I was in Ojai this weekend hanging out with my niece on her third birthday.
It was bloody hot and the kids were running around, frantic from the heat and overexcited on cupcake energy.
The adults retired to the shade provided by an ancient wisteria arbor. The talk turned to wine once someone realized I worked in the wine business.
This was a group of 30 something California professionals who were clearly wine lovers and consumers. They were not serious collectors who troll the web for particular prestige labels, just people who buy wine regularly and enjoy it.
I am always interested in what this group has to say so I sat back and let them lead the discussion.
Talk quickly turned to their interest in 'organic' wines. I think there is still a wide chasm between consumers and the wine industry in understanding the term 'organic' as it relates to wine.
Consumers are usually referring to whether the grapes are chemical free and those of us in the business are usually thinking of wines made from organic grapes that have no added sulfites.
I gave them some names of a few wineries to check out beyond the well known Bonterra and Bonny Doon brands.
It has become very trendy to reel off the names of Paris wine bars that specialize in natural wines. But we have our own Left Coast wine iconoclasts making natural wine closer to home.
Clos Saron was one my recommendations. Gideon Beinstock and Saron Rice are making wine the old school way. Grapes are farmed organically and biodynamically. Only native yeasts are used in the cellar, no acid is added, minimal racking and minimal SO2.
I tasted their 2006 'Home Vineyard' Pinot Noir recently.
Delicious restrained red fruits, cinnamon and baking spices, refreshing minerals in the background.