Dracaena Wines

Out and About

Central Coast – Day 4 – learning from the pros

There it is ladies and gents. The first vintage of Dracaena Wines. 2013 Cabernet Franc.
 As you can see, we did some barrel sampling. It is amazing how there can be subtle differences between individual barrels. We have decided to rack on Sunday. This will get the wine off lees, aerate the wine, and we will put it back in barrel. This will combine the two barrels and bring those nuances together to create a more harmonious wine. 

We took a drive to the vineyard  and got a peek at our next vintage while it was still on the vine.  As you can see, we have some veraison.  Typically, once you see the grapes changing it is 6-8 weeks until we will harvest.

Oh, what a beautiful site.  More berries turning. We saw very little shatter, (flowers that were not pollinated) so it looks like it will be a high yield this year.  Our fruit is from the West Side Ranch. 
We spent several hours hashing out logistics for bottling, getting corks and capsules.  Afterwards, we drove to Four Lanterns.   It never ceases to amaze me where you will make connections. Vegas, our weimaraner, is a rescue. We host a fundraiser twice a year for the rescue group that we got him from.  We call it “weim and cheese.”  Basically, people come to our house, we provide appetizers and we pour wine for them. In return, they make a donation directly to the rescue group. Well, one of the couples who came to one of our fundraisers saw on Facebook that Dracaena Wines was out of Paso Robles. She contacted me and told me her uncle had a winery in Paso. We connected and that is how we met Steve and Jackie from Four Lanterns. They were so helpful in answering questions we had and gave us wonderful advice. We feel so lucky to have met them and are looking forward to a maintaining the relationship. If you are in the area, you must make a stop to visit them. They are producing some great wines. Their Granache and Syrah are phenomenal. They also are producing some great whites. 
We ended our education with just enough time to visit two wineries before closing. 
Caliza

Tasting fee: $15 waived with a $50 purchase. Caliza is Spanish for limestone. The tasting room is bright and has three segmented sections plus a larger table for private tasting. Outside, there are a few tables with umbrellas alongside the winery.  Finally, there is a parking lot with shade available, so kudos to Caliza. We made no purchases.

Dark Star
Tasting fee: $10 waived with bottle purchase. The tasting room is adjacent to Brian Benson Cellars (their son). There is a country store feeling to the tasting room. Outside, woohoo they have loads of shade. It really baffles us why more wineries don’t have shade. They were not pouring the Cab Franc, but since we found out they source their fruit from the same vineyard, just a few rows away, we purchased a bottle and had them open it for us. While we were tasting, Norm, the winemaker, came and met us. He spent over an hour with us, answering questions, and giving some great advice.  We ended buying two more bottles for a total of three 2011 Cab Franc. 
What a great day. One of the things we love about this area is that people are willing to help each other.  Both Steven from Four Lanterns and Norm from Dark Star took time out of their day( very busy days) to talk to us and share their knowledge. They didn’t have to, they got nothing from us, yet they were willing to spend their time with us. We can not thank them enough, and words don’t describe how appreciative we are. Some day we hope to Pay it Forward. 

Sláinte!