Alma Sol Winery–Heard It On The Grapevine–What’s up, What’s hot, Ventura County’s Local Wineries


By Raven West

John and Lisa Shaw

John and Lisa Shaw

Located only a few blocks west of the Hampshire Boulevard exit off the 101, Alma Sol winery brings the best of Paso Robles appellation home to Thousand Oaks.

Owned and operated by John Shaw and his wife Lisa Cuevas, Alma Sol is a micro-boutique winery that showcases the wonderful Cabernet fruit that is grown on  Lisa’s family vineyard in Paso Robles.

John’s path to a wine making career was a rather unusual one. His work in the publishing industry over the years allowed him to discover a surprising commonality between the wine business and publishing.

“Working in the publishing industry, Lisa and I have attended a number of conferences and have done a lot of entertaining with authors and editors. We found that going out for fine dinners we really learned about wine and food paring from people in the wine industry and discovered an appreciation of wine and food that really helped educate our palates.”

“Lisa’s family are the growers and we’re the winery,” John added. “They grow Cabernet Sauvignon and have been selling the fruit to one major winery, but they never produced their own wine. So, they never knew at the end of the year or the next year where their wine was, or what it tasted like. We all knew is, we had something great, but didn’t have a way to share it with wine enthusiasts locally with until we opened Alma Sol.”

John says that naming the winery was just as important as the wine itself.

“Naming our winery really meant a lot to Lisa and me because everything is very personal to us. It probably took us about a year to really break down words and think about who were.  To look inside and say what is it that we’re trying to represent?  What is it that will represent us? It wasn’t going to be our names.  That wouldn’t to work. We had long lists of words and drawings that we looked at for a long time.  Then we put two words together from Lisa’s list and mine and choose Alma which means soul, and Sol, which means sun.”

John and Lisa felt that everything in life needs these two elements to thrive.  “Vines and fruit have to have sun to thrive and each vine and grape has its own soul, Alma Sol Logowhich makes them unique. We both love being outdoors.” John is originally from Hawaii. “We wanted to find something that represented who we are. We finally came up with the name on a trip to Mendoza, Argentina. It was very important that we found a logo that symbolized the name. We found an image of an ancient sun cross which fits into the sun part of our name and we redrew it so it’s our hand interpretation of our name.  And the red, black and white colors stand out really well.”

John decided from the start to focus on only a few varietals. Their main one being Cabernet Sauvignon, produced with the fruit from the family’s winery. Their philosophy is not to make more than you know how to sell. “Grow into your shoes” is a strong belief of both John and Lisa.

Alma Sol’s tasting flight includes a 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley, a 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon, Paso Robles. A 2010 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, Paso Robles, a 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley, and a 2011 Cuevas Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon. They also produce a 2011 Merlot, Paso Robles, a 2011 Meritage, Paso Robles, and a 2013 Sauvignon Blanc, Paso Robles.

Although a short list, when it comes to focusing on a great wine, sometimes less is more.

“One thing we learned along the way is focus,” John said. “Just focus on what you love and what you love to drink and everything falls into place.”

Stays focused, and stay exceptional!

Alma Sol
1321 E. Thousand Oaks Blvd.,
Thousand Oaks
Tasting Room Hours:
Friday: 6:00-9:00PM, Saturday 1:00-6:00 PM, Sunday 2:00-5:00 PM.

Alma Sol Selection

Alma Sol Selection













Alma Sol Tasting Party

Alma Sol Tasting Party














Raven West

Raven West


Named in the TOP 50 Authors by

Raven West is a free-lance writer and published author who has lived in Ventura County for more than twenty years. She has an extensive knowledge of local wineries from Thousand Oaks to Ojai and will be covering special events which take place at the tasting rooms throughout the year.


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