Monday, April 30, 2007

A Quiet Road to Lompoc

Dashing Pinot Noirs and Syrahs, rolling vineyards, picturesque roads, and breathtaking valleys has put Santa Barbara county on the wine map. But there's a little town, one off the beaten track, set in the middle of farms and industrial warehouses that sets itself apart from the others in Santa Barbara.

Some call Lompoc (pronounced 'Lom-poke' not 'Lom-pock') the wine ghetto because it doesn't quite display the characteristics of a typical wine country. But a lot of wine lovers are starting to realize that Lompoc's incredible wines has been helping the city redefine itself from a wine ghetto into the epitome of everything that's great about Santa Barbara's wine scene.

Our first stop into Lompoc began at Melville, a Mediterranean-style winery located in Santa Rita Hills. Their tasting room is super chill and homey since it looks out to the vines outside. Melville's tasting list is quite long and the Pinots get better as we went down that long list. There are definitely great Pinots over at Melville. I also really love the family and friends who run Melville. We first heard about Melville through our favorite bartender at the Hitching Post. His father, Ron Melville happens to own the vineyard and Brent Melville, the bartender manages the vines. They're good people over at Melville. I highly recommend a stop here.

When I saw the word "clone" all I can imagine are images of human clones like the ones on that silly sci-fi movie The Island. But erase those thoughts. Erase erase erase. Clones are a group of vines that came from a single parent vine via grafting. They are genetically identical to the parent plant and are usually selected for specific characteristics (i.e color, flavor, etc.) In other words, clones are just a genetic variation of that varietal. Ah-hah, learned something new here at Oishii Eats.

Next stop, Palmina! Hidden behind an OSH Home and Garden and several warehouses you'll find our beloved Palmina. This is where wine snobs will utter, "This is so ghetto." Palmina may not have arched gates and a lavish facade, but what they do have our some great Italian-style wines.

Although the Palmina's exterior is nothing but steel walls in an industrial park, the tasting room is comfortable. Tastings are done over a large wood picnic table where you can drink and chat with other visitors. Palmino's Nebbiolo and barbera were excellent.

I appreciate Palmina for their love for wine and food. Tastings include delicious breadsticks from Italy and some yummy cheeses.

Our last stop of the day was at Foley Vineyard and Winery. I was looking forward to Foley after tasting their Pinot Noir Clone 2A at the Wine Cask Futures Tasting Event. Unfortunately, Foley had a so-so line-up of chardonnays and unimpressionable pinot noirs the day we came. We left sad and empty-handed. Sniff.

I really enjoyed our quiet day in Lompoc. Yes parts of Lompoc are gritty. Yes parts of Lompoc are industrial. But I think that's the appeal that draws me to Lompoc. I like the grittiness. I like the tasting rooms in warehouses. I love their wines.

Melville Vineyard & Winery
5185 East Hwy 246
Lompoc, CA 93436
(805) 735-5310
11am-4pm daily

1520 East Chestnut Court,
Lompoc, California 93436
(805) 735-2030
Thurs, Fri, & Sat 11am-4pm

Foley Estates Vineyard
6121 E Highway 246
Lompoc, Ca 93436
(805) 737-6222
10am-5pm daily

*On the way home, make sure to drop by the Costco in Goleta. They have a great wine selection, way better than the selection out here in LA.


H. C. said...

Heh, Lompoc generally triggers a whole different set of images for me -- mainly because it is one of the settings for Q is for Quarry.

domaine547 said...

Loring is building a new facility in Lompoc...don't think they have a tasting room at the moment but hopefully soon. They make some fine Pinot Noirs.

On the way home there's a nice little wine store off the 101, just off the Milpas exit I think. Go the opposite way from La Superica. There's also a decent burger joint. Wish I could remember the name(s).

Don't have any in stock right now but perhaps some day. For all of you interested in wine, check out our forum at and PLEASE contribute. We also have lots of info and a little store that sells -- you guessed it -- wine!


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