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


By Raven West

Linda Hunter, Owner of The Wine Closet

Linda Hunter, Owner of The Wine Closet

If you ever wanted to have the perfect relationship with a bottle of wine, visit Linda Hunter, the proprietor of The Wine Closet, a warm, intimate tasting room located in Old Town Camarillo.

The unofficial “Wine Matchmaker”, Linda prides herself on not only knowing the vintage, region and winery from where each of her 250 labels originate. She also is well versed on each one’s unique story.

“That’s the nice thing about having a small, very specific wine store,” she said. “I know something about each and every bottle of wine I carry. There’s a story behind every bottle and I know them all.  Every wine has its own personality and I’ll know pretty quickly, after I talk to a customer, which personality will be the perfect match for them.”

You won’t need an intricate knowledge of winery lingo for Linda to pick the perfect selection for your tastes, in an environment that will feel relaxed and comfortable, whether you’re a casual wine drinker or a connoisseur.

“We’ve been at this location for five years,” Linda said. “It’s very important from me that I created a welcoming place with couches and tables that’s not pretentious. For a lot of people, wine tasting can be a very intimidating experience.  They may feel uncomfortable that they don’t know what words like “varietals” or “tannins” mean. We talk about wine the way they talk about wine. They describe to me exactly what flavors they like in a wine and I match their individual tastes to the bottle I know they’ll really enjoy.”

Enjoying a great bottle of wine is the way Linda chooses the selections she carries. The Wine Closet specializes in small production, artisan wines from vineyards all over California. They also have a selection of imports, each one personally hand selected and sampled by Linda. She doesn’t buy wines based on their price; she buys them because they taste good.

Party in The Closet

Party in The Closet

“That’s my criteria. We don’t carry what’s necessarily the most popular, or the most expensive. If it’s good and not great, we don’t carry it. If I don’t like it, I don’t buy it. We only sell wines we would drink ourselves, because life’s too short to drink mediocre wine!”

The Wine Closet carries a few very high-priced wines, some at $250 a bottle. Because she believes everyone should have the opportunity to taste all wine, even pricey labels, Linda has found a way for her guests to taste even the most expensive wine on the rack, using a device called the Coravin System.

The Coravin System works by using a thin, hollow needle that is inserted through the cork to extract the wine,” she explained. “You don’t need to remove the foil, or the cork, to access the wine. The bottle is then pressurized with argon. Once the bottle has been pressurized, the wine flows through the needle and pours into the glass. When the device is removed, the cork reseals itself. You never take the cork out.”

Even though it’s more of a store than a winery, the Wine Closet has its own unique wine club; the Closet Wino Wine Club with three levels of memberships to choose from – all reds, all whites or mix-and-match.

Lost of Wine in The Closet

Lots of Wine in The Closet

“When you’re a member of our wine club you get to try something different all the time. In a lot of wine stores you’ll look for the label you’re familiar with, but here you’ll see a number of wines you’ve never heard of before, so the club gives you a chance to really have fun tasting with new wines. People who enjoy wine are really fun to be around. It’s exciting to drink something different every day.”

Every Thursday, The Wine Closet will have a theme based on a particular winery or region. They also invite local wine makers to come in, talk about,  and pour their wines. Linda also sells a selection of gourmet cheese platters and homemade hummus to pair with the wine. Full meals can be ordered from nearby restaurants Old Town Tavern and Verona Trattoria, who will deliver to the Wine Closet at no extra charge, so you can enjoy the wine with their food. The Wine Closet also features 35 hand crafted beers for sale by the bottle to drink on site or take home.

Find the perfect match for you and your wine at the Wine Closet. It’s a marriage that will last a lifetime!

The Wine Closet is located at 2423 Ventura Boulevard, Old Town Camarillo

The retail shop is open Tuesday 12-7pm, Wednesday 12-7pm, Thursday 12-9pm, Friday 12-9pm & Saturday 12-9pm, closed on Sunday & Monday.

The wine and beer bar is open daily with wine available by-the-glass and beer by-the-bottle. Wine tasting is available Thursday, Friday & Saturday.

 Also available for small, private parties of up to 30 guests.

For more information, call Linda at: 805-746-5708

Click here to take a Virtual Tour of The Wine Closet


Raven West

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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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