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Costa De Oro Winery, located in the Santa Maria Valley of Santa Barbara, is home of fine locally produced wines. Costa de Oro Winery have carefully selected several Central Coast vineyards to source additional grapes for their label. Winemaker Gary Burk produces wines of balance, harmony and complexity for you to drink and enjoy.

Costa De Oro Winery is the off-shoot of parent company Gold Coast Farms, located in Santa Maria, California. Founding members Ron Burk and Bob Espinola began farming in 1978, growing a variety of agricultural crops. The vineyard began producing fruit in the early 90’s and the grapes were sold to local wineries including Au Bon Climat, Foxen, Lane Tanner, and Hitching Post. During this time, Gary developed a friendship with Jim Clendenen, the “Mind Behind” Au Bon Climat. Jim ultimately offered Gary a harvest position at the famed Au Bon Climat/Qupé Winery in 1994. In 2002 Gary left ABC/Qupé and began Costa de Oro, which produces up to 6,500 cases annually and their wine is sold in 15 states across the country. Costa de Oro also produces special private labels lots for clients such as James Beard Award Winner Roy Yamaguchi of Roy’s Restaurants and the Halekulani Hotel on Waikiki Beach.

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The Costa De Oro Tasting Room opened in 2006 at the location of our original strawberry stand off the 101 Freeway in Santa Maria. Visitors can enjoy our Estate wines as well as other varietals. Costa de Oro Winery has received critical acclaim, receiving 90 point scores or higher from Robert Parker, James Laube/Wine Spectator, and Wine and Spirits Magazine. Costa De Oro has wines named in the Top 100 Wines of the Year by Wines and Spirits Magazine (2000), the San Francisco Chronicle (2001), Wine Country Living (2003), and most recently Winner of Best in Show at both the Orange and Santa Barbara County Fairs.

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I had the pleasure of meeting Gary at his production location to talk with him about his present plans for more exciting wines. Gary was busy at work, creating the beginnings of this season’s Pinot Noir. I was shown a large vat in which were the grapes and materials starting the fermentation process. The grapes were small and resembled blueberries. Gary explained that the small grape gives the wine its intensity and allows for greater flavor. Gary gave me a small sample and it was like a thick grape juice, during the visit, we sampled the wine in different stages, with each stage the wine was clearer and you could taste the wines development, until we got to the last barrel, which was prepped for bottling, the finished wine was perfect and had a taste that was bold, yet delicate and had no bitterness or hindrance to its sweetness. This was very exciting, learning more about the wine making process allows me to enjoy wine more, that- and wine tasting is a very pleasant experience.

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Costa de Oro Winery produces Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc and Rose. There are plans in the works for more varietals and special blends that should be astounding. Recently, Costa de Oro Winery was awarded “Premium – Best of Class” Chairman’s Award for their ‘Reserva Dorado’ 2008 Chardonnay, Gold Medal for their 2008 Pinot Noir and the Bronze Award for both their 2008 Chardonnay and 2008 “Reserva Oro Rojo” ( 2010 Orange County 2010 Wine Awards, Orange County Wine Society ).

I quote Gary Burk- “ One of the aspects of being a smaller wine producer is that we prefer quality over quantity, we produce wines that matter, the taste and flavor, the individual uniqueness of each bottle I want our wines to be remembered for being good to the last glass”.

I sampled the 2006 Syrah Dessert Wine, which retails at $ 24.99 per bottle (only $ 19.99 for wine club Members) and I found it to be rich and robust, hints of Plum, Carmel and just a bit of Clove, well balanced with strong notes but no after bite, much like a port, but smoother and sweeter.

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With the holidays coming up, I would strongly suggest you stop by the Costa de Oro Winery Tasting room, 1331 S. Nicholson Avenue, Santa Maria, CA 93454, you can reach them at (805) 922-1468 and they are open daily 11am to 6pm, Friday’s 11am to 7:30pm. Tasting fees are $ 7.00 for 5, 1-oz. pours. The tasting room also offer Wines by the Glass for $ 7.00 & $ 10.00 and Cheese plates are also available from $ 5.00 – $ 12.00.

Costa De Oro also has live entertainment and events at their Tasting Room, and recently worked on several community supportive events, including an Event to support CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) which helps and protects the rights of children during family crisis and legal actions.

One of my favorite events that I have been to are the Friday Night Wine Downs – 4:30pm – 7:30pm on Fridays, when wine club members and the public can come in, listen to live music, try catered delights and pick up wine selections.

Some upcoming events:

· 11/5/2010 Burnin’ James w/ Terry Lawless – Hot & Funky!

· 11/12/2010 Blue Souls – Harp & Slide Guitar!

· 11/19/2010 Mike Dean – Guitar God!

· CD Release Party for Still Evolving • Saturday, Nov. 13th, 6-8pm

Come hear the boys play from their new CD of original music!

· Pinotfest! @ Farallon Restaurant• Saturday, Nov. 20th, 3-6pm,

Farallon Restaurant, San Francisco – come enjoy Pinots from the best producers on the West Coast! (Call for details)

I would like to thank Wine Maker Gary Burk for taking time out of his busy holiday schedule to do this interview, and I encourage you to go taste some of the best wines Santa Maria Have to offer, if you are too far away, contact your local vendor to see about getting a bottle or 2, if not, The Costa de Oro Winery has a Wine Club that offers shipping, you can visit their Web Site and get more information or to Order Online.

Cheers, now “Go Get Your Groove On”

Joseph Timmons

Groove Studio One – Style and Entertainment Magazine

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