner Monday at Ventura’s Vintage Trailer Park, Waypoint!

wines for my upcoming feature in Ventana against a backdrop of the “Vintner’s Trailer” at Waypoint Ventura

Next week for Slow Wine Guide we’ll visit lots of Santa Barbara wineries and the following week we head further north. (Should we visit you? Email me!)

Before we leave for SB, on Weds July 7 at noon Pacific I’m leading a ZOOM interview and tasting with Luis Duarte, 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