Do all moms do this? I measure lengths of time by the age of children. Usually, I can recall how long I've been patronizing a business or how long I've known someone by the age of their children. When I met my friends Hal and Victoria Schmitt, they had one little daughter, now they have 3. It’s really interesting how these kids just grow up, yet I stay the same age. Ha!
The family just opened their tasting room on Willow Creek Road in a shared space with Changala. Victoria is a professional photographer. With a BFA from the prestigious Art and Design program at Cal Poly. Hal is a retired Navy fighter pilot and 2-time TOPGUN instructor, affectionately known by his Navy colleagues by his call sign "Bull". He got his start working alongside our friend, Rich Hartenberger at Midnight Cellars. Hal made his first wine under his Volatus label in 2004, a syrah and malbec blend reserve red. (Pronounced “vo-LA-toose and is a Latin term for “flight or flying”). He's added several wines to his arsenal in the past 15 years, following Hartenberger's own apparent policy of "making what he likes". Currently they are pouring a flight that includes a white Rhone blend he calls "CAVU", a Flight term for "Ceiling and Visibility Unlimited". A perfect day for flying. This crisp, clean, straightforward viognier blend is alot drier than you would expect. It has the characteristic floral notes of viognier, which are offset by the drier granache blanc. Perfectly balanced. They also offer a tannat, which they call “Bloody Well Right”. Do you recognize that term? It's the title of a song by Supertramp. Victoria chose the name to pay homage to her dad, Bob Siebenberg, who's been keeping the beats as the drummer for that band for over 40 years. A tempranillo, ”Long Way Home” is currently on the flight as well. Current price point is $25-$40 retail.
I’ve had the privilege of enjoying gourmet meals with Schmitts over the years. Hal is quite the chef and I am sure their customers and wine club members can look forward to reaping the benefits soon. For right now, they have a Sunday special running all summer- visit the tasting room and buy a bottle of wine and they will serve you up a hand tossed pizza fresh from their 900 degree Rocc Box oven. Hal has perfected his dough and sauce recipes. The wine and pizzas are incredible. This is definitely a family friendly operation and the setting is perfect for lawn games with the kids.
It has been my privilege and pleasure to watch this family and their wine business grow. I’ve been enjoying the wine since the beginning and I'm delighted that it is now available to the world at the tasting room. 3770 Willow Creek Road open Friday-Sunday from 11-5.