Recently, I was in Santa Barbara and I had to opportunity to tour Carr Vineyards & Winery and it was an intoxicating experience, and not just because I got to sample some awesome wines!
Carr Vineyards & Winery is a small winery located in downtown Santa Barbara run by husband and wife team Ryan and Jessica Carr that put out its first vintage in 1999. What makes Carr Vineyards unique, however, is that all of the grapes come from the surrounding wine regions in vineyards managed by Ryan Carr, but the actual processing of the grapes and production of the wine takes place right in downtown Santa Barbara!
Visiting Carr Winery is like a mini Napa experience with the benefit of being in downtown Santa Barbara. The entire winery, both production and tasting room, are located in one massive open plan space which means that you can sit and sip their crisp chardonnay or fabulous fruity pinot while watching them de-stem the grapes before fermentation or press the grapes to remove the juice to be aged in barrels which are stored just across the room from where you are sitting.
In between tasting all the fantastic varietals that Carr Winery had to offer, we took a tour of the production side of the winery which was incredible. Did you know that red wine is fermented with the skin still on the grapes? I also learned that red wine is fermented in oak barrels while white wine can be fermented in either an oak barrel, a stainless steel tank or it can start in an oak barrel and then be moved to a stainless steel tank depending on the flavor profile the vintner is trying to achieve.
Not only does the Carr Winery produce a fantastic group of wines, they have also found a way to be more environmentally conscious. If you live in the Santa Barbara area, you can actually purchase your wine in reusable glass bottles! The bottles are filled with the vintage of your choice and then given a blast of nitrogen and sealed to keep it preserved, just like a regular bottle of wine. Once empty, the bottles can be returned to Carr Winery to be cleaned and refilled again and again.
For more information or to order some fabulous Carr Vineyards wine, visit www.carrwinery.com.
Sample provided for review