Longtime friends of Talley Vineyards will remember the days when tastings were conducted in El Rincon Adobe, the historic building pictured on the Talley Vineyards label. Built in the early 1860’s by original settlers of the Arroyo Grande Valley, the adobe had a long life as a private residence before becoming our tasting room in 1988.
By the time our new tasting room was completed in 2002, the space had definitely been outgrown, but the abode has still been put to use over the years.
A few months ago, the adobe started serving a new purpose when three of my colleagues and I relocated our offices to the upstairs of the building. The impetus for the move was to create a shared office space for the four of us, who all work closely. Our destination had to be to the adobe as that is the only Talley Vineyards location with enough room to accommodate all of us, but I had some reservations about the space. While it is long on charm, the adobe can feel a little… well, old.
As it turns out, I’ve quickly gotten over my worries. Small doorways, low ceilings, and poor lighting have been heavily outweighed by the enjoyment I’ve felt in the space. That is in no small part due to how convenient and how fun it is to share an office with my colleagues. But I have also embraced the homey atmosphere of the adobe and am happily settled in. If you’d like to know more about the history of El Rincon Adobe, please take a look at our website.
It's summertime, which is a great time to celebrate simplicity in the kitchen matched with a cool and refreshing drink. One of my favorite wine pairings features two of my favorite things we grow: avocados and Chardonnay. In fact, Coastal San Luis Obispo County is one of few places in the world where avocados and world class Chardonnay grow side by side.
The key reason why this combination is successful is because the Chardonnay we produce in our cool coastal climate is so refreshing and balanced due to high natural acidity in the grapes and our very light use of new French Oak. A great example of this style is our 2014 Estate Chardonnay, which just happens to be on sale right now.
Perfect for summer, is my Guacamole recipe, with the preparation simple and the results luxurious. Best of all you can whip it up in 15 minutes without cooking anything.
The recipe below comes from my new cookbook,
Our California Table.
For more recipes and great wine pairings, you should purchase a copy.
Profit from the sales of the book benefit The Fund for Vineyard and Farm Workers, which supports the farm worker community in San Luis Obispo County.
3 medium-size ripe Hass avocados
1/2 cup cilantro leaves, chopped
1 lemon, juiced
1/2 medium jalapeno pepper, finely diced
1 clove garlic, finely diced
1 small ripe tomato, chopped (optional)
Combine garlic, cilantro, half the jalapeño, and tomato, if desired, in a bowl large enough to accommodate finished guacamole. Add avocados, leaving the mixture as chunky as possible. Add half the lemon juice and salt to taste. Depending on how spicy you like it, add more jalapeño. Add more lemon juice if needed.
Since the weather has warmed up a bit, I have been riding my bike to work a few days a week. It’s great exercise and beautiful scenery. There are many great bike routes in the area and I’m lucky that my commute is one of them. I live in Arroyo Grande, and it’s about 8 miles out to the winery and takes me about 45 minutes. It’s nice to be outside, hear the birds chirping, and ride down the road through the farm fields. On the way home, it’s a great way to decompress, clear my head, and get some sunshine.
We try to be very wellness-minded and environmentally friendly here at the winery, and I am always looking for new ideas to share with our staff. So far though, I’m the only one who is riding my bike to work, although the staff does like to cheer me on. However, we are a pretty active group and many of our team members enjoy mountain biking, yoga, hiking, and surfing during their down time. There are many excellent choices here on the Central Coast!
For those of you who ride your bike, Lopez and Orcutt roads are popular for cyclists and are very scenic as you ride past vineyards and farms. Fortunately, both roads lead to Talley Vineyards! So, no matter which way you go, it’s a beautiful ride. And that glass of cool chardonnay is very refreshing when you get here; you earned it! Be sure to take a couple bottles with you to enjoy later—they will fit perfectly in your panniers :-)
We have another new team member to introduce you to in this week’s blog— meet Larry Lemire! A Los Angeles native, Larry moved to the Central Coast in back in 2001 where he has explored living in various locations across the County before most recently settling down in Nipomo. Since relocating to the Central Coast, Larry has worked in the courier industry where he gained freight and warehouse experience. Here at Talley Vineyards, Larry’s position as Warehouse Coordinator is vital to the success of our day in and day out operations. But because Larry’s position is a bit behind-the-scenes to those visiting the winery, I’ve asked Larry some ice breaker questions for you all to get to know him!
Where are you from originally and where have you lived since?
I grew up in the South Bay area of Los Angeles. I've always felt L.A. was too crowded and spread out. In 2001, a friend of mine who operated a courier company here on the Central Coast had just landed Mid-State Bank as a client and was in desperate need of drivers. I thought that was a golden opportunity to leave LA, and I've never looked back.
What brought you to Talley Vineyards?
In 2015, my friend decided to retire and sold his courier company. Initially I was grandfathered in as one of the operational managers, but after almost 15 years in the delivery business, I was ready to look at a different line of work.
What aspect your job do you like best so far?
The friendly and positive vibe that the staff here projects. When you come from work environments with unhappy and overly negative people, it makes one really appreciate how much more productive the workplace can be.
What’s your favorite happy hour drink?
After 8+ hours of being on my feet, I will never turn down a cold pint.
If you could spend the day with any 2 individuals, living or dead, who would they be?
Oh, living for sure. Not being much of a conversationalist myself, hanging out with two dead guys would make for a very boring afternoon.
What’s something on your bucket list?
I have always wanted to witness the totality of a solar eclipse. Before, time or money constraints were always an issue as it would have involved traveling to another country to see one. This coming August, I hope to cross this one off of my list.
If you had an extra hour every day, what would you do with it?
I've learned over the years, that magic hour is between 4:00-5:00AM. You cannot believe how much one can get done before the rest of the world has even got out of bed.
What is one thing you could not go a week without?
Probably my AM cup of coffee. Or my internet connection!
What would be your ideal vacation?
Any destination with a minimal agenda. My wife and I went to Maui for the first time a few years ago. Outside of lodging and a rental car, we just made up every day as we went. If we felt like zip-lining, we did that. If we felt like napping on the beach, we did that. It was the most fun I have ever had. Someone once told me retirement is like that. Hope to get there some time.
If you had to describe yourself as an animal, which one would it be?
A hippopotamus. My wife said she wanted one for Christmas.
I'm happy to introduce our new Tasting Room Manager, Evan Jones. He joined the Talley team back in March after moving from Portland, Oregon to the Central Coast with his family. Evan has worked in the wholesale side of the Wine Industry for the past 7 years and is excited to be involved with the Tasting Room atmosphere. I asked Evan a few questions about himself, to get to know a little more about him, and we found out some fun facts! Please make sure to say Hi and introduce yourself to Evan next time you visit us in the Tasting Room!
Why did you want to work at Talley Vineyards? I wanted to work at Talley Vineyards because of their commitment to the community and my own personal taste for Burgundian wines. It was also important for me to work for a family owned and operated company.
What is the best thing that has happened to you so far this week, besides working with your Assistant Manager Alicia? I finally got my brand new John Deere mower and mowed my lawn..cutting down the time from an hour to 20 minutes. It made me a very happy Evan.
What makes you most excited about being on the central coast? The weather, obviously. And living in a place that has a sense of community; especially, after living in big cities for so long. I love the Central Coast, especially the 5 cities and have been visiting the area since my sister attended Cal Poly. I actually got engaged on the Avila Beach Pier 5 years ago.
Favorite music genre? Country
Where did you go to college, what did you study, and how did you end up in wine? I went to the University of Arizona and studied Agricultural Economics (the same as Brian Talley). I ended up in the wine business after working 4 years in multiple sales roles trying to find the industry that I wanted to work in long term. Eventually, I got a job in the wine industry and instantly knew that I wanted to be a part of this industry for the rest of my life.
Where do you see yourself 20 years from now? General Manager of a winery
If you could live in any decade, which would it be and why? I would want to live in the late 1950s because I appreciate the simplistic beauty of that decade
What is your favorite thing to do on your days off? I play with my 8 months old daughter and spend time with my family.
Name one thing that most people don’t know about you? I am a published poet. I wrote a poem my senior year in High School.
If you were stranded deserted island and could bring 3 items to help in survival, what would those items be? 30-30 hunting rifle (loaded w/ ammo), a fire starter, and a machete
What phenomenon do you wish you could solve or figure out? Are ghosts/spirits a real thing? And, if so, do they still wander the Earth?
When I joined Talley Vineyards as the East Coast Regional Sales Manager at the beginning of March, I learned that the guiding principle of the winery is to go above and beyond. While that sounds admirable, I got to put those words into action when I recently embarked on an adventure with Brian Talley in a fourth floor walkup in Manhattan’s Chinatown.
Out in the national market, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to sell wine in the face of industry consolidation, the proliferation of brands, and our distributors are often overwhelmed with myriad priorities. So recently, we’ve taken it upon ourselves to try something different, to cut through all the noise and get our message out to the market.
On a recent trip to New York and Connecticut, Brian and I decided to add some twists to the typical market visit. In addition to our normal routine of going with a local distributor sales representative to visit prospective accounts, which is the way it’s always been done, we invited some of the newer sales representatives and prospective accounts to a dinner event in a loft on the Bowery in Manhattan. That Brian and I would prepare. Ourselves.
We chose some recipes from Our California Table and modified them to fit in an actual NYC kitchen, which is quite a rare thing apparently, and went to work. We chopped, sliced, and roasted our butts off, and pretty much pushed that little kitchen to the brink of its capabilities. Did I mention New York kitchens are small? And we introduced an enthusiastic group of potential buyers and salespeople to our wines, paired with food from Brian’s cookbook.
And at the end of the evening, the consensus was that they had never had an experience like this with any other winery. The food was excellent, if I do say so myself, and the wines showed well. The goal was to make a lasting, positive impression, and we definitely hit it out of the park. I’m very confident that this event and our future adventures will help to build the Talley story for generations to come.
We may be on the cusp of releasing our 30th vintage, but we are definitely willing to learn some new tricks and go above and beyond to share the story of what makes Talley Vineyards so special.
One of my favorite days of the year is just around the corner. Sunday, June 4 will mark the 24th Annual Marianne Talley Fun Run which serves as a key fundraiser for the Marianne Talley Foundation as well as a celebration of my sister’s life. The Fun Run unifies several important themes in my life. First it reflects a commitment to healthy living, both in the training that leads up to the big day as well as the exertion during the event itself. Second, it’s our single biggest event at the winery and brings together a diverse array of people, many of whom only visit once a year. We are thankful for the sponsorship support of many local businesses, especially our biggest sponsors, Fresh Harvest, Cavaletto Brothers, Running Warehouse, E.C. Loomis and Son, Makor Wines, Wallace Group, Praxis, RRM Design and LeftLane Sports. Finally, it’s the key fundraiser for the Marianne Talley Foundation, which has contributed nearly $300,000 in scholarship money to college bound students from Arroyo Grande High School. Marianne was born a little more than a year after me and was an avid athlete all of her life, a high school league champion in swimming and a finisher of the famed Ironman Triathlon in Hawaii. She passed away suddenly in 1993 after a brief workout with one of her personal training clients. We established the Marianne Talley Foundation to support college bound students from Arroyo Grande High School, then started the Fun Run in 1994 to both support the scholarship program and also to bring together many of my sister’s friends in the running and fitness community for a day of celebration.
Since the beginning, the event has been special day for our family, but now it’s bigger and better than ever. The most popular feature is the 5K, both because it’s a distance that many people feel comfortable running or walking and because everyone who beats me gets a special t-shirt that says “I Beat the Vintner.” This will be the sixth year we’ve had a 10K, a popular fun run distance. We also have a 1 mile walk and a 1 mile youth run for those 13 and under. After the run, we have an awards ceremony, a great raffle and this year we’ve added a bonus raffle with $25 tickets you can purchase by selecting the "Donate" option at www.raceroster.com for a chance to win some special prizes including a tour and tasting at Talley Vineyards with me and then lunch for 8.
I hope you can join us on Sunday, June 4. For all the details, including registration information, go to our Fun Run webpage. For questions, email Race Director Marian Fiorentino at firstname.lastname@example.org. I hope to see you race day!
As we do every spring, last weekend we hosted two wine club member parties that we refer to as our Annual Appreciation Events. While Appreciation Event has a nice ring to it, I ended the weekend reflecting on how accurate the term is.
On Friday evening we had a small dinner party for the Elite level members of our Estate Subscriber Program. That was followed by a party for all Estate Subscriber members the next afternoon. For me, it was a long, busy weekend, but one that felt so rewarding in the end.
During the course of the Appreciation Events, I was struck by just how many reasons I had to be grateful that weekend. I thought about the many people who are responsible along the way for the food and wine that was so enjoyed. I was thankful that everything is seen as a team effort by my colleagues and many of them spent a lot of time helping make the events a great success. But more than anything, I thought about how lucky we are to have so many wonderful wine club members. The weekend’s festivities are meant as a gesture to show our appreciation for their membership, but it inevitably ends up being one of the times when I feel the most appreciated. It is nearly impossible to express how uplifting and meaningful it is for me when Estate Subscriber Program members take the time to say thank you. It reminds me why I am lucky to have the job I have and lucky to serve the customers Talley Vineyards has. Something to appreciate!
This week marks the release of our 2015 Single Vineyard Selection Chardonnays, our 21st anniversary vintage for this series which started in 1994. This is a great time for me to discuss my philosophy about chardonnay and how that links to these wines. I believe that, grown in the right place and treated with respect, the chardonnay grape produces the world's greatest dry white wine. Coastal San Luis Obispo County is one of the best places in the world to grow chardonnay due to the cool climate and marine sedimentary soils of the region, which yields flavorful grapes with high natural acidity, the perfect ingredient required to make world class wine. Our approach to producing chardonnay embraces the idea that purity of aroma and flavor is the ultimate virtue. This means that every step of the process-- sustainable vineyard practices, whole cluster pressing, native yeast fermentation, extended barrel aging with minimal new French oak, and careful bottling without filtration--is meant to capture all of the potential of our remarkable place.
What does all of this mean with respect to what the wines actually taste like? It means that our wines are more elegant, with a lighter and more refreshing feel than most other California chardonnays. Each of our Single Vineyard Selections has its own distinctive personality driven by the soil and microclimate of each site, as opposed to variations in winemaking. Citrus notes, ranging from lemon to tangerine are predominant. Oak flavors and aromas play a background role. For detailed winegrowing and tasting notes, see our Chardonnays on the website.
Fundamentally, these are wines that are refreshing to drink, evolve slowly in the glass over the course of a meal, and taste best with food. These are not big wines made to appeal to certain wine critics or beauty contest wine competitions. These wines reflect our mission: to make and share distinctive wines that capture the special character of our place.
My favorite food pairing with chardonnay celebrates one of my favorite items we grow: avocados. In fact, Coastal San Luis Obispo County is one of the unique places in the world where both chardonnay and avocados thrive. Whether with a simple guacamole or using avocados to accompany local seafood such as Petrale sole, Black Cod or White Sea Bass, chardonnay and avocado is a match made in heaven. Try it yourself with one of our 2015 Single Vineyard Selection Chardonnays. Cheers! - BT
When you purchase one of our 2015 Single Vineyard Selection Chardonnays, you might notice a very subtle change in packaging that will pay dividends by reducing our environmental impact. That’s because we’ve changed the packaging on our Single Vineyard Selections to continue our movement toward more sustainable practices. Starting with the 2015 vintage, we are switching from the heavy “cabo style” bottle to the lighter weight “classique” bottle that we use for the other Talley Vineyards wines. This will result in reduced energy and materials used to make the bottles, as well as energy to transport both the empty glass to the winery and the wines after they are bottled. The weight of each six pack of one of our Single Vineyard Selections is now 4 1/2 pounds lighter than before. This might not sound like much, but it really adds up over time. The net result is a reduction in use of fossil fuels and CO2 production. Plus, there is the additional efficiency that we gain by using a single bottle for all of our wines, which eliminates waste. Finally, we’ve had complaints over the years from customers whose wine racks would not accommodate the larger bottles, so this solution addresses that issue as well. When you enjoy one of our Single Vineyard Selection wines from the 2015 and subsequent vintages, I hope you’ll appreciate this simple and subtle change that has a very positive benefit for our environment.
|Old "Cabo" style bottle||New "Classique" style|