The sun was shining brightly the following morning, giving no hint of the massive and long overdue winter storm that was to arrive that night. I set aside the entire day for winery visits, starting with a stop at Koehler Winery. Bud break was clearly evident and it was making people nervous as the danger of frost was still present. Koehler has a charming tasting room and a nice selection of wines. They’re about evenly balanced between Bordeaux and Rhône wines featuring Chardonnay, Viognier, Grenache, Mourvèdre, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon as well as Pinot Noir. My next stop was at the appointment-only Demetria estate, where Alexis Zahoudanis welcomed me warmly. The estate is spectacular. You drive past the sprawling Zaca Mesa Vineyards to find Demetria at the top of the hill. We started with Viognier, then on to a sensational Chardonnay followed by a Syrah and two Rhône blends. The wines of Demetria are exceptional and I highly recommend a visit here.
On August 2nd, they’ll be celebrating the 10th anniversary of Sideways with a 10 year reunion dinner at a private ranch. Wines from Hitching Post, Au Bon Climat and Clendenen Family Vineyards will be poured and director Alexander Payne, producer Michael London and actress Virginia Madsen have all confirmed attendance. Seats are $1,000 per person or $10,000 for a table of ten. The hope is to raise $50,000 through the dinner and a wine auction that was held in February. Direct Relief, providing medicine and supplies to the needy in 70 countries can leverage that into $1,500,000.
The storm turned a three and a half hour drive into a six-hour nightmare. I thoroughly enjoyed my two-day Santa Ynez excursion and look forward to returning this summer for the Wine Bloggers Conference.