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Serenity Vineyards - California Central Coast


Brings International success to the Central Coast.

It is fairly safe to say that recently-formed Serenity Vineyards' origins are virtually dissimilar to most wineries in California. That being stated, there is a perfectly logical explanation as to how the already high flying Santa Barbara County entity has evolved into one of California's fastest growing wineries.

Serenity Vineyards actually had its beginning sometime in 2003 in Southern France, when it began producing a Merlot in the Languedoc Region that was soon followed by a premium white wine that were both intended for the American market.

Serenity's entrepreneurial owner, David Willey, at the time a worldly 37-year-old, accomplished the feat of producing the first European Serenity wines under the longest of odds.

'It was truly a labor of love,' Willey recalled, 'I had made a number of trips to France and had fallen in love with Southern France and in particular, the Rhone Valley. There I found a wonderful assortment of grapes that were capable of making some really interesting wines. After a year or two of experimenting, I felt I knew enough to attempt to produce some wines that would be interesting to the American palate.'

Willey had searched for vineyards in a number of different locales and finally settled on property that had become available through the Spanish wine bodega Ferrer, whose operations in the United States are conducted under the Gloria Ferrer label.

With Ferrer's assistance, the first Serenity Merlot was produced and shipped to the United States and the brand began its existence. In 2004, the first premium white was produced and also shipped stateside for distribution.

According to owner David Willey, the two imports were simply precursors of California varietals that he had intended to produce from the very beginning. He also attributes the winery's name to the fact that at one point in his life he was deeply rooted in the intricacies of yoga and the calming effects the postures offered. Willey considered the name Serenity as a natural extension of the art of yoga and its practiced results.

The California extension that we call Serenity Vineyards was another instance of being in the right place at the right time. Dennis Stroud, David Willey's previous boss at Sonoma's Kenwood Vintners, informed Willey that one of his clients who owned some 10,000 acres of prime vineyards was interested in diversifying his client base.

When Willey found out that fruit from the noted Los Alamos Vineyard was immediately available through the new source, he jumped at the chance and Serenity Vineyards' California operation was soon underway.

'I have always been a strong believer that great fruit must be the basis for a great wine,' Willey added. 'The Los Alamos grapes are among the most revered in the wine industry and I simply couldn't afford to miss out on the chance. These grapes from Santa Barbara County were the basis for Au Bon Climat's success, and also other top wineries. I would never have expected to be able to buy them for my operation. It was very similar to my luck with the Merlot in France that really put Serenity on the world map.'

Serenity's first California release came in July of 2005, which was comprised of some 5,000 cases of the single-vineyard designated Chardonnay. The wine was produced at the new Monterey Wine Company facility in King City, where a number of iconic wineries (Chalone, Bonny Doon, and Estancia to name a few) have production facilities.

'The place is incredible,' Willey exclaimed, referring to the Monterey Wine Company. 'It gives me complete flexibility and insures the finest production possible for us.'

The 'us' in Serenity includes winemaker Allison Crowe, herself an accomplished UC Davis-path winemaker with stints at both Chalone and Bonny Doon to her credit. With Crowe at the helm, Serenity's immediate growth should top the 30,000 case level, an impressive mark for a startup winery.

'It is nice that we have been successful in a wide number of states,' Willey concluded. We have reaped the benefit of our French wines' success in some places. We are looking at producing a few more varietals, but it's totally dependant on the vineyards that become available. Right now there really are not a lot of quality grapes available, so we'll have to be patient.'

A bit of patience might not be bad for Serenity, an entity that has grown significantly since its inception. We also expect Serenity to continue its excellent attention to quality, most important to new wineries. Enjoy!


  1. Serenity
    2005 Pinot Grigio
    Serenity
    Central Coast
    Monterey County

    $14.00

    $18.00
    Multiple Medals
    id: 136
    Special
    Gold


Willey's Veggie & Grigio Linguine


Ingredients

Serves six

1/4 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 Leeks, washed and sliced
2 Yellow Peppers, stems removed, seeded and sliced into thick julienne
2 Red Peppers, stems removed, seeded and sliced into thick julienne
1/2 Cup Serenity Pinot Grigio
2 Tablespoons fresh Basil
1 1/2 Tablespoons fresh Thyme
1 Cup Sun dried Tomatoes, soaked in wine until soft and pliable, cut into strips
1/2 Cup Calamata Olives, pitted and cut in half lengthwise
1/2 Pound Gorgonzola Cheese, crumbled at room temperature
1 Tablespoon crushed Black Pepper
Sea Salt to taste
2 1/2 lbs. imported Linguine
Freshly grated aged Parmesan cheese for the table


Instructions

Heat Olive oil in a deep saut� pan. Saut� the leeks until they begin to soften. Add peppers and repeat process, lowering heat to medium. Once softened, add wine to pan and reduce wine until it is almost evaporated. Add herbs; sun dried tomatoes, olives, salt, and pepper to pan. Continue to cook for 5 minutes, turning heat down to low, allowing the flavors to blend.

Cook Linguine until al dente. Place the crumbled Gorgonzola in a large mixing bowl. Drain the pasta and quickly toss with the gorgonzola to melt and coat the linguine. Add half of the vegetable mixture and toss briefly. Place the pasta on plates and portion remaining vegetable mixture on top of each plate. Serve, immediately, and pass the Parmesan



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