Great wines and friendly people in California 와인마저 자유로운 캘리포니아

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Photos by Chun Eun Sue

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Monterey in California

It is awesome to find unknown fine wines from many wine regions in the wine country, France. But it’s also true that as a stranger I always have tension due to too many differences in cultures, life style etc. Interestingly however, I got something different feeling in California. It’s neither not my country, but I wasn’t nervous there. I felt calm, relax and special feeling of freedom in California.

Sanford winery shop of movie 'Side Way'

Sanford winery shop of movie ‘Side Way’

For the wines of California, I should say that California wines are not all about Napa. I definitely agree Napa Valley has many of good wine producers, however, there is not only Napa when we talk about California wine. Ridge Vineyards is an excellent example. It is located in Santa Cruz Mountains, where is about 80km south of California.

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Santa Barbara’s beautiful vineyard

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Santa Barbara’s beautiful vineyard

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Ridge vineyard’s view

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Ridge vineyard’s view

Santa Cruz Mountains was approved as ‘Santa Cruz Mountains Viticultural Appellation’ in 1981. Most of wineries here are family owned and small size ones. Ridge is one of, and it already has the world-wide reputation with its flagship wine, ‘Monte Bello’. But their winery looks just a small farm.

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The way to the Ridge vineyard

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Ridge winery’s outside view

The wine name ‘Monte Bello’ comes from the name of location where they are. In Monte Bello, I can found out the unique terroir, the sunshine during all the day time, very fresh weather from the Pacific, and mist. It’s the perfect region to produce Bordeaux grapes. Paul Draper explained all of these long stories and had a wine tasting together. He is the wine maker for over 40 years, and he is the key man who completes Ridge’s long-lasting reputation.

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Ridge winery’s winemaker, Paul Draper

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Ridge winery’s cave view

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Ridge winery’s Monte Bello wines

As he explained, the Ridge wines have typical Bordeaux style to represent the grape, Cabernet Sauvignon. We call Cabernet Sauvignon as ‘the King of grape’. I could realize the feeling of this king when I tasted Ridge’s Monte Bello. It had so much deepness and something more than complex.

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Ridge winery’s Monte Bello wines


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The vineyard in Paso Robles

If you let me chose the most beautiful wine region in California, I won’t spend even 1 second to pick up the name of Paso Robles. It is located exactly middle between San Francisco and LA. Paso Robles is very like Spain. The wine history here is also started with the Spanish missionary, Saint Miquel. He was the first grape producer of Paso Robles in 1797.

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The vineyard in Paso Robles

The 80% of wine is red, however the grapes are so much various, from the international grapes of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah and so on to others such as French Rhone grapes and Italian grapes. The wine style is also very unique to let you not forget the name, ‘Paso Robles’.

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Martin & Weyrich winery

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Martin & Weyrich winery

The winery I visited in Paso Robles was also remarkable, Martin & Weyrich winery. You can find the small sign which says ‘Villa Toscana’ in front of this winery. Now you can guess what they like very much. Martin & Weyrich is very much interested in Italian grapes and they always concentrate these grapes of Nebbiolo, Sangiovese etc. since 1981. Their wine has special characteristics like Paso Robles.

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Martin & Weyrich winery’s oak barrel view

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Martin & Weyrich winery’s SANGIOVESE wine

After tasting many kinds of wines, usually it makes me thirst. One producer who shows her huge vineyards, she told me in the middle of her vineyards that you have to taste this now, then, gave me a bottle of frizzing beer. I can’t forget the taste of this beer to relieve my thirst. California was like this. It made me relax, no more tension with great wines and friendly people.

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Martin & Weyrich winery’s CHARDONNAY wine

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Martin & Weyrich winery’s view


eun soo Contributor, Chun Eun Sue

Wine expert, Chun Eun Sue had worked in Korea best wine magazine as a senior marketing & international manager. Now she is working in the leading wine company in Korea. CultureM Magazine releases her wine & travel essay once a month.

와인 전문가 전은수씨는 국내 최고의 와인매거진에서 국, 내외 와인 마케팅을 담당했으며 현재 국내 와인회사에서 마케팅 및 홍보를 담당하고 있다. 해외 유명 와인산지를 직접 답사한 그녀의 생생한 이야기를 컬쳐엠매거진에서 공개한다.

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