I first heard of Oak Mountain Winery last year after someone commented on a post I’d written on another blog. She said that she and her husband loved Oak Mountain and that we should pay them a visit. We followed her suggestion and as a result have had the pleasure of getting to know Steve and Valerie Andrews. I spent some time with them last week and got to know a little bit more about the history of Oak Mountain.
Steve and Valerie didn’t start out as winemakers. Steve had (and still has) a towing and auto dismantling company. He’s also a skilled carpenter. Valerie was a painting contractor. They are perfectly suited for their roles of making and and running two wineries. Both make you feel very much at home when you come to visit.
The Andrews purchased property on De Portola Road in 1996. The 11 acres there is on steep, hilly and rocky terrain. Steve sent soil and rock samples to Napa and planted accordingly after getting the results. He also visited Paso Robles and spent time in a number of vineyards to get a feel for what he would be growing. His initial plantings consisted of Syrah, Mourvedre, Viognier, Zinfandel, Grenache, Grenache Blanc and Sangiovese.
Temecula Hills Winery began gaining a reputation for making good wine and with that came a lot of visitors. After a few years, Steve and Valerie’s children began expressing an interest in getting into the business, so they went looking for another property a little closer to the heart of the Temecula Wine Country. Initially they looked at a few properties on Rancho California Road, but then settled on the current location of Oak Mountain on Via Verde off De Portola. In 2005, they opened the doors to Oak Mountain.
There are so many wonderful stories to share about this couple. In an upcoming article about Temecula Hills, I’ll tell you about Val’s dad Ed Snyder. What I like most about them is their heart. Three years ago, their dog Petie was diagnosed with diabetes. The treatment was outrageously expensive and they realized there were a lot of folks who just couldn’t afford to treat their sick pets, so they wound up having them put to sleep. Valerie decided they wanted to do something to help. That’s when Cause For Paws was born. They started bottling For Pete’s Sake Red and For Pete’s Sake white wines, with a portion of the sales going to Cause For Paws. Combined with their annual Woofs and Purrs In The Vines event, they have raised more than $10,000 for people who can’t afford to pay for treatment for their sick pets. This year’s event is slated for July 19th from 3 – 7 and will feature live dog adoptions, food, wine and live music.
As summer approaches, Oak Mountain will have live music every Saturday from 1 – 5. Soon they’ll be featuring the Great Oak High School Jazz Band on Friday evenings. This July they’ll be releasing their sparkling Sauvignon Blanc called Frisson, meaning “an intense moment of excitement.” Their just released Field Blend comes from a vineyard planted with percentages of each of the varietals used; Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Malbec and Petit Verdot.
The future looks exciting for Oak Mountain. Plans include doing some grading behind the tasting room and building an elevated walkway for tours. They also will be opening a new tasting room and plan on having the first real caves at a Temecula winery. If all goes according to plan, those changes should come to pass in the next two to three years. I can hardly wait.