I love wine any day of the week ending in “y”. To celebrate that adult grape juice life, I wanted to give a special shoutout to Kendra Scharnell, Wine Club Coordinator at Ancient Peaks in Santa Margarita, CA.
Me: So tell me about your cool job! What exactly does a wine club coordinator do on the day to day?
Kendra Scharnell: As a wine club coordinator my main goal is to keep our wine club as healthy as possible. I’m making sure that our members are getting that attention that they deserve- so I’m constantly on the phone or emailing with them- building those first name basis relationships. I also work one day a week in the tasting room-that way I’m putting a face to all those calls and emails! Another aspect to the job is event planning! We host many events throughout the year- from pick-up parties, to blending seminars, to art bars, to helicopter rides around our ranch. I also work on our club shipments- so that is working with ownership and winemaking and getting their opinion on what we want to release to our favorite customers.
Me: Sounds pretty great to me. What’s your favorite wine from Ancient Peaks these days? What do you like to eat with it?
KS: Well since spring is just around the corner- I’m loving our newly released Rosé. And this is not your grandma’s Rosè! It’s more of a French style- so dry, refreshing, and vibrant. It’s made with 100% Pinot Noir and has the most beautiful rose gold color to it. I’ve been enjoying it with chips and guacamole after work, now that it stays lighter later out. But you could enjoy it with a nice summer salad, shrimp tacos, or a spicy Thai dish.
Me: What’s something that Ancient Peaks does that distinguishes it from the rest of the producers in the area?
This is one of my favorite questions! We are family owned and operated. Our 800 acre vineyard is located on a 14,000 acre working cattle ranch. It’s one of the oldest continually operating ranches– dating back to the Franciscan missionaries. We also have five soil types in the vineyard- one of them being ancient sea bed soil, which is scattered with fossilized oyster shells that are bigger than the size of your head! We are SIP certified- which stands for sustainable in practice; similar to being organic but we go beyond that. We don’t use any harsh chemicals, are active in our community, water conscious, use solar panels for our power, and last but not least -offer education and competitive wages to our employees! You can also zip line right over our vineyards- through our sister company, Margarita Adventures. There you have the opportunity to zip down 6 lines and it is so much fun! In our tasting room we have a commercial kitchen that is open Thursday-Sunday offering salads, sandwiches, cheese and charcuterie, etc. Everything is amazing and of course pairs perfectly with any of our wines.
Me: As a Cali native, you’re spoiled to be in proximity to some of the most renown vineyards. What are some “big names” that you like and what are some lesser known vineyards that have caught your eye?
Me: Choosing wine at a restaurant or even the grocer can be intimidating. Any advice for wine newbies out there?
KS: Well, first make sure you’re buying the correct wine for the food you’ll be enjoying it with. At the very least- red wine with red meat and white wine with fish or lighter meats. Also, ask! Ask your waiter or the alcohol manager at the store. In California, we have started to offer wine tasting in the grocery store- and it’s so great. But be careful, we all know what buzzed shopping can lead to!
Me: What should be on any visitor’s list for a trip to the Santa Barbara area?
KS: Santa Barbara is such a great area and they have so much to offer! I enjoy going just an hour north of there and hitting Buelton, Santa Ynez, Los Olivos area. It’s also halfway between Santa Barbara and the Paso Robes area. Some great places to visit are Briddlewood, Beckmen, Sunstone, and Gainey.