Tag Archives: Thousand Oaks

BACK TO SUNLAND WINES TASTING ROOM

On Saturday, Dorianne had a late-morning appointment with her allergist, and it just happened to be in the same shopping center where the Sunland Vintage Winery Tasting Room (Link) is located in Thousand Oaks, CA. The proprietors, Michael and Debby Giovinazzo, were in when I peeked in the door at 11:00 am (the sign said they open at 1:00 pm). I asked if they were open and was invited in.

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The Tasting Room at Sunland Vintage Wines – shared with Alma Sol Wines.

I blogged about their Tantalizing Thursday Events (LINK), where they combine $5 per glass wine with a food truck in the parking lot two weeks ago. That event was so crowded, that I was unable to have a conversation with Mike or Debby, so I returned to do just that.

Mike and Debby have been in the wine business for five years. Their wines are produced in Lodi, CA, and sourced from all over the state. His goal, he said, was to bring Italian Varietals to Southern California, which his Giovinazzo Wines label does, and does very well. There is also a newer label, SVI Wines with more traditional varietals – Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Malbec, and Albarino. 

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Total production this year is 1350 cases, making Sunland Vintage Winery a small producer, but one with great variety. Mike told me that he just contracted for some Dolcetto fruit from Northern California growers that he is excited about. Mike and Debby clearly love being in and talking about, the wine business, and it looks like they have carved out a nice niche for themselves with their Italian Varietals and blends.

If you are in the area, check them out.

WINE TASTING & LOBSTER TRUCK COMBINATION

Here in the Thousand Oaks/Malibu, CA area, we are awash in wine – a good thing. There are over twenty wineries in the two Malibu AVA’s, and a lot of tasting rooms, wine bars, and wine-centric retailers in the Thousand Oaks/Westlake Village area. The competition is growing as the area is developing into a wine destination. Last night, a groups of us joined a large crowd at Sunland Vintage Winery Tasting Room (Link) in Thousand Oaks. The proprietors, Michael and Debby Giovinazzo, held court in a bustling tasting room, pouring $5 glasses of wine for their Thursday evening promotion Tantalizing Thursday, featuring different food trucks each week. Last night it was Cousin’s Maine Lobster Truck (Link), featuring lobster rolls, chowder, tacos and more. 2015-02-05 18.20.29 2015-02-05 18.20.44

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Tip Jar on the Lobster Truck

We settled in at a large table (nine of us), and ordered some wine from the server, Merissa. We started with the Albarino, a nicely crafted white that was perfect with lobster. The line for the Lobster Truck was long, but convivial. Then we headed into the land of the reds. Sunland has two labels, Giovinazzo Wines – Italian varietals like Nebbiolo, Dolcetto, Montepulciano, Sangiovese, Teroldego, and Barbera, and their SVI Brand – Premium Wines like Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Zinfandel, the Albarino,  and Bordeaux Blends. 2015-02-05 18.52.05 2015-02-05 18.51.36 The wines are very well crafted. It is very unusual to have so many Italian varietals from a California winery, so you have to give Sunland credit for being ambitious. We did not taste all of the wines – the $5 per glass format of the evening precluded that, but we did have a sampling. On the Italian side, the Giovinazzo Wines label, we tasted the Dolcetto (harsh and very acidic, and I usually like Dolcettos); Montepulciano (very nice, smooth and balanced, best of the night); Malbec (also nicely balanced, but not very distinctive). From the SVI Wines label, we had the Albarino (very nice, smooth, fruity, grassy); Zinfandel (very sweet, big, ripe, almost a dessert wine); Cabernet Sauvignon (well-crafted, balanced, nice fruit/mineral balance). I plan to return to get some time to taste some of these wines again and to try some of the others. I also want to speak to Mike and Debby when it is less hectic. Sunland Winery is a great addition to the Thousand Oaks wine scene.