Last month, I was invited up to Zaca Mesa Winery in Los Olivos to experience all that this vineyard had to offer. The property covers over 750 acres. On our drive up, we passed many of the vines that grow all the spectacular types of grapes that are crafted into the many varieties we tried that day. It had been a long time since I headed up on a family day trip with my mom and sis, and even longer that included my aunt and cousin. In fact, the last time we had done anything like this as a group was during a trip to Jon and my wedding venue back in 2008 and had cake tastings to pick out our wedding cake! We were a stone’s throw from Zaca Mesa back then. Here we are!
My how so many things have changed since back then! It was a lot warmer on our trip to Los Olivos this time around, and we enjoyed wine instead of wedding cake. But I do think as much great conversation occurred, as well as lots of laughter. As we approached Zaca Mesa Winery, we found ourselves in the middle of a bike race. It was a fun ride that covered 70 or 100 miles (rider’s choice) and many cyclists were enjoying a break on the grounds. We met up with Brittney Burrows, Zaca Mesa’s Communications & Social Media Manager who took us in to the member’s tasting room to start off our wine experience.
We tried quite a bit of wine and I have to tell you – one of my favorites was one called the Pinot Blanc – I have a very big star marked next to that one! My favorite red was the Z Cuvée and I bought a bottle and my aunt gifted me one as well My sister’s favorite was the Z Three (and my cousin’s too) and my aunt is a huge lover of white wine and I believe her favorite was the Roussane.
I’m pretty sure I made all the staff SUPER nervous holding this bottle. It contains over 6 bottles of wine and I had texted with my dad we should buy it. He said we could polish it off over a big family dinner! Challenge Accepted!
After some of the tastings, we took a break and enjoyed the special event day Zaca Mesa was having. They were celebrating the release of their new wine label as well as new wines with live music and great food. It was open to both members and non members. The bacon mac n cheese was AMAZING as was the pulled pork sliders with crunchy pickle. There is a great arrangement of seating to choose from.
Photo from Zaca Mesa Winery’s Facebook page
Brittney led us on a tour of their barrel room and as soon as we walked inside, you could hear all of our Ooohs and Aaahs. Our family loves wine and it’s an essential at all our gatherings. We enjoy the entire process that’s done since it’s lengthy and a lot of love & science goes into it!
My cousin snapping a pic of my sister
Enjoying the barrels! Also noted we’re in exact reverse order of the first photo I shared from 7 years ago!
And here are my
Top 5 Tips for the Best Winery Experience!
1. Bring Friends
Everything is better with friends. You are given an opportunity on the drive up to catch up, and a beautiful atmosphere to grab some photos and laugh more while you enjoy some wine.
2. Bring Food
If the winery you’re visiting does not have an event going on (don’t forget to check their event calendar!), almost every winery I’ve been to allows for you to bring in food. Stop by a grocery store on the way and grab meats, cheeses, bread & fruit! All that will pair well with wines.
3. Enjoy A Private Tour
When you’re on a private tour, you’re able to gain a lot of knowledge and insight on what occurs “behind the scenes” at a winery. For example, Brittney shared that many of the wine makers like to create their own wines as trials with certain blends and use smaller containers like this one to test it out. You also learn a lot of the history of the winery, and other pieces of information you might now know otherwise. For example, we learned that Zaca Mesa does not use all of their 750 acres to grow grapes. They use less than half and follow the code created in 2002 on sustainability by the California Wine Institute and California Association of Winegrape Growers.
We also found out more of the actual wine process and I learned that the grapes created for Rosé are put through their bladder press to remove the juice but leave the skin behind.
4. Become A Wine Member
There are many perks to becoming a wine member – but the best is receiving a shipment of wine every few months. At Zaca Mesa, members are also able to experience a separate wine tasting than the one for the general public.
5. Be Adventurous
When trying different wine flights, sometimes they’re grouped by varietals – reds & whites. Other places have them split by classification (some wineries carry 2 types of wines and will split flights based on that). Either way – don’t stick to what you love. Try another variety and you could find a new favorite! I am not a white wine drinker but I really had some favorites with a few types.
Thank you Zaca Mesa Winery for inviting my family and me to experience all you have to offer. We had an amazing day and everyone we encountered was SO friendly and helpful!
Zaca Mesa Winery
6905 Foxen Canyon Rd.
Los Olivos, CA