This week Beaconeers get a glimpse inside Santa Clarita’s only winery tasting room and hear about their upcoming first wine pairing dinner. Downtown Newhall is the home of Pulchella Winery, run by two local couples with grapes from Paso Robles. And, on June 23 at Salt Creek Grille (reminder: this post is from 2011), will be their first local wine pairing dinner. Whether you’ve made it to the tasting room and signed on as an inaugural member or not, you can support a local business, have a great wine dinner, and meet Steve and Megan Lemley and Nate and Jennifer Hasper…and many other local wine-minded peeps if you can come. Here’s a 4-question interview I did with Steve Lemley recently to get you up to speed:
1. Tell us about you and Nate, how did this winery idea get started?
Nate and I had been making wine separately for many years but in 2004 decided to join forces and start blending our two winemaking styles into one. Still being home winemakers at the time, we started contracting small lots of grapes from some of Paso’s finest vineyards. One of which is Janes Ranch Vineyard. Owned by the Janes family and managed by Richard Sauret ™. Richard is known as the Pioneer of grape farming in Paso Robles and is a legend in the entire industry. We were super excited about the opportunity to make wine from his amazing vineyards.
A year later, we had let many friends and fellow Santa Clarita Vintners and Growers Association members sample some of the wines made. The response and support was very good and we now knew blending our two winemaking skills together had created something unique and oddly simplistic. A short time later Richard had called us after tasting the wines and told us that we had something in our winemaking styles that he doesn’t see very often and said that we were “doing it better than many in the Paso area”, not change a thing and keep it up. Richard is a humble man of few words so when we got the call it sparked the already lingering area to go commercial. In 2006 we did and the rest is history.
2. Where are you getting your grapes and, which varietals are you focusing on?
Good question! We focus on selecting vineyards that offer truly unique characteristics normally overlooked by larger producing wineries. If we release a “Zinfandel” or “Syrah” it will always be a single vineyard wine. This allows us to showcase those unique characteristics from the vineyard. Although we do produce blends, this single vineyard method is our true passion because there is no room for error and if the wine has a flaw, it will be present in the final product. This method pushes us to keep perfection in mind throughout harvest time. Currently we are hold long-term contracts with many Westside vineyards including Janes Ranch Vineyard, Golden Cloud Vineyard, Volidores Vineyard, Bella Colina Estate Vineyards and a few more.
Although our focus will always be on producing concentrated Zinfandels, we love expanding our knowledge and are currently producing our now very popular “Everyday Red Blend”, Cabernet Sauvignon, Tempranillo, Grenache, Tannat, Syrah, A Syrah/Grenache Blend, Our Private Family Reserve blend, Cab Franc, a traditional Bordeaux style blend. A few others are being made exclusively for our Club Members only. We can’t thank everyone enough for the support shown. Our wine club has grown so quick from the time we opened the tasting room and by the end of summer, it will soon reach capacity. In the fall season, we will still offer a waiting list for our wine club. We will continue to mix it up every year to keep everyone excited about the different wine we can produce.
3. Where is your tasting room and what kind of experience should people expect there?
The tasting room is located at 24261 Main Street in the heart of the arts and entertainment district of Old Town Newhall. As we have children and enjoy our family time, we are only open Thursday thru Saturday from 5pm to 10pm. We are a true winery tasting room not a wine bar so we offer samples of our wines in a few different formats. The tasting room is relaxed and inviting. It has a lounge feel to it and is modern yet subtle. There is plenty of seating for groups to relax in as we offer you samples of our finest. Nate and I are there every week pouring our wines and never get tired of talking to everyone about our current releases, telling the “Pulchella” story and just enjoying our passion with everyone. We do not serve food but invite you to bring your “Picnic to Pulchella” and enjoy your own spread as many do every week. In the coming months, we will open our outdoor patio for everyone to enjoy as well. We like to think that you will have the feeling of being in Paso without the three-hour drive.
4. I know you support local events with your wine, tell people, where they might have already tasted “Dragonfly” or “Pulchella” before?
We love to support the local events and have participated in many over the years. The Santa Clarita Wine Fest was held recently and we enjoyed being a part of the event. We poured our wines at a fundraiser for the Circle Of Hope, The Vine to Wine Classic event.
Our favorite event of the Year is the “Sunset In The Vineyard”. It takes place in the beginning of November at a stunning private vineyard in Newhall. It is a wonderful display of our roots with the Santa Clarita Vintners and Growers Association members offering samples of their finest wines, many produced right here in the Santa Clarita area. You will not find more true passion for the craft that this event.
Co Owner/Co Winemaker