California’s Central Coast, the coastal and inland area north of Los Angeles, near Santa Barbara, is quickly becoming an internationally recognized wine growing area. The small town of Los Olivos, about 45 minutes from Santa Barbara, is the epicenter of the area’s public wine world with about 50 tasting rooms within a two-block area.
One of the most popular tasting rooms in Los Olivos belongs to Carhartt Vineyard. The intimate, cabin-like space is also the only place (other than from their website / online wineclub) where you can buy their wine. Chase Carhartt is the owner and winemaker at Carhartt Vineyard and sells his wine only directly to the public. By only selling direct, every engagement and interaction with customers is done by Chase or a member of his team.
I had a chance to spend some time with Chase talking about wine and tasting a few of his wines. You may recognize Chase’s last name, Carhartt. It’s the same family as the iconic Carhartt work clothing company, which was founded by his great-grandfather over 100 years ago. His grandfather started farming in the Santa Ynez area in the 1950s and Chase’s father started the vineyard in the 1990s.
We tasted some great wine including his popular 2015 Fourplay. This red blend is 44 percent Merlot from Carhartt Vineyard, 33 percent Cabernet Sauvignon from Camp Four Vineyard, 21 percent Cabernet Franc from Curtis Vineyard and 2 percent Petit Verdot from Curtis Vineyard. We also tried the 2016 Carhartt Venture Rooi Aarde, a 100 percent Grenache made from grapes from the Riata Oaks Vineyard in Santa Ynez. “Rooi Aarde” means red earth in Afrikaans, the language of South Africa. Carhartt spent some time in the area’s wine growing regions as part of his global journey to taste and learn about wine, wine grapes and wine growing.
I visited with Chase at the Kimpton Canary Hotel in downtown Santa Barbara in the hotel’s Canary Suite. The luxury boutique hotel is in the heart of the downtown area and has one of the city’s only rooftop pools. The hotel frequently works with carefully selected local providers like Chase to offer their unique products to guests or feature them on the menu at the hotel’s Fitch & Fork restaurant. I spent a fun weekend getaway at the hotel while I explored Santa Barbara.