Clos des Amis Vineyard


By Raven West

Clos des Amis

A Truly Local Wine Experience… from Grapes to Bottle To Glass


Bruce Freeman’s hands are covered with blue stains from the hours he’s spent hand-picking, pressing. and bottling his signature wines at Clos des Amis in Santa Paula. With his commitment to “all things local”, Bruce takes an enormous amount of pride that his years of dedication to his mission has produced some of the best local wines in Ventura County.

“We source our fruit exclusively from Ventura County vineyards,” Bruce said. “After nearly twenty years pursuing our dream of using established vineyards in Ventura County to make locally grown, locally made wines. We’ve always had a passionate belief that Ventura County has what it takes in terms of climate and terroir to grow the grapes for world class wines. Now we have the wine to prove it!”GE DIGITAL CAMERA

“Clos des Amis” is French for “Circle of Friends” or “Enclosure of Friends”, Bruce explained.

“And just as the it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a well-educated and experienced “Circle of Friends” to create a successful winery. Bruce and his viticulture partner, Martin Ramirez, set out to use only local grapes to produce local wine, but Bruce and Marin didn’t achieve their success alone. Bruce had a “little” help from his friends and mentors; Adam Tolmach of The Ojai Vineyard and Brooks Painter, who was recently named the Andre Tchelistcheff Winemaker of the Year by the San Francisco International Wine Competition

“As we planted different varieties and experimented with different parts of Ventura County, we found distinctly different expressions that made GE DIGITAL CAMERAthe process so much fun. And our new location right here in Santa Paula was the perfect setting for everything we needed and more.”

Over the hill, just beyond the winery, is where the grape vines are planted in diatomaceous earth, producing varieties that are very distinctive. The soil in the adjoining hill is clay and the next part of that same hill is a little sandier. All of which was underwater hundreds of years ago and saturated with marine deposits that have been uplifted over the centuries. The adobe building where the wine is produced is made of 14 inch thick adobe walls that create a natural insolation.

As a professional artist, Bruce personally selected the designs that adorn the wine labels. To tie in the localness of Ventura County, he uses GE DIGITAL CAMERAChumash Indian images that continue the strong connection between the local origins of not only the wine inside the bottle, but the label on the bottles as well.

The designs on the labels are Chumash Indian images that I selected from the museum. The curators have been nice to let me look at some of their artifacts. I have an abalone fish hook on the 2011 Chardonnay, deer bone flutes on the 2011 Pinot Noir, white sage is on the 2011 Pinot and others. I’ve also written a description of each on the back of the label.”

Clos des Amis produces white, red, and rose with grapes from Ventura county vineyards. The 2011 Chardonnay is from Mitchell Vineyard , the 2011 Rose from the Rich Vineyard in Upper Ojai. The 2011 Pinot Noir is from Bryman Vineyard in the easternmost region of Camarillo. Another 2011 Pinot Noir is from the Banman Vineyard located on the foothills near Santa Paula. The 2011 Syrah from the Kornhaber Vineyard in Ojai and the 2011 blend of McDonald Vineyard Syrah Noir with a Baker Vineyard Durell Clone

For now, Clos des Amis produces only a couple of cases a year, but with the new location, Bruce is looking to increase that aGE DIGITAL CAMERAmount ten-fold over the next few years. With grapes grown, produced, and enjoyed right here in Ventura County!

Although Clos Des Amis doesn’t have a tasting room, you can purchase their wines at Santa Cruz Market and Paradise Pantry in Ventura. They can also be ordered on their website, by phone, fax, or mail. Shipping is free.

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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