About three or so years ago my step father, a wine enthusiast (also a boating enthusiast and / or a guy who likes to boat) took his wine enthusiasm to a new level – he began an undertaking to make the beverage he enjoys so much. As with most things, I was initially skeptical. People devote entire lifetimes to learning how to create beautiful wines; they go to school and study chemistry to learn how to make wines. Having brewed previously, I had a basic understanding of what he was going to be getting in to, but more than anything took a “wait and see” approach.
After my initial realization that Greg was going to start making wine, it became more and more apparent that he was taking this new passion very seriously, and that he was approaching it with an undeniable level of attention and tenacity (something I can relate to). He started spending a lot of time in Paso (my mom and Greg have had a house in Cambria for the last 5 or so years, and over that time have made some great friends, as well as mentors, in the Central Coast wine community) where he was working with very well-respected growers and wine makers, gleaning what information they were willing to offer. When required to do so (all too often I’m sure), he was even making the four-plus hour drive to the Central Coast and returning to Long Beach in a single day. The winery was becoming more and more tangible, and as things like artwork, websites and labels began to come together, I would offer up suggestions and advice based on my product background (but not before they could make some font choices that have me losing sleep…).
What started in 2009 has come to
fermentation fruition (serious pun intended) over the last couple of months, and ultimately this past weekend at the Atascadero Wine Festival. 7 Angels Cellars, as their winery is called, has just released its first four wines, with others not too far behind. When I tried their first wine, a red blend called Grace containing zinfandel, syrah, and cabernet, I was just about blown away (see: skeptical). It was brilliant. Now, I may be slightly biased, though if I didn’t like the wine, would refrain from writing this post before saying it was good (then of course smile and nod in positive affirmation when drinking the wine with my parents…). But if anything is validation to my personal reception of 7 Angels, it was the reaction this weekend in Atascadero as my sister and I helped pour wine to hundreds of thirsty tasters.
The Atascadero wine festival is on the smaller side. Locals like to refer to it as what the Paso wine festival was 15 years ago. And that’s who’s there – locals. Atascadero is in the heart of wine country, though maintains slightly under the radar. Despite this, the festival was attended by the usual suspect wineries in the Central Coast region (about 80 total – no number to scoff at). It was great to see so many wine industry folks coming by, sampling the wine, and leaving utterly enchanted. The sentiment was so much so that out of the dozens of wineries on hand, 7 Angels earned the “People’s Choice Silver” award. Sweet.
Being on hand and sampling at the event harkened back to my Prolong days, when John and I would heckle bike racers and triathletes and convince them to try our electrolyte / carbohydrate drink. Though the presence of 7 Angels Cellars at the Atascadero Wine Festival was slightly more “official” than many of Prolong’s sampling efforts, the fun of joking with curious patrons was all the same. I look forward to the future of 7 Angels Cellars, and am excited to dig a little deeper into the Central Coast wine community.
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