We had a chance to visit one of the unique wineries in Temecula and talk to the winemaker. This is an inspiring story of winelovers who turned their dream into a reality. Want to visit Oak Mountain Winery? Here are the details
California Winery Advisor: Tell us how you became interested in winemaking.
Oak Mountain Winery: We came by our wine heritage quite naturally. Valerie's father Ed Snyder, and her uncle Jerry Snyder were partners in some of California’s pioneer wine shops. There were four stores, starting in 1960, located in Garden Grove, Anaheim, North Long Beach, and Torrance. In the late 70’s, they were named one of the 10 best wine shops in Southern California.
The stores carried some of the best boutique wines of the time, including Heats, Strasberg sparkling wine, Callaway, Hart, Chateau St. Jean, and Camus. As fate would have it, Valerie slowly found her way into the wine business as well. Ed decided it would be invaluable for his daughter Val and son-in-law Steve to see the Santa Barbara wine country. So, he called in a few favors from friends at the wineries for V.I.P tours, to give them a comprehensive look at this budding wine community.
Winemakers were born that day. With an intense, meticulous and insatiable desire to make the best wine possible, we set about to create the most incredible vineyards in Temecula Valley Wine Country. This winery now defines proprietor and winemaker Stephen Andrews.
We opened the doors to our own winery in 2000, but were only giving tastings on a part-time basis from our beautiful barrel room on the Temecula Hills Estate. Loyal wine connoisseurs voiced their desire for longer wine tasting room hours and a closer location to the town of Temecula. In response, we opened the Oak Mountain Winery in 2005 and have been growing our wine making business and vineyard ever since.
Steve creates all of the award-winning and delicious wines. Valerie and their children have stepped in to run the tasting room, now open seven days a week. The hard work and dedication allowed the Oak Mountain Winery to blossom into the successful and sought-after winery it is today.
CWA: Do you have a particular wine consumer in mind when you are making a wine?
OMW: We have 3 consumers in mind;
- For the entry-level wine drinker, (i.e. the bus and limo-loads) we offer very sweet wines such as our Muscat Canella, Riesling and White Merlot.
- For the average wine taster looking for an easy drinking wine, we offer wines such as our Viognier, Chardonnay and Caveman Red (a Mourvedre Blend).
- For the discerning wine connoisseur, we make our Cave Cabernet Sauvignon and Malbec. These wines are very rich and luscious.
CWA: What is unique about making wine in Temecula? Are there challenges you don’t have in places like Napa or Santa Barbara?
OMW: No challenges. Ever since Temecula replanted after pierce’s disease we have great grapes on resistant root stalks.
CWA: There is a lot of buzz about organic, sustainable and biodynamic wine. What do these terms mean to you? Should wine consumers be focused on these designations when buying wine?
OMW: We put back all of the pumice and pruning and mulch it back in the vineyards. We have built a 10,000 sq. ft. wine cave 105 feet underground which makes our barrel storage very sustainable and the best environment for the wine to age.
CWA: Are there any winemakers you are excited about right now?
CWA: What are the last two bottles of wine you drank that you remember as truly special?
OMW: Our 2014 Viognier and our 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon
CWA: What advice do you wish you received when you first started making wine?
OMW: Get a financial backer (lol).
CWA: How do you feel about the current wine rating system? Do you feel consumers benefit from numbering system?
OMW: The ratings are important to consumers
CWA: Can you tell us a little about the current lineup of wines from Oak Mountain?
OMW: We are very proud of our wine lineup. We are making a great line of sparkling wines from our Raspberry Sparkling to our Frisson a dry Sauvignon Blanc, a great variety of whites including Chardonnay and Rousanne, sweet wines for the entry level drinkers with our Muscat and White Merlot to a great line of Reds Cabernet, Syrah, Pinotage and many more.
CWA: Where can consumers buy your Oak Mountain wine?
CWA: Is Oak Mountain Winery on social media? Do you have a website?
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