Oxnard is a medium size, quaint, ocean front town with picturesque harbors, beautiful beaches, good surf, comfortable hotels and upscale restaurants with many culinary options.
The four wineries I visited were each unique and bursting with personality.
Strey Cellars, a new winery located in an industrial area, is a cross between industrial and super modern. Co-owners Scott Ballew and Katie Wiegers have poured their heart and soul into their winery and you can tell. The tasting room emanates with love, edgy perfection, attention to detail and comfort. Their motto is to “Strey from the Norm”.
Winemaker, Scott Ballew, started making wines with mentor Robert Wagner owner of Magnavino Cellars (now their next door neighbor) and when he was ready, branched out on his own. He still counts his mentor, Robert as his support and go-to person for all things wine. Scott’s wine style is a mix between respect for the classic wines with a twist of young, cool and hip finishes. You just have to try their wines to understand what I’m saying. I particularly loved his Zinfandel. It has a fruity party on the tongue and a soft finish. Check hours of operations at their website: www.streycellars.com.
Herzog Winery is the oldest kosher winery in the USA and by far the largest in the wine trail. Kosher winemaking has many rules that you can read about at: http://www.star-k.org/kashrus/kk-thirst-wine.htm. Winemaker Joe Hurliman has an exceptional challenge on his hands. He is not Jewish and rules of kosher winemaking is that only a Sabbath observant cellar crew may touch the grapes. But Joe is not deterred and is happy to follow the rules. Herzog Winery is truly impressive. There is a self-guided walking tour where you can see the whole production facility. They have, by far, the hugest vats, the largest barrel room and the largest bottling area I have ever seen.
Tierra Sur, their kosher restaurant serves gourmet food for all types of eaters. Pick out a bottle of wine and enjoy this award winning restaurant any day but Saturday, the Sabbath. For current hours of operations, location and a restaurant menu go to: http://www.herzogwinecellars.com/
Although I only got to four wineries, I can say that these wineries rival all other southern California wineries and definitely deserve your attention. No longer will I blow through Oxnard on my way to somewhere else. I will plan a weekend and explore some more wineries on this wine trail. I’m so thankful I stopped here and gave it a chance. For a complete list of wineries go to: http://www.venturacountywinetrail.com/