Wineries hanging on

Curbside pickup, virtual cooking sessions are some of the offerings

WINERIES ADAPT Martin Ranch is open for curbside pickup. Contributed photo

Forced to do pickup only beginning in early December, our local wineries have sure been whiplashed by the pandemic. But it doesn’t stop them from pressing on. While the winegrower’s association has taken a temporary pause, the wineries are doing what they can to keep their customers well sated.

Calerrain Wines has been offering “Heat & Eat” meals, created by local chef, Marjorie Morelos-Galvan, of California Inspirations Catering, available via Tock for purchase, complete with wine pairings. Morelos-Galvan lives in Gilroy and worked at The Grove in Hollister and CordeValle. A recent meal to go that she prepared for Calerrain featured Asian sticky ribs and citrusy Brussels sprouts slaw, paired with the 2018 Calerrain Malbec, a favorite among the winery’s many fans. 

Winemaker Geoff Mace says he’s made some progress, but has had to back off on plans for the many outside enhancements he was planning, including an outdoor kitchen, as it’s hard to fund with the current shutdown. 

“Made some good progress but slowing down a bit on the kitchen,” he said. “Not being open on the weekend has been tough.”

Martin Ranch is open for curbside pickup at the winery Tuesday through Friday, every week from 10am to 3pm, and on Saturday-Sunday, the first and third weekends of each month. Wine Club Manager Michele Swenson reports that she really enjoyed the Thérèse Vineyards 2017 Mourvèdre with turkey breast with herb stuffing and cranberries, and the Thérèse Vineyards 2016 Dos Ninas Syrah with a hearty vegetable soup, which sounds like the perfect pairing suggested by winemaker Thérèse Martin herself. 

Martin says her current favorite wines for winter are from the Soulmate Series, which she and husband, Dan, craft together. They each have their own separate brands as well. She points to the Soulmate 2014 Syrah and the 2012 Soulmate Nebbiolo, as her two favorites at the moment. Any of the Soulmate wines would be thoughtful Valentine gifts for your favorite someone.

MOHI continues to offer popup wine shops, and a variety of takeout dinners, including fiesta bowls, pizzas and freshly made tacos, to go. For $49.95, for example, you get two taco plates that include three tacos each plus four margaritas or a bottle of wine. Get on their mailing list to stay up to date.

Sarah’s Vineyard has you covered if you’re craving Pinot Noir in all its wide-ranging glory. Their 2018 Tondré Grapefields and their 2018 Muns Vineyard Pinot Noir vineyard designates are both highly recommended. There is something consistently impressive about the Tondré Grapefields vineyard in the Santa Lucia Highlands: no matter who makes wine from it, a core of dense, earthy power shows through. This 2018 Sarah’s Vineyard Tondré is ample and wonderfully lush with spicy plum, clove, dark chocolate and Raisinets (remember those?), yet the acid never hangs up its spurs. The 2018 Sarah’s Vineyard 2018 Muns Pinot is one of the best examples of wines from this vineyard, located high in the Santa Cruz Mountains, that I’ve yet tasted. Classy stuff, with bright floral notes—think rose petals and sandalwood—and spice-driven cherry and raspberry on the palate. The mountain acid is fantastic.

For Valentine’s Day, you might want to indulge in Sarah’s Sparkling Rosé, Grenache Rosé, and one of these excellent aforementioned Pinot Noirs.

Aver Family continues to offer their Saturday Supper Club cooking sessions, led by the talented and entertaining chefs from Truffle Shuffle. Another great gift idea for Valentine’s Day.

Support your local wineries, along with your local restaurants, as best you can. We’ll get through this together.

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About Laura Ness
Laura Ness is an accomplished freelance writer offering travel tips and commentary on the California wine industry.