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Villa Vallecito Vineyards
November 13, 2013 | Villa Vallecito Vineyards

Welcome to La Familia!

Villa Vallecito Vineyards would like to welcome Bethany Jennings as the newest member of our team! 

Born in southern California and raised in the beautiful wine country of Paso Robles, Bethany has an extensive culinary background that has given her the opportunity to explore the food and wine industry.

After graduating from Paso Robles High School, she landed her first baking job at The House of Bread. From there she moved on to bake for such places as the Three Dog Bakery, The Carlton Hotel and Bakery, Brian's Sourdough Breads, and the legendary Madonna Inn in San Luis Obispo where she learned the secret behind the pink frosted champagne cake with its trademark pink chocolate curls.

After starting her own family, she joined the even bigger Opolo family, taking on the largest harvest party on the Central Coast. Hosting up to 650 people a night, the Harvest Festival "I Love Lucy Style", spring boarded her into the wine industry. Soon she was utilizing her culinary skills and working with the co-wine maker and caterers to plan wine pairing menus for pick up parties, wine festivals, zin festivals, and special events as well as the Food and Wine pairings on the Patio, and events at both the sister site in Westlake Village and the Opolo Bed and Breakfast.

During her time in Paso Robles she served on the Paso Robles Wine Festival Committee and helped with the Pinot and Paella Festival in Templeton, California. 

When she isn't working, you can find her at home whipping up sweet and savory concoctions while sharing the excitement of cooking and baking with her two young children. 

Her passion for food and wine makes Bethany a perfect fit for Villa Vallecito Vineyards. We look forward to sharing our mutual love of food, wine, and most importantly, hosting events for our wine club members, friends, and family. We can't wait to see what the future holds for us all!

As Bethany joins us, we'd like to take a moment to thank Kelsey Marcos who is leaving the vineyards to pursue a career in Equine Dentistry in Minnesota. We want to express our deep appreciation for all her hard work and all she did during her time with us. She will be missed and we hope you will all join us in wishing her luck on her grand adventure. 

Bethany's first event will be our December 7th Christmas Barrel Tasting with Ghee and our wine maker Nate. We hope to see as many of you there as possible and please introduce yourself to Bethany. As she says, you can't miss her; she'll be the tallest one in the room.

If you can't make it to our Christmas Party please head on down to our tasting room located at 263 Main Street Suite C in Murphy's. Many Blessings and Happy Holidays! The VVV Staff

Time Posted: Nov 13, 2013 at 10:08 AM Permalink to Welcome to La Familia! Permalink
Dre Edwards
December 3, 2012 | Dre Edwards

Old World Grape Harvest in Murphys

In the early morning, before the sun begins to crest above the mountains, I can hear a tractor chugging, making its way through the vineyard.  I sip my coffee in the semi-darkness, enjoying the unmistakable feeling of a morning on the brink of Autumn.  Listening to the early birds all around me, catching their worms, I watch the sun’s first rays light up the vineyard.   The vines, a sea of green with waves of yellow, orange, and red, so recently heavy with fruit, are now free of their burden.  The pickers drop the last bin of grapes in a long row at the winery just as our crew begins to arrive, having left only a few hours before.  A new day has begun.

I’ve been to Napa, and have watched their high tech equipment sort grapes with a speed and efficiency we will never be able to match.  Here in Murphys, as we near the end of harvest and our backs are aching, our hands are stained and caked with tartrates, and we have barely slept, you would think we would be envious.  But as our crew stands together around the table, hand sorting grapes to a rhythm that transcends music, I know I wouldn’t trade our Old World techniques for anything.

Under the direction of Winemaker Nathan Vader, who makes wine for Vina Moda and Villa Vallecito Vineyards in Murphys, as well as Euclid out of Napa, our crew has spent eight straight weeks in each other’s company.  From early morning, through the afternoon, and into the night, when we can feel the breeze from New Melones meet the heat of the day rising from the blacktop at our feet, we sort the grapes we have come to know intimately.  By varietal, we know their taste, color and smell, the thickness of their skins, the way they feel in our hands and all of the characteristics that set them apart from the rest.  Anything less than perfection is deftly tossed into the compost bin, where it will give new life to next year’s crop.

We have come together to create something beautiful, a work of art, and as the clusters of grapes move through our hands, any pretenses or ego that may follow us in our day to day life vanish.  We work together, laugh together, trade words of wisdom and tell stories of our pasts.  We take turns providing a feast at twilight each day, just as harvest crews around the world have done for generations, sitting together and replenishing ourselves for the long hours still ahead.  When the moon has risen high above our heads, we pass around a bottle of a previous vintage for inspiration and talk of loves lost and found, triumphs and tragedies, hopes and fears.  After so many hours, days, and weeks together, we aren’t able to be anyone but who we truly are.  Here, we are family.

Our crew, getting ready to tackle Grenache on the last day of crush.

Napa may have fancy equipment, and their wine may command a higher price.  But this community, this wine, has heart and depth that reminds me of a bygone era.  Wine was meant to be made with passion and care, dedication and hard work.  I like to think that the Old World winemakers would be proud, knowing that we are carrying on their traditions.

Note: This article was originally published in the November 2012 edition of The Mountain Chronicle.

Time Posted: Dec 3, 2012 at 10:48 AM Permalink to Old World Grape Harvest in Murphys Permalink
Dre Edwards
June 18, 2012 | Dre Edwards

Introducing Villa Vallecito Vineyards, Winery & Tasting Room

For many years, Villa Vallecito Vineyards was just that - 12 acres of Vineyards surrounding the Vallecito home of Ghee and Alan Hagedorn.

In 2008, after tending the vineyards for 7 years and selling the grapes to wineries throughout the Sierra Foothills, Ghee and Alan decided to ask winemaker Nathan Vader to custom crush a few cases of Barbera for their personal enjoyment.

The result was our amazing 2008 Barbera, which was awarded a Bronze medal at the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition in 2011.  Receiving such an accolade on the first and only wine Villa Vallecito Vineyards ever produced led to a major decision: Villa Vallecito Vineyards would become a Winery.

And so, in the fall of 2010, Villa Vallecito Vineyards harvested their grapes as usual, this time keeping much of the fruit to make their own wine, rather than selling it all to other wineries.  Viognier, Cabernet Sauvignon, Barbera, Grenache and Syrah all made their way to the winery where they began the process to become the stellar wines they are today.

We hope you will enjoy them as much as we do!

Time Posted: Jun 18, 2012 at 2:23 PM Permalink to Introducing Villa Vallecito Vineyards, Winery & Tasting Room Permalink