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The Central Coast of California is exceptionally beautiful this time of year, its landscape of rich countryside and fertile farms make a short drive through the area just that much more endearing. I recently had the pleasure of meeting Doug Timewell of Toucan Wines, a family owned and operated winery in Arroyo Grande California. Doug was able to take time from his very busy schedule to do an interview that was more like a visit with a friend.

Toucan Winery sits upon the Timewell’s estate; they live and work the winery together, Doug purchased the winery some years ago and in his words “Sold the Porsche and bought a Tractor and a Truck”, he wanted to do something special. Toucan Wines grow and produce their wines in their “micro-winery” located on their 3 ½ acre vineyard producing 350 cases of hand-crafted, award-winning estate grown Zinfandel and Petite Sirah, including a dessert wine named Estate Toucanet, but from small things come great flavors. Doug and his wife, along with a friends and family work the land, grow the grapes and make a wine that has won several Gold Medals and has been featured in Wine Magazines and Reviews of Notoriety in 2004 and 2005.

Toucan wines can be found in many local and national retailers, fine dining restaurants and is available through their website and wine club http://www.toucanwines.com, every Saturday Doug pours at Lund’s in Arroyo Grande, wine tasting is free and guaranteed to please. Lund’s is a home and gift shop located in the heart of the community you can learn more about them at http://www.lundsgift.com.

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I felt that this was more than just an opportunity to write an article about a winery, or to get information on what a small winery is doing in a market that is full or larger organizations and wineries that produce large lots, but to find out how a small winery does so well. I could go on with details of land and minerals, the scientific and matter of fact information that makes articles content rich, but I think I will keep it brief and just tell you what I saw. I found a small but well cultivated vineyard, the result of hard work and a love for the art of wine making. I met a man whom produces a wine that is excellent in flavor and technique and is happy with what he does. It is in my opinion that Toucan Wines is a winery built on a love of life and the warmth and richness of living.

Toucan Wines is operated with a scientific approach and a “Clean Room” environment yet has the feel of “The Old Country” with every sip. I followed Doug to the tasting room and Lund’s to try some of the award winning wines and see for myself what Toucan Wines is famous for.

2006 Estate Zinfandel – nice and crisp flavor, full bodied yet soft and light. Not too dry and sits well on the tongue, nice color and flavorful, rich but not acidic.

2008 Estate Zinfandel – Strong notes and a fruity / woody tone, a taste that was softer than the 2006 but distinctive. Rich color and Flavor that leaves you with wanting more.

2008 “Old Vine” Carignane – this is Lush, Vibrant and Rich wine that has a flavor with hints of berry. No “spicy” aftertaste with a long finish. Blended well with a unique and very refined aroma, opens well and can be served chilled or at room temperature.

From the Website: Harvested from the low-yielding 120 year old vines, grown in the Evangelho vineyard in Contra Costa County. This wine was slowly fermented after a period of cold soaking and pressed to a combination of French, Hungarian and American oak barrels for 17 months. The resulting wine is a classic varietal bottling from this outstanding old vine vineyard.

I left the interview with the knowledge that winemakers like Toucan Wines make it possible for everyone to enjoy great wines at many levels, and it was a privilege to meet Mr. Timewell, try Toucan wines and taste what the love of life has to offer.



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