We recently had a chance to catch up with Rick Longoria of Longoria Wine. Rick has a great perspective on the California wine industry. He has worked on the Central Coast and in historic Napa wineries since the 1970s.
Rick is a trailblazer. He was one of the early visionaries in the Santa Barbara County wine region. Early on, he saw the potential for great Pinot Noir and Chardonnays. Longoria Wine has spent the last thirty plus years perfecting the quality of Central Coast wines.
You can visit them at their Lompoc Winery & Tasting Room at 415 E. Chestnut Avenue in Lompoc. You can purchase their wines from their online wine store.
California Winery Advisor - How did you get started making wine?
Rick Longoria - I developed an interest in wine during my college days at UC Berkeley during frequent visits to the Sonoma and Napa wine country. With a desire to live in a rural area I became interested in the possibility of working at a winery.
CWA - What interests you about wine?
RL - Wine is a natural product that reflects the diversity of grapes, soil and climate, and when human creativity becomes involved in the process it becomes challenging and rewarding.
CWA - What can you tell us about your winemaking style?
RL - Having started in the industry in the early 1970's I was most influenced by the classic wines of Europe and that standard shaped my approach to making wine. I seek to make wines that are true to their varietal, their site and are classically balanced.
CWA – What is the most important factor in making a great wine?
RL - Taking care to source grapes from the best vineyard sites that are farmed with the dedication to produce the best quality possible.
CWA - Is there any advice you wish you got before you started making wine?
RL - Obtain a minor degree in Business or Marketing, as that's the most challenging part of the wine business.
CWA - Which wine law/regulation would you change if it were up to you?
RL - I would like to see all the states standardize their "direct to consumer" regulations and make them more favorable for wineries to sell their wines.
CWA – Is there any newer winemaking technology you are excited about?
RL - I'm more excited about the advances we've seen in the way vineyards are farmed because the quality of the grapes is the most important factor in the winemaking process.
CWA - Do you have any favorite wine publications/websites/social media sites you follow?
RL - From a trade perspective, I enjoy reading Wine Business Monthly. I enjoy Elaine Brown's blog, Wakawaka Wine Reviews.
CWA - How do you feel about the current wine rating system? Do you feel it helps consumers with their wine buying decisions?
RL - I wish we would never have seen the development of the critics' rating systems, but it seems inevitable that people feel insecure about their own judgment about wine quality and so they will rely on ratings.
CWA - What were the last two truly memorable wines you drank?
RL - A 1977 Buena Vista Late Harvest Johannisberg Riesling that my friend and mentor, Richard Williams made as the winemaker for that winery. A 2012 Valdesil Godello "Pezas de Portela" from the Valdeorras region of Galicia, Spain.
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