My timing was good when I went to Stockwell Cellars for a tasting. They were just about to release their 2018 Pinot Grigio Orange ($28). Orange, you might ask! Yes! Eric Stockwell’s copper-colored beauty is made with Regan Vineyards’ white Pinot Gris grapes. The release party featured pairing the wine with oysters by Parker Presents, aka Bill the Oysterman.
“We call this wine Pinot Grigio Ramato,” says Stockwell. “Ramato means copper in Italian, which refers to this wine’s beautiful color”—hence naming it “orange” for non-Italian speakers. The wine’s color comes from 30-60 days of skin contact during fermentation.
“It is produced by leaving the skins of white wine grapes to ferment with the juice instead of removing them, essentially making white wine in the same manner as red wine,” explains Stockwell.
Pinot Grigio is a favorite for summer sipping, and it partners well with a wide array of foods, especially white meats and cheeses. It comes with easy-drinking flavors of passion fruit, blood orange and apricot.
Stockwell Cellars is always a hive of activity—one reason: They have a thriving wine club membership. Food trucks regularly appear on weekends and for special events. Scrumptious Fish & Chips sells their British favorites, Drunk Monkeys serves up Asian-inspired food, PANA makes delicious Venezuelan arepas, Saucey’z has smoked-meat sandwiches and Union Foodie offers an assortment of grilled-cheese melts.
Stockwell says he was “bitten by the winemaking bug” in the early 2000s while running a welding and metalworking business. He eventually turned his workshop into the industrial-chic Stockwell Cellars tasting room that he now runs with his wife, co-owner Suzanne Zeber-Stockwell.
Check out the local art, get comfortable on one of the relaxing sofas snuggly between dancing firelight.
“It’s a little like gathering at a modern version of the village smithy,” the website states. It’s not surprising, therefore, that Stockwell’s old anvil is still on display.
For upcoming live music and other events, visit the website.
Stockwell Cellars, 1100 Fair Ave., Santa Cruz, 831-818-9075. stockwellcellars.com.