The Benefits of Barrels

Aging Wine in Wooden BarrelsIf you have ever toured a winery, you may have noted that the wine is stored in large, wooden barrels! Why is wine stored in barrels? Wooden barrels are typically expensive, and somewhat old school. However, most winemakers prefer them. This is because the wooden material assists the chemistry behind the aging process.

When a wine is aged, it will typically sit for 6 to 18 months. During this time, numerous chemical alterations take place, which enhance the flavor of the wine. Most of the necessary chemical changes need air in order to be complete. When the wine is stored in stainless steel or plastic barrels, air cannot reach the wine. This is why the wooden barrels are the method of choice. Stainless steel containers are much less expensive, but only satisfactory for storing wine after it has completed the aging process in a wooden barrel.

Now you may be wondering which particular type of wood is best for the aging process. Most winemakers will tell you that dense woods like oak are the best option. Oak has a very tight grain. This is beneficial because it allows a small amount of air to reach the wine, but not too much. The wine will also absorb a bit of the flavor of the wood! Many winemakers believe that oak has the best flavor when compared to other forms of wood.

We hope you have enjoyed this bit of wine trivia! Keep an eye out for the wooden barrels at your next winery visit! To expand your knowledge regarding the best local wineries in Ventura County, please contact the Ventura County Winery Association. We collaborate with some of the best wine establishments, and will happily help you schedule a wine tour, or tasting at one of our excellent wineries!

Welcoming Aldabella Custom Crush Winery & Storage!


Ventura County Winery Association would like to welcome our new winery, Aldabella Custom Crush Winery and Storage! Aldabella is a premier winery located in Westlake Village. Head over to 31111 Via Colinas for an unforgettable wine making experience. They are open from 5 to 10 PM on Fridays, 1 to 11 PM on Saturdays, and 1 to 5 PM on Sundays.

The head winemaker, Norman Stafford, first realized his passion for wine while working at the Ventura County Fire Department. After his retirement he had time to pursue his dream, and increased his knowledge of wine at the University of California, Davis. Norman has developed hundreds of labels in his time as a winemaker, many of which are award winning!

The tasting room exudes relaxing vibes, and offers a prime location to sit and enjoy your company. It is a great place to host both small parties, and large get-togethers. The décor of the Aldabella tasting room is Mediterranean with a modern edge- an incredibly classy establishment!

Have you ever created wine yourself? If not, enjoy a wine making class! The head wine maker will assist you as you create a wine of your choice. If you already know how to make your own wine, the winemakers will allow you as much freedom as desired! Aldabella will even act as a distributor for your wine if you would like to take home bottles in bulk! Additionally, feel free to store your wine in one of their temperature controlled facilities.

We are excited to have Aldabella Custom Crush Winery and Storage join our team! For additional information regarding excellent wineries in Ventura County, please contact the Ventura County Winery Association. Use our resources to support local wine businesses!


101 Guide for Attending Your First Wine Tasting

7 Tips for Attending a Wine TastingIf you have never been wine tasting, you are seriously missing out! If you are just of legal drinking age or just have never followed through with the idea, we want your first wine tasting experience to be nothing short of amazing. Gathered are some tips for attending a wine tasting:

  • It is important that you dress appropriately for the event. We recommend wearing dark colors in case of any spills or bumps and refrain from wearing any shirts with dangling sleeves. Make sure that you wear comfortable shoes, such as flats. It is strongly recommended that you avoid wearing fragrances so that you can better taste each wine.
  • Although there may be appetizers at the wine tasting, it is important that you eat something before arriving at the wine tasting. The last thing you want is for your night to be ended early because you drank wine on an empty stomach.
  • Do not swallow each wine you taste! Make sure to spit every once in a while, so that you do not become too intoxicated.
  • While you may think that brushing your teeth right after finishing the wine tasting is the best way to avoid red stained teeth, this is actually extremely harmful to your teeth. Instead, flush with water and have some chewing gum when you are done.
  • Most importantly, have a good time and ask questions! Often, knowing the story behind a winery and their wines makes the sipping that much more enjoyable!

Contact the Ventura County Winery Association to schedule a wine tour to go wine tasting at one of our multiple featured local wineries in Ventura County. You can practice these tips for attending a wine tasting at one of our featured local wineries!

Get Your Discounted 2014 Harvest Passport Now!

2014 Harvest PassportThe Ventura County Winery Association will be celebrating the 2014 Harvest Season by offering a once-in-a-lifetime deal for our 2014 Harvest Passports. This $150 valued package will be on sale for $50, and invites you to enjoy all the best local wineries of Ventura County! What an amazing deal!

Your 2014 Harvest Passport invites you to journey through 10 local Ventura County wineries. Your passport holds the ticket to 10 amazing and delicious wine tastings that feature wines from Napa and Santa Barbara. These artisan wines allow 2014 Harvest Passport holders to enjoy the finest grapes grown along the beautiful California Coast.

Many potential 2014 Harvest Passport holders fear that this deal is not worth it because they cannot make it to all ten wineries in one day. Do not fret! As long as you visit all the wineries before December 30th, your 2014 Harvest Passport will be valid!

If you want to take advantage of this amazing deal, purchase your $50 2014 Harvest Passport here, and bring your proof of purchase to one of our many VCWA pickup locations. Upon pickup, you will receive your 2014 Harvest Passport. Your 2014 Harvest Passport invites you to sample, sip, tour, and of course, stomp on grapes! You can even try some of the wines straight from the barrel.

This is truly an amazing deal that you will not want to miss out on! Make a weekend of it and bring a group of your closest friends to try all 10 wineries featured in this delicious deal.

We hope you take advantage of this amazing opportunity and try all 10 wineries before December 30th! Contact the Ventura County Winery Association to schedule a wine tour with one of our multiple featured local wineries in Ventura County.

Winery Highlight: Magnavino Cellars

Ventura County Wineries - Magnavino CellarsAt Magnavino Cellars, you can expect to celebrate life and love in a beautiful traditional setting. With the intent to solve the mystery of wine making, the Magnavino Cellars team will take you on a magical journey through the history of wine.

The team at Magnavino Cellars understands the importance of getting to know each grape by touch, sight, and smell. Each grape is chosen for its bountiful characteristics to make each bottle of wine absolutely perfect. Similar to the way in which the combination of ingredients found in a Tuscan dish tantalizes your taste buds, the combination of grapes in each bottle will do the same. Each hand crafted wine will leave your mouth begging for more.

By utilizing the most modernized winemaking technology available, Magnavino Wines is able to provide you with award-winning wines straight from the Magnavino Cellars. Magnavino Wines is able to distinguish themselves from all other artisanal blends and grapes by utilizing both stainless steel tanks and American and French oak barrels. Offering Lodi AVA, Grenache, Sangiovese, Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petite Sirah, Tempranillo, Syrah, Mourvedre, and Merlot at the Magnavino Cellars, you are bound to find a new favorite wine!

The Magnavino Cellars invites you to sip and sample our hand crafted wines in the tasting room that resembles a Tuscan villa, Saturday and Sunday from 11:00am until 6:00pm each week. The tasting room can be found at 961 N. Rice Avenue, Cellar 5, in the beautiful Oxnard, California.

The Magnavino Cellars invites you to lavish in the winery’s moto: in vino veritas – in wine these is truth.

Contact the Ventura County Winery Association today to schedule a wine tour with one of our multiple featured wineries. The Magnavino Cellars would be ecstatic to welcome you aboard!

Brewery Highlight: Sundowner Brewery

2014 Ventura County FairLooking for the perfect, local place to enjoy your weekend activities? The Sundowner Brewery is located in the heart of Westlake Village along Agoura Road. Sundowner Brewery is the perfect place to enjoy delicious local wines and beers while also indulging in the various h’orderves offered in the tasting room.

Your knowledgeable guide can help you perfectly pair artisan cheese flights with your preferred selection for the evening. You can add charcuterie, salami, and prosciuttos that will also flawlessly complement your cheeses and drink selection. End your perfect day with delicious artisan chocolates.

Tasting Hours:

Thursday & Friday – 4:30pm through 9:00pm

Saturday – 2:00pm through 9:00pm

Sunday – 2:00pm through 6:00pm

Next time you’re in the area, come to the Malibu Sundowner Tasting Room and enjoy the newest beer we recently added to our selection. The Windfall India Wheat Ale is a well-balanced, hoppy beer that is topped off with a thick, white, and foamy head that leave you with a dry finish. Our experienced team of wine and beer experts can help you choose a beer you’ll love.

We encourage you to enjoy all that our beautiful local community has to offer in the realms of beer and wine. Contact the Ventura County Winery Association today to schedule a wine tour with one of our multiple featured wineries.


Lodi Grapes Shine in Cantara Cellars Wines

wineries_cantaraIf you haven’t visited Cantara Cellars in Camarillo, you’re missing out on one of Ventura County’s finest wineries. Owners Mike and Chris Brown began producing wine in 2002, using Chardonnay grapes grown on Mike’s parents’ family farm in Lodi. After five years spent refining their winemaking techniques and experimenting with different grapes, they opened a public tasting room in 2007. Using grapes sourced in the Napa region gives Cantara Cellars wines their distinctive flavors.

In addition to their original Chardonnay, the winery now features several lush reds, including Merlot and Zinfandel. Cantara Cellars really shines when it comes to their bold, full-bodied blends: Try the 2010 Franknvine, a rich and aromatic combination of Old Vine Zinfandel, Petit Syrah and Malbec, among others. The tasting room is open Thursday through Sunday from 11 am until 6 pm—you can enjoy wine flights, wine by the glass, cheese plates and other delicacies in their popular Wine Lounge, which is also available for private events.

For more information about Cantara Cellars, or other outstanding member wineries, contact the Ventura County Winery Association.

Reinventing the wine you drink

CamarilloCustomCrushBannerCamarillo Custom Crush Winery is reinventing the way that small producers can customize their own wine. Through a process called “Custom Crush,” producers can choose everything they want throughout the whole wine making process to make their own specialty boutique wine. Custom Crushing is available to not only small producers, but to businesses, wine enthusiasts, restaurants, and individuals.

Camarillo Custom Crush Winery offers many different events, from wine tasting to private parties to tours. Their wine tastings are available by the flight, by the glass, or by the bottle every Saturday and Sunday. They offer not only their own custom blends, but often are pouring a selection from many different locations, many times with the local estate owners pouring and telling their own stories of their wines.  

As part of the Ventura County Winery Association, you can be sure to taste the very best wines while staying comfortably close to home. Being part of the association aligns Camarillo Custom Crush Winery with the local agricultural community, which helps support local farmers, businesses and artisans.

To make a tasting or touring reservation, or to start creating your own Custom Crush blend, contact the Custom Crush Winery.

Five Wine Producers to Watch in Ventura County

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For many Southern Californian, “wine country” means the famous regions of Sonoma and Napa located in the north of the state. But Southern Californian wine lovers (and wine lovers just visiting the areas beaches) have something to cheer about happening in Ventura County’s backyard. Spurred by the success of regional wineries such as the large kosher venture Herzog Wine Cellars, and the critically acclaimed The Ojai Vineyard, small boutique fine wine producers are cropping up across Ventura. As of 2013, there were over a dozen such winemaking outfits in the Ventura County Wine Trail, with most of the producers sourcing grapes from high quality vineyards in Northern California. Here are five of Ventura County’s best boutique wineries.

Cantara Cellars

Cantara owners Mike and Chris Brown have family roots in the northern California wine region of Lodi that date back to the 1800s. They began Cantara in 2002 out of their home, then moving to a small urban winery in Camarillo. Cantara uses grapes purchased primarily from Lodi, from which they produce an interesting lineup of wines, including a floral and fruity Ruth’s Vineyard Chardonnay, and earthy Barbera red, and a plumy and herbal Merlot. See: Cantara Cellars

Four Brix Winery

The Four Brix name refers to the wine regions that inspired the founders to start up their winemaking project: Spain, Italy, France, and California. The winery is joint venture of the Noonan, Simonsgaard and Stewart families, with one of the friendliest and more polished tasting rooms, might be making some of the most accomplished wines outside of Ojai and Herzog. Standout wines from Four Brix include the Spanish-inspired “Temptress” Central Coast red blend (a mix of Tempranillo, Grenache and Mourvedre), the Italian-inspire “Scosso” Paso Robles red (made from Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot), and the thoroughly Californian “Zeductive” red (a blend of Zinfandel and Petite Sirah). See: Four Brix Winery

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