Rancho Ventavo Cellars–Heard It On The Grapevine–What’s up, What’s hot, Ventura County’s Local Wineries

 

Rancho Ventavo Cellars

Rancho Ventavo Cellars

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Co-owners Faye Hawkes and wine maker George Gilpatrick

When you visit Rancho Ventavo Cellars, you really are treated like family. Co-owners Faye Hawkes and wine maker George Gilpatrick introduce their wine club members to one-another as “cousins” with a warm and welcoming smile that will remind you of your favorite aunt or uncle, or wish you had one.

That home-style warmth is an extension of the tasting room itself. Located in downtown Oxnard at Heritage Square, Rancho Ventavo Cellars tasting room resides in one of the eleven homes which were moved to a single block and restored to their original condition and opened to the public in 1991. If not for the many racks of wine and modern wine accessories in their gift boutique, you would think you took a giant leap back in time once you crossed the threshold.

“This is the Scarlett House. It was built in 1902 and is Oxnard’s oldest Victorian home,” Faye pointed out with pride. “That’s the original Tiffany fishscale chandelier hanging above the wooden staircase that leads to our second story banquet room with oak paneled walls and an inviting fireplace. Our tasting room surrounds you with old-time craftsmanship and warmth that only an old home can express.”

Although they offer the largest collection of red wines in Ventura County, George and Faye also treat each individual wine like it was one of their children. When asked which one of the 45 wines in their collection he likes best, George was very reluctant to name one over the other, each having a very special place not only on the wine rack, but in his heart as well.

But when I pressed him to name one or two, he admitted his favorites are the ‘06 Zinfandel – Sierra Foothills (Amador) and the ’06 Cabernet Sauvignon/Syrah – Paso rv3Robles.  “When we go out for dinner,” George said, “we almost always take a bottle of the ’06 Cab/Syrah. It’s the “little black dress wine,” as Faye likes to call it, “because it goes with everything.”

Several restaurants in Ventura County agree. Rancho Ventavo partners with Twenty88 Wine Bistro in Camarillo, The Waterside Restaurant and Wine Bar, Dominick’s Italian Restaurant, and The Kitchen, in Oxnard and the Aloha Steakhouse, and Café Zack in Ventura, to name a few places that will waive the corking fee if you bring your own wine purchased at Rancho Ventavo.

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Wine Maker George Gilpatrick

Or, if you prefer to try something different, Rancho Ventavo offers not one, but two different tasting flights, that are changed out on a monthly basis; the Red Wine Tasting Flight – an offering of five different varietals ranging from 2005 to 2010 vintages, and the Vertical Tasting Flight – an offering of five vintages of a single varietal ranging from 2005 to 2010.

Of course, what would a family be without celebrations and parties? In addition to the free concerts that take place throughout the year in Heritage Square, Rancho Ventavo Cellars plans their own special events every month.

“We’re all about small, intimate events and unique events,” Faye says. “On Sunday, April 13th we will be having our Tax Relief Celebration where we’ll pay the sales tax on all purchases. For a bit of a twist on the traditional children’s Easter Egg hunt, on Sunday, April 20th, we’ll be hiding colorful wine corks throughout the tasting room for the adults to find.”

April is also their Wine Club Appreciation and Selection Month with pick-up parties scheduled throughout the month for the cellar’s many “cousins”.

The entire two-story house is also available to rent for wedding receptions and private parties for up to sixty guests. For additional information, call Faye (805) 483-8084 or email [email protected]

Rancho Ventavo Cellars is located 4 miles south of the 101 freeway at 741 South “A” Street, in Oxnard. The Tasting Room is open Fri-Sat-Sun 11:00 AM – 6:00 PM and on “select” Monday holidays.  For future events and details on joining their wine club, visit the Rancho Ventavo Cellars website.

Next Week: Four Brix Winery

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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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