If you live anywhere in the Santa Clarita Valley, and you are into wine, you probably already know that we have a wine tasting room in downtown Newhall. You might even know that we have a licensed and bonded winery in the Valencia industrial center. But did you know that our only winery has become a home for many commercial and non-commercial wineries…many of which use our local winemakers as consultants? Maybe even up to 15 wineries?
Yes, this is the growth that local winemakers Steve Lemley and Nate Hasper have seen since opening their TWO doors. You can taste Paso Robles wine at Pulchella Winery Thursday through Saturday evenings, and make an appointment to see the SCV Winery facility if you would like to make your own wine.
And to help you get started I asked Steve Lemley to give readers an update:
EB: Steve, please tell us a little (because I know you do a lot) about what you do at the winemaking facility.
SL: Nate and I fuel our passion and produce all of Pulchella Winery’s allocations here along with working with 15 other wineries as their consulting winemaker to produce their wine labels as well. Producing wines in small lots from fruit sourced primarily from the central coast. We are super excited to have invested in state of the art equipment, expanded the operation and opened it up to a select group of other wineries and vineyard owners who share our stylistic approach to winemaking.
EB: And do we get to taste the fruits of your effort in your Newhall tasting room? Tell us about your current releases and if club memberships are available.
SL: Absolutely! Pulchella Winery’s current releases are poured in our tasting room Thursday through Saturday from 5pm to 10pm without any appointment needed. We are currently pouring 8 wines. In spring, we will release the next allocation, which we are by far the proudest of as we have had time to focus the brand and make some really solid wines. Our wine club has recently re-opened to new members, which offers just two allocations a year, 20% off all purchases, free tastings and more. For a full list of current and upcoming wine releases, visit our website.
EB: How about a story of something funny that has happened during your years of winemaking…something wannabe winemakers might be interested in.
SL: We get asked a lot how the Westside Paso Robles, Cerro Prieto vineyard Pinot Noir named “Deadbeat”, fell into our program. In spring 2013 we took on a project with a new client and were asked to source some of the best quality Pinot Noir from the Paso Robles Willow Creek area. Making an extensive amount of Pinot Noir for clients in the past, we took the challenge and poured our hearts, souls and wallets into the project just to have the client inform us a few months later that he could not continue and would not be able to pay for any of the fruit and barrels. Given that we sourced and paid for the fruit, produced the wine and designed the barrel program for it, it only seemed right to release it under Pulchella Winery’s label and see what everyone thought. The now past client got the wine named after him and it was loved by everyone so much that it has now become a staple in our portfolio of wines.
EB: Can you give us an update on the vines you and Nate helped plant at College of the Canyons?
SL: For the last two years Nate and I have also expanded our operation to include full scale vineyard management for many of our clients. Donating our time as full time vineyard consultants for College Of The Canyons is a dream come true for us. The college shares a vision with us and the fruits of everyone’s labor is starting to take shape.
After the 50 year old zinfandel transplant project was completed, we have planted another zinfandel block and have completed the architectural design and installation of yet another Syrah block. We have had a 100% success rate with the vineyard and are very proud to have been given the freedom to establish an infrastructure that will offer a very complex curriculum of viticulture and enology in the future for COC students. We will continue to manage the project until COC has a program in place to take it over.
EB: What do you and Nate see for the future?
SL: It’s easy to increase production but we want to honor the support we have and will not increase our production so that we can offer the same quality wines year after year to everyone who supports us. We will continue to focus our brand and dedicate every waking moment to increasing the quality of our wines and the wines we produce for our clients.
Santa Clarita will soon have other very high quality brands to enjoy and we are humbled to be involved with the vision and production of them. Visit our website or come visit us in the tasting room and see what’s down our dirt road of passion.
The winery tasting room is located at: 24261 Main Street in the Old town Newhall historical district. (91321). For current tasting room hours, please call our tasting room at 661-799-wine. Closed most major holidays.
Eve Bushman has been reading, writing, taking coursework and tasting wine for over 20 years. She has obtained a Level Two Intermediate Certification from the Wine and Spirits Education Trust, has been the subject of a 60-minute Wine Immersion video, authored “Wine Etiquette for Everyone” and recently served as a guest judge for the L.A. International Wine Competition. You can email Eve@EveWine101.com to ask a question about wine or spirits that may be answered in a future column. You can also seek her marketing advice via Eve@EveBushmanConsulting.com