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


“Over a bottle of wine, many a friend is found”

By Raven West

Owners Ed and Stephanie Schwartz

Owners Ed and Stephanie Schwartz

At first glance, you may be amazed at the maze painted in bright red on the wall above the rows of wine in the tasting room at Labyrinth Winery. It will only take a moment for owners Ed and Stephanie Schwartz to explain the significance of their impressive logo as it pertains to their passion for excellent wine.

“The Labyrinth is a powerful icon of ancient Bronze age origin,” explained Ed. “It’s steeped in mythological significance. The labyrinth symbolizes a pathway of mystery, bewilderment, secrecy, security and enlightenment. Like a great wine, you can get lost in the smell, the taste and the nuances of every varietal.”

It’s also the reason that their high-end line of Burgundian-style wines is bottled with the Labyrinth label.  “We’ll produce 20 barrels of Pinot Noir and the few we think are exceptional we label under the Labyrinth name. It’s a little more elegant, with slight nuances that make the difference. It’s the best of the best.”

The name of Labyrinth’s other label; the HAKA is also steeped heavily in tradition.  Winemaker Ariki (Rick) Hill is a New Zealand native of Maori descent. HAKA is a powerful, Maori dance form that incorporates words, actions, rhythm, history and life force. The label HAKA stands for a bigger, bolder style of wine.

If your musical tastes are on the calmer side, Labyrinth Winery hosts several live music events by a host of local talent, including guitar player and singer, Warren Takahashi. who plays a variety of music, including Sinatra, Van Morrison and Wilson Pickett. For lovers of Spanish Guitar, Shaun Sanders entertains on the weekends and Ashun, a guitar virtuoso who excels in Jazz, Classical, Flamenco & Rock provides the ambiance.  For something a bit more exotic, Ventura’s own psychic, Debbie Senate, gives lectures and readings in the Tasting Room.

And what better way to taste your way out of the sometimes confusing winery maze than to take a few classes at Labyrinth?

“Once a month we have a wine education class called wine “symposiums” after the Greek definition for a drinking party held after a banquet,” Ed said. “On June 8 we have the ‘Grand Tour of Italy’; on July 13, we’ll do the ‘Old World vs New World’ and on August 8 we will conduct an ‘Intro to Wine Tasting and

Labyrinth Tasting Room

Labyrinth Tasting Room

Appreciation’ symposium.”

To help the environment, there are plans to hold cork crafting classes, using recycled corks from opening wine bottles in the tasting room. Those who wish to take the class can bring their own used corks as well.

To add to the extended education of wine in all aspects of life, Labyrinth hosts wine and chocolate parings parties with Labyrinth’s resident Sommelier, Gregory Leon.

The HAKA label includes two white wines; a 2011 Chardonnay and a  2010 “Slow Waltz” Viognier. They feature one 2013 Rose, and the rest of the flights are reds;  2012 Pinot Noir, 2012 Tempranillo, 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon, 2011 Petite Sirah, 2012 Petit Verdot, 2008 Pinot Noir,  2005 RESERVE Pinot Noir and a 2010 Freebird blend that’s 50% Merlot, 40% Tempranillo, 5% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Petit Verdot.

The Labyrinth label flight features a vertical of Pinot Noir from 2000, 2009 and two 2011 Pinot Noir from Santa Rita Hills and Santa Barbara County.

Enter the Labyrinth maze of knowledge and enjoyment; you may never want to leave!                                  

Wine and Chocolate Symposium

Wine and Chocolate Symposium


607 East Main Street, Suite D, Ventura CA

(805) 585-2238


Wednesday – Friday: 3 to 8pm

Saturday: Noon to 9pm – Sunday: Noon to 6pm

Please visit their website for dates and times of upcoming events.


Raven West

Raven West: Find her books on

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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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