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

A weekly column on special events, grand openings and other festivities held at local wineries along the Ventura County Wine Trail

This week – Strey Cellars

Strey Logo

By Raven West

A Valentine’s Day gift to Ventura County, Strey Cellars opened their doors on February 14 and is as unique as their name. First time visitors are instantly immersed in the warm glow of blue and burgundy that gives this new winery a true feel of friends gathering in their neighbor’s basement for wine and fun.

scott and Katie

Scott Ballew and Katie Wiegers

Owners Scott Ballew and Katie Wiegers’s enthusiasm for their new winery is instantly contagious. The pouring counter was built by hand, brick by brick by family members; every detail is a true labor of love. The wines are made on the premises in the adjoining room, with grapes imported from Lodi and Paso Robles. 

Not only do they have an impressive tasting flight, but each offers a descriptive suggestion of how to enjoy the selection. The 2010 Syrah “wants more than to pair with BBQ, it wants it all”; the 2011 Tempranillo is just as happy being called “Temp” and the 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon, having been recently freed from spending 24 months in 40% New French Oak will “make your heart smile sip after sip.”


Hand built pouring counter

There are also two Zinfandels; a 2010 and a 2011 with plans to add least one every year. Next month they’ll be introducing their first white; a Sauvignon Blanc to the list.

In addition to the weekend wine tasting, several social activities are also being planned for the enjoyment of members and non-members who love the hands-on experience of bottling wine.

“Our first event will be the bottling party next month,” Katie said. “Because our case production is a lot smaller than some of the larger wineries, we hire a special bottling truck that comes right to the door. The truck is a bit smaller, so your bottling position is lot more important. One person will be assigned to put in the corks, another person will be making sure the labels are put on straight, etc., so when you see the finished bottle of 2011 Zinfandel, you’ll actually be able to say “I did that! It makes the process a bit more special. It’s a great experience to come and help bottle the wine.”

The first pickup party for wine club members is scheduled for the end of May and will be a weekend long event, not just a few hours by reservation.

Strey Wines“We’ll have hors d’oeuvres and music in the back room for our members,” Scott said, “and the tasting room will be open to the public, so everyone will be welcome to come in for a tasting and sign up for the wine club. It will be a very informal event, no special time or invitation necessary to come in and enjoy the wine with your friends.”

Welcome to Ventura, Strey Cellars and thank you for the great Valentine’s Day gift!

Strey Cellars is located at 951 North Rice Avenue in Oxnard. Open Saturday and Sunday from 11 am – 6 pm and weekdays for private parties of 6 or more. They can also accommodate up to 40 or 50 guest for any special events. (805) 988-1087. Free Parking.

Next Week: Rancho Ventavo Cellars


Raven West

Raven West


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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2 Responses to NEW FEATURE–Heard It On The Grapevine–What’s up, What’s hot, Ventura County’s Local Wineries

  1. William "Bill" Hicks March 28, 2014 at 11:52 am

    This may be an interesting place for political events. After a nice glass of Tempranillo, I might even run for office.

  2. William "Bill" Hicks March 28, 2014 at 11:49 am

    It sounds like a nice selection of reds, my favorites, with an upcoming favorite white of mine, sauvignon blanc.


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