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The DIRT on AP - a winery blog

Ancient Peaks
December 21, 2016 | Ancient Peaks

Margarita Vineyard: Rain Magnet

Here on the Central Coast, we are all celebrating a succession of rainstorms this autumn, with the hope that the recent drought could be increasingly resolved in the year ahead. 

Along the way, our estate Margarita Vineyard has lived up to its reputation as a rain magnet. Indeed, there are spots on the surrounding Santa Margarita Ranch that average more than 30 inches of rain annually. Compare that to San Luis Obispo just eight miles to the south (around 19 inches) and the city of Paso Robles just 20 miles to the north (around 13 inches).

So why is Margarita Vineyard historically blessed with so much rainfall? The answer goes right to name of our winery—the “ancient peaks” of the Santa Lucia mountain range that loom over the vineyard.

As moisture-laden air blows in from the ocean and travels upward along these mountain slopes (a phenomenon called “orographic lifting”), it cools and condenses, forming clouds and generating precipitation. It is these cloudbursts that create the elevated rainfall here. 

In times of drought (such as recently), the soils can become imbalanced, and the vines can become stressed, requiring a lot of viticultural vigilance. Healthy rains flush accumulated salts from the soils and restore balance, and the vines will respond accordingly. This is what is starting to happen with the recent rainstorms.

Of course, the abundance of rainfall here can occasionally cause headaches: “In October of 2009, we had 10 inches in one day,” says Doug Filipponi, our viticulturist and co-owner. “We were trying to pick Zinfandel at the time, and it really put us to the test.”

Needless to say, that’s the kind of test we will continue to welcome if it means the end of the drought! 

Come try the wines that all this rain makes at our Paso Robles tasting room and cafe. 

Time Posted: Dec 21, 2016 at 9:20 AM
Ancient Peaks
December 16, 2016 | Ancient Peaks

Local Community Rallies for Residents in Need

We are excited to share that more than 200 people exemplified the true spirit of Christmas last Sunday, attending our “Grinch Gives Back” event and collectively making significant donations to Coats for Kids of San Luis Obispo County and must! Charities.

In total, attendees donated more than 70 coats and more than 300 children’s books to Coats for Kids. Additionally, $880 was raised for must! Charities via wine sales. We also made a complementary donation of $1,800 to must! Charities on behalf of our wine club members. 

Earlier this week, Melodee Crank, event manager at our Oyster Ridge venue, delivered some of the coats and books. “It was pickup day not only for coats, but also for food and other provisions, and people were lined up around the block,” she says. “It was really an emotional window into how much need there still is in our region, to see all these families waiting in line with the hope of Christmas. It was also a testament to how we all can make a difference.”

 “The theme of the event was ‘giving is better than getting’ and our local community really rallied around it,” says Amanda Wittstrom-Higgins, our VP of operations. “It was a true family experience with a lot of heart behind it.”

The event festivities included a showing of Dr. Seuss’s original “How The Grinch Stole Christmas” cartoon movie at the winery’s Oyster Ridge event barn. Popcorn, sweet treats and hot cocoa were served.

All involved would like to thank the following people and businesses that went out of their way to donate to the event: Jay C. Winter (photography); All About Events (event rental); Miner’s Ace Hardware (Christmas trees); Just Baked (custom desserts); Trader Joe’s (desserts); Vino Vice (security); First Baptist Church (popcorn machine) and 805 Photo Booth (backdrop); and the Filipponi, Rossi and Wittstrom families.

Time Posted: Dec 16, 2016 at 1:45 PM
Ancient Peaks
December 2, 2016 | Ancient Peaks

The Grinch Gives Back at Ancient Peaks

The Grinch may have stolen Christmas, but he is about to give it back as we host a family showing of the holiday cartoon classic at our Oyster Ridge event barn in Santa Margarita on Sunday, December 11 from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Admission is complimentary. However, we ask that each attending family bring a new or gently used jacket to be donated to Coats for Kids of San Luis Obispo County, a charity that provides vital attire to children in need. Alternatively, those families who are unable to provide a jacket may bring a new or gently used children’s book to donate.

The festivities will include a showing of Dr. Seuss’s original “How The Grinch Stole Christmas” cartoon movie. Complimentary popcorn, hot cocoa and cookies will be provided. Ancient Peaks wine will also be available for purchase, with proceeds benefitting must! Charities.  

“This event is a great way to get in the holiday spirit, have fun with the family and make a difference in the lives of local children,” says Amanda Wittstrom-Higgins, our VP of operations. “It will be an afternoon to remember for the whole family.”

We would like to thank the following event co-sponsors: All About Events, Vino Vice and Miner’s Ace Hardware.

Directions and RSVP:

Time Posted: Dec 2, 2016 at 1:57 PM
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