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Gentrified Wine Is Devine!

on 15/03/11 at 9:18 am


By Booze News reporter, D.R. Stewart

As the 101 North hits Calabasas a sign advertises “90 miles to wine country.” Wrong. Get off the 101, cut through the mountain pass and 9 miles later you are at the vineyards of Caro’s Ridge.

Granted, Debbie and David Valdez of Caro’s Ridge are only producing 300 cases a year, but they occupy a new breed of winemaker – the Gentleman Vintners of Malibu. Choosing to make vineyards in the ‘Boo is only for those who are really committed to the process. The tax on a one acre parcel of land is around $8000. Your choice of grapes are limited.  Says David: “The Malibu micro-climate has a lot of fog & cloud cover in our coastal areas – you risk mildew. But, it also has a temperate climate, not big temperature changes as the mountain areas where more extreme temp changes – this is where they plant Syrah.”

Debbie and David actually started out trying to protect themselves from having a MacMansion encroach on their lovely property. They bought the 3.5 acre property next door as insurance, and then realized the land could be more than a buffer. With helps from folks like Bob Tobias (the viticulturist), Corky Roche (the agronomist), and bottlers Camarillo Custom Crush – they were able to get a nice bottle of Chardonnay out of their land. David said with his current chardonnay (’09) “I wanted to have less oak.” 

They had been told they could only grow chard with the Malibu micro-climate, when their neighbor – Tony Griffin of Griffin Family Vineyard said he was getting malbec to work. Now they have both a red and a white courtesy of Mr. Griffin, who — Yes, is related to that Griffin (Merv). Son thereof.

Griffin, daughter Farah, wife Tricia

Among the 40-or-so wines being grown in Malibu right now are Saddle Rock, Rosenthal, Malibu Sanity, Malibu Rocky Oaks, and Cielo Farms. There is even a wine tour dedicated to the area and some talk of forming a Malibu association of Vintners – oh yeah, bring it Napa! Malibu wines pop up at LA restaurants and the PC Green’s market on the PCH has a neat little shelf dedicated to local wines. Then, slide over to D’Amores. They got pizza by the slice, and a wall covered with photographic evidence of the celebs who have sampled. You’re standing on the same spot Lindsay did, when Ms. Lohan got her pie.  Could a Lohan label Malibu wine be next?  While waiting for this development, we encourage you to enjoy the Caro’s Ridge wines, which average around a $30-ish a bottle.  If you’re not in the Malibu area, contact the Caro’s Ridge website for further info about purchasing.

Caro’s Ridge Vineyard

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