Learn About Wine brought their well heeled Stars of Santa Barbara event to Orange County for an industry tasting at the Clubhouse Restaurant at South Coast Plaza.gioia wines Around 35 wineries from Santa Barbara County showed off their wares, and I had a fascinating visit with Teri Love of Gioia Winery.

Teri Love

Teri founded the winery as a tribute to her son Tyler. Tyler was studying in Italy. He came home to visit and on November 12, 2005 was killed riding his motorcycle on Pacific Coast Highway. At first she thought her life was over. She moved from Malibu to Solvang and met winemaker Jim Porter. She remembered Tyler’s love of wine and decided to open a winery and call it Gioia, Italian for joy. Tyler inspires her and in his memory she has set up the Tyler Love Foundation which just awarded its first “Tyler Love Memorial Study Abroad” scholarship to a Malibu High School girl. The only requirement is that the scholarship money be used to study in Europe. Teri says that the loss of Tyler has made her decide to “live life like today is your last day.”

Gioia doesn’t have a tasting room or a distributor for that matter. Teri is a one woman show who loves to pack her car with wines and travel with them. I hope to bring her down to Temecula for a fall tasting.

Right now she has an ‘07 Chardonnay and Pinot Noir in addition to an ‘07 Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon. In September she’ll release her ‘07 Zinfandel. Her wines are vibrant. She has a lot to be proud of for a winery that started selling its wines just last September. Teri believes “every time you open a bottle of wine it should be a celebration.”

Laura and I are eagerly looking forward to our first visit to the wineries of Santa Barbara County!