For years my husband has bought Carhartt clothes. When I heard there was a Carhartt Vineyard in Los Olivos, California near the town of Solvang where my friend Linda and I were visiting, we had to check it out. Before leaving home, a young woman I know had said, “It is the smallest tasting room you will ever see, but it is awesome.”
Reason enough to go!
The entire street was filled with more wine tasting stops than I have ever seen in one place at one time and squeezed in between two at the end of the street was the Carhartt Winery. The tasting room was small as expected, however the back area where most gathered was like a backyard deck with a lot of charm. We were served by Nick Marchi who said, “My family is local, I have been working here for five years.”
Nick used to manage the tasting room until he was lured away to work with “Sky’s The Limit” Ballooning Adventures. He still works part time for the winery and shared a bit of the story of the Carhartt Vineyard. “Mike Carhartt planted vineyards 25 years ago. His wife Brooke started making wine on the side. His son Chase is also part of it too.”
The Carhartt publication From Ground to Glass authored by Chase Carhartt explained that his father Mike Carhartt although born in Pasadena, lived most of his childhood on the beloved family Rancho Santa Ynez. His grandfather had purchased what was then a 1,500,acre property that during the 1940’s and 1950’s served as the headquarters for a dairy/swine operation. Once that was phased out the property became more of a ranch.
After working in the insurance business for 20 years, Mike Carhartt retired and purchased the ranch. Mike and Brooke Carhartt along with their son Chase moved to the ranch fulltime in 1992 and rebuilt it from the ground up. A couple of years later they planted the first ten acre vineyard. The first vat of wine was made in a converted hay barn that now serves as the main vineyard.
All the Carhartt wines are connected to this piece of land so loved by the family. Nick Marchi said, “The names of all the labels come from the different weather vanes that adorn each of the buildings on the ranch.”
There is also a weather vane at the tasting room. As we sat and listened to Nick and the others share stories about the winery, a wonderful couple came and settled in with their six-month old bulldog Georgia. “We come here every weekend, it is our favorite place,” he said.
The man owned movie theaters all around the area and knew stars and such, but the laid back atmosphere of the Carhartt Winery with the couples and a baby or two, Georgia the friendly bulldog and the hum of pleasant conversation was his, and our choice. Log onto http://carharttvineyard.com/tasting-room/ for more information.