Vendimia: Vintage, Harvest

Vino Vargas Thanksgiving Special

Wine Club Newsletter #9
February 2015

Saving Paper!

In the past we have printed and included this newsletter in your club shipment. Going forward we plan to publish them as a PDF on our website only. Mainly to conserve paper but also to give you access to an archive of the newsletters that you can revisit from time to time without having to save a stack of them at home. If you prefer a printed copy, just let us know and we will get one out to you or include it in your shipment.


We’re happy to release our latest Club Exclusive wine. It’s called CruZin and is a delicious 2013 100% Zinfandel from the Central Coast. The grapes come from the Dillon Vineyard in Gilroy. We’ve been working with Pat and Lani Dillon on both winemaking and vineyard health and this wine really shows the results of a great team effort.
The grapes were hand-picked (some by our club members), so you know that a lot of TLC was given to them. Pedro did all of the winemaking on site and the wine was aged for 14 months on French oak. The result is a yummy Zin that is robust with just the right amount of jam, spice and tannin.

CruZin is Club Exclusive meaning that two BONUS bottles will be shipped to all of our FOUNDERS and CUATRO club members on their 2015 annual anniversary. And only club members can purchase additional bottles. Only 25 cases were made and it is sure to go fast, so get your orders in if you want to experience this wine now! Email

Bottle price
Founders: $16.50 Cuatro: $20.63 Dos: $23.38


One of the great benefits of becoming a CUATRO wine club member is that on the anniversary of your joining you receive two bottles of the member-only wine at no charge. And EVERY YEAR you are a club member you receive two bottles on your anniversary. These wines are made only for our club and are not sold anywhere.

We wish to thank the following members for their support and congratulate them on their one year anniversary! You will receive 2 bottles of the 2013 CruZin ZInfandel!
• Insert members

DOS members, this is a great reason and value to upgrade to the CUATRO club. If you have any questions about how to do this just email

Winemaker Update


Winery Update!

Many of you are aware that we have property in San Miguel (just North of Paso Robles), where we intended to build the winery and create a destination for our club members and their guests. And for many months you may have heard me or Vicky say “we’re working on it”. Well, we’re happy to report that we are now really “working on it”! 
We finally broke ground on the Vino Vargas Winery and started the construction phase of this project that has been both a learning experience and a test of our patience. First, before any construction could start, the County of San Luis Obispo (SLO), required that we have a Minor Use Permit (MUP). Our MUP took almost two years to complete to “approval”. Then, the SLO building department had to review all of our plans and make sure that they were up to code and that we met all of the required conditions for a winery.

By “conditions” I mean meeting specific requirements that are too long to list here, but I will share a couple that I believe are important for you to know about.
1. Endangered species – The property in San Miguel falls within the territory of the native San Joaquin Kit Fox, a highly endangered species with only about 2,000 at last count. To make sure that we did not impact our little buddy, we hired a biologist to scour the property multiple times. They checked burrows, tracks and did an amazing job of inspecting the flora and fauna. The good news is that our plans do not impact the Kit Fox and as part of our licensing we have set aside a small plot of land in a conservation tract that is used for endangered animals. I feel better knowing that our construction will not further endanger any of these precious neighbors. I still hope to see a Kit Fox soon too!!
2. Water conservation – Most wineries consume about 8 to 15 gallons of water for each gallon of wine that they make. As you can imagine, this is not good for our environment, especially during a drought. We worked closely with the Central Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board and the Wine Institute to propose and design a water reclamation system that would be acceptable to them and meet the very aggressive goals for our winery of fewer than 3 gallons of water consumed for every gallon of wine made. Our system will let us recover about 90% of our grey water for things like wash down, irrigation or dust abatement. Plus, all sinks, toilets, faucets are low flow. When you visit, I hope that you will check out our systems and get an update on our conservation targets.
3. Power conservation – Every gadget and utility going into the winery is in line with Title 24 of the California Building code which dictates the level of power that is consumed by a business. All of our lighting will be low power high luminosity LEDs. We are installing tankless, on-demand water heaters and the entire building will have R-30 insulation.

Our winery is going to be very modern but very utilitarian. Sorry no big Chateau, lakes or rides. Just a nice place to make wine and a great place for you to visit.

We are working hard to hit a completion date that will allow the next harvest to be processed at the winery. Right now we are targeting an opening date of 6/17/15. We’ll keep you posted on our progress of course.
Please email me with any questions you may have on winemaking or our wines:
Salud! Pedro

Sommelier Update


Decanting and Other Weird Science
As you read earlier, we just bottled our latest Club Exclusive wine called CruZin. While bottling we tasted the wine to make sure that everything was fine. It’s a requirement of the job, you know! 

Anyway, the wine was delicious and amazing in all of its attributes right out of the bottling tank — aroma, color, flavors, etc. In other words pretty yummy. After bottling, I immediately noticed that the wine had closed up a bit, meaning that the attributes had toned down quite a bit. After getting home we decanted a bottle, let it sit for a while and then drank it all (for investigative purposes). Everything was back, the aroma, and flavors, and it was a fruity, slightly jammy and spicy Zin. Just like when it was in the bottling tank.

What happened?
You may have heard the term “bottle shock” before but didn’t quite know what it meant or what to do about it. Bottle Shock is a chemical instability that takes place when wine in a large tank is rammed into a small 750ml bottle. Most of the time this instability will go away in a couple of months and the wine is back to normal. Sometimes depending on the grapes it may take longer. Now, Pedro has some very detailed winemaking terms for what takes place and how to fix it, but all I need to know is that a recently bottled wine should just be decanted and allowed to rest at room temperature for about 20 – 30 minutes (if you can wait that long).

With the CruZin Zinfandel the amount of bottle shock was so minimal that we elected to release it right after bottling. When you open a bottle you will probably not even notice that you need to do anything. It’s that good! But, decanting will help it air out and you will get even greater pleasure.

Older wines that have been in bottle for a long time need to be decanted for a different reason. Sometimes, the bottle will have a lot of sediment on the bottom or side and you will need to carefully transfer it to a decanter to avoid getting grit in your teeth. But even in this case, exposing it to air will always improve your overall sensation to the wine.

What type of decanter do you need? Just a regular crystal decanter will work (or a pitcher, too). It needs to be large enough to allow the entire wine bottle plus enough air space to let the wine “breathe”. Although you can pour more than one wine bottle into a decanter, limit yourself to one to give the wine enough air space to recover. You can open additional bottles ahead of time and then just refill the decanter as you go along.

Anyway, decanted or not, I urge to try our new Cruzin. You will be amazed!!

Please email me with any questions you may have on wine tasting, food pairing or wine collecting: Cheers! Vicky

Until next time, Salud!
Pedro, Vicky and the Vino Vargas team

Upcoming Events:

• Our 2015 calendar of events is now online on FaceBook and on our website