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Kenneth Volk Vineyards - Cellar Door Club
 Pickup Party
 Featured Wines
 Upcoming Events

{ Welcome }

This September, we feature two of Ken’s favorite heirloom varieties: Blaufränkisch and Negrette as well as two Iberian Peninsula inspired wines: Albariño from the Riverbench Vineyard and our proprietary red wine blend we call Lusitania

Harvest Report

Harvest Report

Ready or not here comes the 2015 harvest! The 2015 harvest has already started in much of California. In Santa Maria, Pinot Noir for base sparkling wines has begun.

The early harvest comes as no surprise with so many contributing factors. The ongoing drought, record high temperatures in March and June and small crops are all factors leading to an early harvest. Other indicators are plants harvested early: beefsteak tomatoes ripe before July 1st, late season apples ripening at Ken’s home in San Luis Obispo and oak trees dropping acorns all over Paso Robles and Santa Maria.

2015 will be a scaled down harvest on our tenth anniversary making wine in Tepusquet Canyon.

2015 Santa Barbara Oil Spill - Déjà Vu all Over Again

On May 19th the Santa Barbara County Fire Department initially responded to the strong smell of oil coming from an area north of Gaviota State Beach. The fire crews found a 24-inch ruptured crude oil line that was discharging oil into a ravine on the north side of Highway 101. When the break occurred has yet to be determined. The crude oil ran into a culvert that continued under Highway 101 and discharged into the beach prior to entering the ocean.

The oil line is owned and operated by Plains All American Pipeline and was constructed in 1987. The pipeline had no automatic shut-off valve or inline pressure meters as required by more modern installations. The pipeline was badly corroded with sections of walls less than ¼ inch thick. Believe it or not, the federal-accepted means to monitor the pipeline was by airplane flyovers every other month to check for leaks. This monitoring method is obviously wholly insufficient.

The amount of oil spilled has been hotly debated with ranges of 5,000 to 50,000 gallons, with general consensus by state officials being 24,000 gallons.

On May 20th Governor Brown declared a state of emergency for the area shutting down Refugio State Beach and El Capitain State Beach.

Ken Volk sums it up as “A terrible event that could have been avoided with more responsible monitoring methods and safety equipment.” Ken says, “I’m not anti-oil. Hell, my carbon footprint is as big as Texas.”

Refugio and El Capitain State Beaches are two of the most beautiful beaches of the Santa Barbara Riviera. Ken has fond memories with his father at Refugio State Beach.

Did we not learn anything from the 1969 Santa Barbara oil spill or from 2010 BP oil disaster? Apparently not!

The 1969 oil spill in Santa Barbara was a catalyst for the modern environmental movement in the United States. Soon thereafter several monumental environmental laws were enacted in reaction to this spill: The Environmental Protection Act, The Clean Water Act and the Clean Air Act. Earth Day was founded in Santa Barbara in 1972. Thanks to the efforts of Wisconsin Senator, Gaylord Nelson and many likeminded, Earth Day is celebrated in many cities across America.

El Niño, Climate Change and Early Rains

El Niño continues as the Pacific Ocean waters continue to heat up. These conditions have helped make for a mild hurricane season in the Atlantic Ocean. The primary indicators for a strong, lasting El Niño this winter continue. Even if 2015-2016 is a good rain year, it will take three record rain and snow seasons to bring our reservoirs up to where they were pre-drought.

However, the warm water has generated more erratic weather conditions in both the eastern and western Pacific Ocean.

The summer of 2015 has been muggier than usual from higher humidity by the warm ocean temperatures and monsoonal airflows coming up from the Sea of Cortez.

Hurricane Dolores started off as a tropical depression on July 11th, located 500 miles west of Mazatlán, Mexico. On July 13th Dolores intensified to a Category 4 hurricane with sustained winds of 80 miles an hour as it passed over Socorro Island on July 15th. Dolores traveled northeast becoming a tropical storm as it passed over colder water.

Precipitation from Dolores reached southern California on July 18th bringing record July rainfall totals to San Diego and Los Angeles. Dolores continued to travel up the California coast bringing significant lightening, thunder and record rainfall to the Central Coast.

Rain on July 19-20th brought new rainfall records for Paso Robles and San Luis Obispo for the entire month of July. The prior July both cities totaled record rainfall was 1950.

July Rainfall Records 1950 2015
Paso Robles 0.59” 3.55”
San Luis Obispo 0.46” 0.84”
KVV Winery 0.08” 0.72”

There are two active tropical depressions in the eastern Pacific off the shore of Mexico that will likely turn to hurricanes: Guillermo and Hilda. These depressions could bring rain to the Central Coast if they track northeast. Simultaneously there is Typhoon Soudelor bearing down Taiwan, while another tropical depression, Molave, nears the Hawaiian Islands.

Though separated by five thousand miles, Tokyo, Japan and the city of Samawah in Iraq have endeared unprecedented heat wave records. Tokyo experienced eight days straight with temperatures over 98° which seems cool compared to the six days in excess of 117° in Samawah.

The north Pacific high pressure ridge is breaking down several months earlier than usual which will open the door to potential early northern storms. The polar jet stream has moved south to the Washington/Oregon border that could allow significant early rainfall.

2012 Vintage Red Wines at KVV

The 2010 and 2011 growing seasons were truly challenging. The cool weather and poorly timed rain during the growing season resulted in some fruit not being able to get completely ripe. 2011 started the protracted five-year drought in California, but 2012 was also the start of a record-breaking streak of years with the warmest temperatures for much of the world.

Most wine grapes thrive in dry, sunny conditions with optimum photosynthesis rates occurring between 75-85°. Temperatures exceeding 95°, particularly when accompanied by high winds, stress vines to the point that they go into a self-defense mode where they position their leaves away from the sun and close their stomata to conserve moisture.

Direct sunlight accompanied with high temperatures can cause ripening fruit to literally bake the berries and cause raisining. In years like 2012 with extreme episodic heat, many red grapes reach high sugar levels before the acid dropped and seed tannin had matured.

While waiting for green tannins to resolve and acids to come down, most 2012 reds had to hang to extremely high brix levels.

Our 2012 warm climate red wines have higher acidity, alcohol and tannins than what is typical of the KVV winemaking style. The wines tend to be big with highly extracted ripe fruit flavors accompanied by bright acidity.

Featured Wines

Brief tasting notes and food pairings follow. If you want to know more about these wines, read on and enjoy. To customize your shipment, please log in to select the combination of wines you wish to receive. If you wish to customize your Cellar Door Club shipment, we encourage you to do so as soon as you read this email.

2014 Albariño — Riverbench Vineyard, Santa Maria Valley

Full Retail $30.00 / CDC $24.00

This delicious wine was recently awarded a Best of Class and gold medal at the Sunset International Wine Competition. Our 2014 Albariño is a highly aromatic wine with bright acidity and flavors of nectarine and Granny Smith apple.

Gingered Toro Tuna
Quinoa Amontillado


2012 Blaufränkisch — Pomar Junction Vineyard, Paso Robles

Full Retail $36.00 / CDC $28.80

Our 2012 Blaufränkisch is a delicious medium-bodied wine with spicy aromas and flavors of ripe blueberry, cherry and blackberry.

Lamb Hungarian-Style


2012 Negrette — Calleri Vineyard, San Benito County

Full Retail $28.00 / CDC $22.40

Our 2012 Negrette has aromas of anise, licorice, baking spice and black cherry. On the palate, the wine is full and rich with flavors of Damson plum and bramble fruits with lingering tannins.

Steak Kebabs Teriyaki


2012 Lusitania — Paso Robles

Full Retail $48.00 / CDC $38.40

Our Lusitania is a blend of 36% Souzão, 36% Syrah, 8% Tempranillo and 9% Touriga Nacional, all from Paso Robles. This wine has aromas of blackberry and baking spice and flavors of black and blue fruits.

Portuguese Rabbit


Ken’s Picks Subtotal
(Before tax, shipping where applicable):

$113.60 for
Cellar Door Club members



Remember, as a Cellar Door Club member you get the opportunity to choose any wines from the Kenneth Volk Vineyards portfolio for your wine club selection. If you would prefer something different than the wines described above, you may select instead from other wines in the KVV portfolio, a perk of membership in our club. Please make your selection now: visit our preference page. Please update any changes to your billing and delivery address information.


Shipping Preferences

Whether you have your wines shipped or pick them up at our Santa Maria winery, all preference changes must be completed by August 31, 2015. Estimated shipping date: September 14, 2015.

In every shipment, “Ken’s picks” demonstrate his decades of winemaking experience. If you know you always want to receive our featured wines — Ken’s picks — simply do nothing: you will receive Ken’s picks as the default shipment. If you prefer to select your own custom shipment from the KVV portfolio, you are more than welcome to do so. Simply log into your account by August 31st to let us know what you want.

Please help us keep costs down by recording your preference before the deadline.

Customize Your Wine Preference

If you are having trouble changing your preferences, contact Megan Maretti-Smith at (805) 938-7896 or via email at

Special Requests

Contact Megan Maretti-Smith at (805) 938-7896 or via email at if you have a special request or prefer to have this shipment sent to you.

Shipments that are not picked up within 60 days will be sent to the address on file and billed accordingly. Please help us by picking up your wine in a timely manner or by making arrangements to have your wines sent to you.

Pick Up Party
Pick Up Party

Cellar Door Club Pickup Party

Saturday September 12, 2015
from 12pm-3pm

Cellar Door Club members ~ Mark your calendar! Join us for an afternoon at the Santa Maria tasting room to pick up and taste the wines in your September shipment. Stay tuned for more details!

Upcoming Events

August 22, 2015 — Whole Foods San Luis Obispo One Year Anniversary

Whole Foods, San Luis Obispo, CA 1pm – 4pm

Get your shopping done and then sip some Kenneth Volk wines! We will be on site from 1pm until 4pm, pouring Kenneth Volk wines in celebration of Whole Foods one year anniversary in slo! We look forward to seeing you there!

August 26, 2015 — Whole Foods Oxnard

Whole Foods, Oxnard, CA 5pm – 8pm

Will be on site pouring KVV wines from 5pm until 8pm. We look forward to seeing you there!

September 12, 2015 — Cellar Door Club Pickup Party

Kenneth Volk Vineyards Santa Maria tasting room, Santa Maria, CA 12pm – 3pm

Cellar Door Club members ~ Mark your calendar! Join us for an afternoon at the Santa Maria tasting room to pick up and taste the wines in your September shipment. Stay tuned for more details!

September 26, 2015 — San Diego Zoo Food, Wine & Brew Celebration

San Diego Zoo, San Diego, CA 6pm – Midnight

Help support the San Diego Zoo institute for conservation research as you enjoy more than 150 food and beverage vendors, listen to live music, meet animal ambassadors and bid on your favorite items in the silent auction. For tickets and more information, please visit

October 10, 2015 — Celebration of Harvest Festival Grand Tasting

Old Mission Santa Ines, Solvang, CA 12 – 4pm

The highlight of the weekend is the Celebration of Harvest Festival Grand Tasting in the heart of Santa Barbara wine country at Old Mission Santa Ines. All 120+ winery members gather to present their wines, often poured by the winemakers themselves. The festival also presents some of the best local food from restaurants, caterers, and gourmet food creators. Listen to live music from various bands and musicians. For tickets and information, please visit

October 25, 2015 — 4th Annual Harvesting Hope Festival

Trilogy at Monarch Dunes Clubhouse, Nipomo, CA 12 – 4pm

Join us at the beautiful Monarch Dunes Clubhouse for a celebration of arts, crafts, food and wine! Proceeds benefit 5cities Homeless Coalition and Nipomo Food Basket. Your $25.00 ticket includes hearty bread and homemade soup in a handcrafted bowl. There will be local artisans, local wines, a raffle, music and a silent auction. Swing by the KVV table and say hi! For tickets, please visit or call 805-574-1638.