Central Coast Wine Day 2013 aka #CCWineDay

June 21, 2013 at 6:07 pm

If you are a wine fan outside of California the term Central Coast maybe a nebulous term to you. The Central Coast wine region of California is the largest, most diverse in the whole state. Stretching from Santa Barbara County to Northern Monterey County. I was going to post a detailed map covering the region, but there hasn’t been one made that does it justice.

Tom Wark described it best in his piece on Central Coast Wine Day 2012. See the article here: Twitter takes on Central Coast

Typical Central Coast Vineyard

Typical Central Coast Vineyard - Sloped Vineyards, mountains and coastal breezes

Before 3 years ago I wasn’t that familiar with the Central Coast region other than it was home to some very large producers. I worked for a wine retailer in Napa famous for it’s International cellar along with lot’s of Napa Cabs. So why the Central Coast, I hear you ask? It’s a long twitter story, but suffice to say I came to love the terroir and wines produced in the Santa Lucia Highlands.

It’s rich Pinot Noirs, Rhone varietals and Chardonnay’s. In early 2012 I was tasked with coming up with a theme for a tweetup for wine bloggers and the trade while working for Hahn Family Wines.  In an effort to be inclusive I came up with the idea of a day similar to #VarietalDay’s (#CabernetDay, #ChardonnayDay) that would try and define this huge region. I went on to include our neighbors in Monterey County and beyond to join us on a day to celebrate everything Central Coast.

On March 15th of 2012 we pulled off a successful event hosted in Carmel and Napa for folks to taste and tweet about the wines. Not only that, but over 20 wine bloggers were sent samples of Hahn to taste and tweet during the day stretching all across the US, British Columbia and London, England.

Over 24 wineries participated and in Napa we attracted 100’s of visitors to the Quent Cordair Art Gallery.  The reach on Twitter with the #hashtag #CCWineDay reached over 3.7 million. With the successful engagement, locally and globally, it was clear we needed to repeat in 2013. For 2013 we went independent and more focused. Nine wineries from all over the region submitted samples for Napa folks to try.

Once again, big thanks to Linda & Quent at the Quent Cordair Art Gallery for being such gracious hosts. Wine tasting in the presence of beautiful artwork definitely set the right tone. After a few hiccups in the scheduling we settled on Friday, May 31st to get our tweet on!

Romantic art in Acrylic at Quent Cordair Art Gallery

Dave Corey and his wife Becky both have generations of wine in their blood from the Santa Maria area. They pride themselves in rich blends of Mourvedre and Grenache.  These Core Wine gems were a delight to pour in Napa.

Dave at Core Wine is a man of the earth with a passion for hearty rhones like Mourvedre and Grenache. All his wines were wowser's in Napa!


Surprising to me was the Sauvignon Blanc that came from Ancient Peaks in Paso Robles. I thought it would be far to hot for this varietal, but turns out the vineyard is in the Southern most point in Paso, just 14 miles from the ocean. Some tasty stuff from 3 great families.

Ancient Peaks line of 4

Can’t say enough about the wines from Wrath. Each one seems specifically crafted to amaze. From their Pinot to their Syrah. I savored every sip of the Pinot Noir. In Napa it received many kudos! We salute Michael Thomas of Wrath for his extraordinary dedication to the art of winemaking.

Grapes of Wrath - A salute to the untameable natural forces

Grapes of Wrath - A salute to the untameable natural forces

Donati Family Vineyards had some of the most interesting looking labels of all. The Immigrant stood out for me as a wine and the image of the family patriarch, Albino Donati who arrived in the US in 1907. A Bordeaux blend with such rich character. These wines come from the Paicines AVA which I had never heard of until last year. The tasting room is located in the more approachable town of Templeton. Mitch Bakitch has done a great job on marketing on social media for this small producer. He is known as at the winery as Factotum (wherer of many hats)

Donati Family Wines

Summer wouldn’t be complete without some Bubbles and Caraccioli Cellars does not disappoint. I never thought that anyone produced sparkling wine in the central coast. What is truly amazing is the depth of quality that goes into these wines. I put them up against the best of Napa, including Schramsberg. They are all traditional and sourced in the Santa Lucia Highlands from Pinot Noir and Chardonnay vineyards. I highly recommend you get a bottle and compare.

Carricioli Cellars Brut

Cariccioli Cellars 2007 Brut


Tolosa Winery in San Luis Obispo has one of the most Sustainable Winemaking programs in the region. SIP Certified vineyard and forward thinking define them. They now have one of the largest Solor panel array’s in the region that should power them for 25 years. Besides all this they make killer wine! I particularly enjoyed the “1772” Edna Valley Chardonnay. When you visit, be sure and do the wine and cheese pairing. It’s fantastic.

Tolosa Winery

Tolosa Winery


Another standout for me was from Cambria Estate Vineyards. Year after year, Julia’s Vineyard puts out award winning Pinot Noir at an astonishing price. This year they were complemented with their sister winery, Byron from Santa Maria Valley, Santa Barbara County. The wines have a distinct sense of place. Consistency and clonal selections define the style from each.

Cambria Estate Julia's  Pinot Noir & Byron Santa Maria Chardonnay

Cambria Estate Julia's Pinot Noir & Byron Santa Maria Chardonnay


One of our local winemaker friends, Alison Crowe, blessed us with her 2011 Monterey County Pinot Noir from Garnet Vineyards. She makes other Pinot’s in Carneros and Sonoma Coast. She focuses on “Cool Climate” Pinot Noir and each is unique. At $15 a bottle, the Monterey is hard to beat for quality and value.

Garnet Vineyards Monterey Pinot Noir

Garnet Vineyards Monterey Pinot Noir


There is so much diversity in the Central Coast that we couldn’t possibly show all the nuances. We hope to repeat this annually and bring more focus to a region that truly shines amongst it’s more decorated peers further North.

Once again I couldn’t have done any of this without the constant support of my better half, Tristan Fairbanks. Big thanks to all the wineries that participated. Would love to here feedback on the event and ideas for next year.

Cheers! Mark Buckley


Based in Napa since 2005. January 2013 I started a Digital Marketing/Social Engagement company "D' Vine Social Media" for the wine & food industry. Formerly I worked for Hahn Family Wines in Social Media & Marketing for 2 years. I am a graduate from Napa Valley College Wine Program with a degree in Enology winemaking 2010. I'm a partner in a boutique wine venture, Lady Godiva Wine. First wine coming this late spring 2013. I am also a Level 1 Sommelier and consultant for food and wine and hospitality I Spent many years in Printing and Graphics and the last 15 in producing wine labels for many of the top wine producers in California. Somehow I find time to blog about food, wine and spirits and my experiences along the way. Be sure to follow me on twitter @spiritandwine

2 Responses to “Central Coast Wine Day 2013 aka #CCWineDay”

  1. While I haven’t toured the area, my parents, who live in the Bay Area, make sure to stock the house with Central Coast wines whenever I return home. Kudos on a great concept for this promo!

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