From the Ventura County Star: Russ Briley Reports on New Winery In Town Four Brix

How is it Simi Valley winemakers can open a wine tasting bar in the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza and we’re still waiting for Pulchella to open one in downtown Newhall? No clue. But Russ Briley, of the Ventura County Star, has lent us his story of family winemakers turning their hobby into a reality:

In an unimposing Simi Valley neighborhood, about a dozen families have been involved in home winemaking for many years. Three of these families recently decided to step beyond the hobby aspect of wine-making to found Four Brix Winery.

On May 20, the Simons-gaard, Stewart, and Noonan families will open the Four Brix Winery tasting room in Thousand Oaks. It will be inside the popular WineYard wine bar, next to the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza.

They chose the name because their winemaking is inspired by the blended wines in France, Italy, Spain, and California. Brix is actually a measurement of how much sugar is in the grape, which is eventually converted to alcohol during fermentation.

I was able to sit down recently with Gary Stewart and Jim Noonan and taste Four Brix wines. I started off with Scosso, a super Tuscan blend of sangiovese, cabernet sauvignon and merlot. I moved on to Rhondezvous, a Rhone blend of syrah, mourvedre, grenache and counoise and then to Zeductive, a blend of zinfandel and petite sirah. Overall, I was very impressed with the quality of Four Brix wines.

During the tasting, I learned that Four Brix produces six blended wines from 11 different varietals. Four Brix purchased grapes from six wine-growing regions and produced 600 cases with its 2008 vintage. Many wineries get grapes from one growing area, but Four Brix wants to get the best grapes from the best areas and not limit quality.

Before Four Brix opens its tasting room, it will hold a coming-out party at Lost Canyons Golf Club in Simi Valley on April 24. If you are interested in tickets, visit Four Brix on its Web site at

— Russ Briley is The Star’s senior director of circulation sales, west region. An amateur wine enthusiast, Briley attends wine certification classes and studies area wineries and their stock. E-mail him at (Reprinted with permission, Russ Briley, Ventura County Star.