Learning About SLO Wine Country
Most wine producing regions have a member association committed to growing awareness of the local wines and wineries and promoting the area’s unique qualities. The member association responsible for that task for the Arroyo Grande and Edna Valleys is SLO Wine Country. Among other things, SLO Wine Country coordinates annual events such as Roll Out the Barrels and Harvest Celebration, works with media to spread the word on the region’s great wines and organizes regular association mixers that help build a spirit of camaraderie and (my favorite part) give wineries a chance to try one another’s wines.
SLO Wine Country also provides their association members with occasional opportunities for education. One such opportunity occurred this past week with a seminar featuring panels of speakers sharing their expert knowledge on different aspects of our growing region. The first panel of speakers covered four important and interesting topics – the history of the Arroyo Grande and Edna Valleys, climate, soils and sustainability. I am always fascinated by historical information and refuse to be embarrassed by how often I frequent local history museums, centers and societies. So I happily soaked in all the tidbits the panel shared about how the Arroyo Grande and Edna Valleys turned into wine producing regions. I also learned that I had some substantial gaps in my understanding of climate, including not realizing there are meso-climates in addition to micro and macro-climates. How had I made it this far without knowing that?
Much as we all enjoyed and learned from the first panel of speakers, the start of the second panel created a buzz of excitement. Because the second panel had brought wine! What a treat to taste a flight of wines made up of Claiborne & Churchill Riesling, Edna Valley Sauvignon Blanc, Chamisal Chardonnay, Stephen Ross Pinot Noir and Wolff Vineyards Syrah. But this tasting wasn’t just for fun, there was a lot to learn during this segment of the seminar as well. Our second panel of speakers were the winemakers who had made each of the wonderful wines we were tasting and they had interesting information to share. As we tasted through the wines, each of the winemakers explained how their wines are a result of both the unifying conditions of our region and the unique characteristics of their specific vineyard. It was a fascinating (and delicious) exercise and more than anything I came away realizing the terrific quality of wine coming out of SLO Wine Country.