The Alsace-inspired winery to offer vacationers a room with a view and a place at the bar
SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. – Longtime family-owned Edna Valley winery Claiborne & Churchill is thrilled to announce the completion of a beautifully renovated tasting room, along with new, charming wine country guest accommodations. These updates and new offerings make the popular San Luis Obispo winery a must-visit this coming tasting season.
Claiborne & Churchill, still run by original owners Claiborne Thompson and Fredericka Churchill Thompson, has been producing Alsatian-style “alternative whites” in San Luis Obispo since 1983. In 1995, Clay and Fredericka built their pioneering, eco-friendly strawbale-constructed winery and opened their tasting room in the Edna Valley, and over the years they have expanded their picturesque garden area to accommodate more guests and larger parties for tastings and seasonal events, such as their vibrant summer concert series called “Sips & Songs.”
Now, upscale indoor renovations to the winery’s welcoming tasting room (which is, to the delight of visitors, right in the barrel room!) allow the popular producer to accommodate more visitors comfortably. Updates to the interior include a new feature wall and a rolling barn door reclaimed from an old dairy barn on the property, attractive lighting, and a custom stone-topped bar with an expanded serving area and hooks to hang bags. The spacious tasting room is the perfect place to sip Claiborne & Churchill’s aromatic white wines and lush Pinot Noirs, and the recent addition of artisanal, imported cheese pairings from local cheese shop Fromagerie Sophie makes for a truly gourmet tasting experience. Longtime tasting room attendant Hilary Langdon is very pleased with the renovations. “Claiborne & Churchill has always been a beautiful, comfortable environment for guests and employees, but now there is just that added wow factor,” said Langdon. “We were ready for an update, but one that still expresses who we are deep down: an inviting, hospitable, relaxing place to enjoy wine and enjoy others.”
For guests who are interested in holding their own private parties at the winery, Claiborne & Churchill will be taking reservations for small, special events such as birthday, anniversary, and graduation parties.
As an accompaniment to their expanded gardens and interior updates, the Thompsons also spent the fall of 2015 remodeling a lovely, two-bedroom duplex cottage next door to the winery. In the spirit of family and team work, it was a project everyone took part in. The Thompson’s daughter Elizabeth, Claiborne & Churchill’s outside sales manager, could be found many an afternoon working on projects with her parents, sanding down woodwork and painting. “If you are from out of town,” she says, “staying with us will be a perfect way to enjoy the heart of wine country here in San Luis Obispo. We couldn’t be more pleased to be able to offer this to our customers and guests.”
Quaint and charming, but with all the modern amenities, the cottage is perfect for couples hitting the road for a weekend, for parents visiting students at Cal Poly, or for anyone just looking for a relaxing “getaway.” The unit is now available for vacation rental through the VRBO/Homeaway website, or by emailing email@example.com. Centrally located in SLO Wine Country, Claiborne & Churchill’s vacation property is only a ten minute drive from Pismo Beach, San Luis Obispo, or Arroyo Grande, and a fifteen-minute drive to Cal Poly. Claiborne & Churchill Cellar Club members will be offered a special, discounted price on their stays.
2016 is shaping up to be a great year ahead for one of Edna Valley’s favorite and oldest wineries. As the weather warms up and wine lovers start flocking to the tasting rooms all over the Central Coast, they’ll find themselves right at home at Claiborne & Churchill.
Acclaimed Claiborne & Churchill Wines
2014 Dry Gewurztraminer
Gold Medal: 2015 San Francisco International Wine Competition
Silver Medal: 2016 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition
90 Points: Wine Enthusiast (June 2016)
Gold, 91 Points: Critics Challenge International Wine Competition
Dry Gewurztraminer has been a signature wine at Claiborne & Churchill since our first crush in 1983, and the 2014 vintage is one of the best. While extremely dry, it still boasts the classic spice and fruit of this aromatic varietal, with notes of rose petal, jasmine, white peach and grapefruit. The wine is tangy and bright, with a refreshingly long finish. We recommend our Gewurztraminer with such spicy and exotic dishes as Pad Thai, Indian Curry, Jamaican Jerk Chicken, or Jambalaya.
2014 Dry Riesling
Gold Medal: 2016 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition
89 Points, Editors’ Choice: Wine Enthusiast (June 2016)
Silver, 89 Points: Critics Challenge International Wine Competition
Riesling has been called “the world’s greatest white wine grape,” and at Claiborne & Churchill this has always meant Dry Riesling. From our very first Dry Riesling in 1983 to the current 2014 we count thirty-two consecutive vintages of this other “signature wine”. With scarcely any residual sugar (0.4%), it still retains the bright floral aromas and lovely fruit that make Riesling so appealing. The 2014 delivers a mouthful of citrus and stone fruit flavors, followed by a dry yet lingering finish. Riesling is a versatile and food-friendly wine, enhancing a wide variety of dishes, from seafood (especially crab and lobster) to poultry to vegetarian entrees.
2014 Pinot Gris
90 Points: Wine Enthusiast (June 2016)
Pinot Gris, like Riesling and Gewurztraminer, is one of the “noble grapes” of the French Alsace region, which inspires us to produce a wine of solid structure and rich texture. To this end we typically barrel-ferment our Pinot Gris, in well-seasoned, neutral French oak. This gives the wine a creamier mouth-feel that complements the backbone of bracing acidity. In the nose there are floral notes and on the palate flavors of melon, lemon, peach and nectarine. We recommend our Pinot Gris with richly-sauced dishes such as chicken fettucini Alfredo, butternut squash ravioli, or lobster mac ‘n’ cheese.
2014 “Classic” Estate Pinot Noir
Double Gold: San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition
Silver, 87 Points: 2016 Critics Challenge International Wine Competition
93 Points, Editors’ Choice: Wine Enthusiast (July 2016)
Pinot Noir enjoys a great reputation in our Edna Valley AVA and is the red grape of choice at Claiborne & Churchill. Our “Classic” Pinot Noir comes from our Edna Valley Estate Vineyards, a cool microclimate site only a few miles from the Pacific Ocean. The 2014 vintage of this seductive wine reflects this in its good structure, depth and concentration of fruit. Rich and sumptuous, it offers aromas of roses and spice, followed by flavors of strawberries and tart cherries. There is a kiss of soft oak in the background, and a long, lingering finish. Its good acidity and moderate alcohol will allow this wine to age gracefully over the years to come.
2014 “Twin Creeks” Estate Pinot Noir
Gold Medal: San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition
93 Points: Wine Enthusiast (July 2016)
The grapes for this barrel-select Pinot Noir come from our Estate “Twin Creeks” vineyards on the western side of the Edna Valley. Three clones of Pinot Noir (2A, Martini, and 113) are represented in this wine, giving the wine its distinctive flavor profile of dark berries, dried herbs, cinnamon, cola, and forest floor. Ample tannins and sweet oak promise a long life in any wine cellar. We find that our Twin Creeks Pinot continues to develop for six to eight years, and in its youth profits from decanting for an hour or two, to open up and show off its heady aromas.
About Claiborne & Churchill Winery
Founded in 1983 by Claiborne (Clay) Thompson and Fredericka Churchill, Claiborne & Churchill Winery is a small, family-owned winery devoted to producing Alsatian-style wines in California’s pastoral Edna Valley appellation. After successful careers in academia, Clay and Fredericka established C&C with a special focus on the dry, fruity, and food-friendly wines of eastern France’s Alsace region, namely Pinot Noir, Gewürztraminer and Riesling. Sourced from cool-climate vineyards that support these varietals’ naturally high acidity and elegance, C&C wines have won critical and popular acclaim for over 30 years. In 2007 Clay passed his position as Winemaker to Coby Parker-Garcia, who continues to emphasize minimal manipulation of both fruit and wine today. C&C’s straw bale cellar and tasting room – the first of its kind in California – is open to the public every day from 11 A.M. to 5 P.M. at 2649 Carpenter Canyon Road in San Luis Obispo, California. For more information, please visit www.ClaiborneChurchill.com or phone 805.544.4066.