2014 and 2015 have been very exciting years for us. For one thing, we moved our winemaking facility from our warehouse in Buellton to Roblar Winery’s winemaking facility in Santa Ynez. This has been a big plus since it’s only about a half mile from Oliver’s school, a mile from our house, and Joey and I now have actual offices in the winery. In addition, we sold the Lea brand to Roblar last month. Joey and I will stay on as a winemaking and consulting team for Lea and will make the wines side by side with Tensley, but Roblar will own the brand and the Lea wine will be tasted in their tasting room (which is a very beautiful facility). Our decision to sell Lea was not an easy one. Lea has been part of our lives since 2005, when we made the first vintage of Turner Pinot Noir using a basket press powered by a garden hose. But as we looked toward our future we knew we had to focus on growing Tensley and rooting it to a solid foundation. The next phase for us will be about purchasing another vineyard and perhaps building a winery of our own.
In 2014 we also launched “tenshen.” We started the tenshen brand with one of our distributors, Guarachi Wine Partners. The brand focuses on making top quality wines from the Central Coast at reasonable prices. So far the response has been great, with the wines selling quickly across the country and scoring well with the critics. The 2013 tenshen red ($25) brought in a 90-92 from the Wine Advocate, 90 points from Vinous, and 92 from The Wine Spectator. The Spectator scored the 2014 tenshen white ($20) 92 points. Please note that we don’t sell the wines ourselves. They’re sold nationally in distribution. For information on where you can find them, please contact Guarachi Wine Partners, www.guarachiwinepartners.com.