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Gold Medal Wine Club
5330 Debbie Road, Suite 200
Santa Barbara, California 93111
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Gainey Vineyard - Santa Ynez Valley

Critical Acclaim Abounds for Gainey Vineyards

"The Gainey Vineyard is one of the most beautiful wineries in the world," says Robert Lawrence Balzer, a noted wine columnist. Situated in the beautiful Santa Ynez valley, on California's central coast, the 15,000 case winery lies within the Gainey family's 1800 acre ranch. In addition to 65 acres of vineyards, the property is home to a 100 acre horse ranch, 600 acres of alphalfa, wheat and squash, 1000 acres of grazing land, and 50 or so acres of seed flowers. In fact, it is the largest diversified farming operation in the Santa Ynez valley.

It had been a longtime dream of Daniel J. Gainey, to start a winery. It was an interest that started in the early 1960's after initially buying the Santa Ynez ranch property to raise Arabian horses. In the late 1960's he was among the first in the area to grow grapes. However, his career demands in running Jostens Corporation (the jewelry ring company), did not allow him to pursue his dream in earnest until after his retirement in the early 1980's.
By then, the valley was beginning to emerge as the new wine country. In 1984, after several years of research and development, Gainey opened his winery. Originally the vineyards consisted of 53 acres: 17 Chardonnay, 15 Sauvignon Blanc, 9 Johannisberg Reisling, 8 Cabernet Sauvignon, 3 Merlot, and 1 Semillon. In 1990, 12 new acres were added: 8 more of Merlot, and 4 Cabernet Franc.

Two years after the winery opened, Gainey's son, Daniel H. Gainey, joined his father in the family business. Although Daniel J. still oversees the operation, Daniel H. now runs the day-to-day business, with help from General Manager and long time employee, Barry Johnson. Winemaker, Rick Longoria, has been with Gainey since 1985, and has developed quite an outstanding reputation.

The Gaineys feel the Santa Ynez area on the whole, has not yet reached it's grape growing potential. The vines are still relatively young, so the fruit will continue to improve. And experimentation with different varietals continues at a rapid pace throughout the county. All in search of the best grapes on which to stake a solid reputation.

No doubt that the Gainey Vineyard will continue to lead the way. The Gaineys are content with the size and production of their winery. Instead of concentrating on the growth of the winery, they concern themselves with what's growing in the vineyards. They are serious about developing the vines, and utilizing only the best quality fruit for their wines. After all, the family name is on the label!

And a visit to the winery will quickly tell you the Gaineys did not compromise on the facility either. It is, perhaps, the most efficient, well-planned, high tech winery of it's size in the country. The facility was designed with visitors in mind. The 12,000 square foot winery boasts a Spanish style tasting room and visitor center, where tours are conducted seven days a week. Visitors are led on an educational walk through demonstration vineyards, set up to show different varieties of grapes on the vine. In the vineyard, guests view several pruning and trellising techniques and methods of irrigation. And, naturally the tour concludes with a view of the wine making process itself. It is a virtual vine-to-wine tour.

The Gainey's involve the community too, with their endeavors at the winery. Not only do they offer a program of cooking classes year-round, their summer concert series and art shows attract visitors from all parts of the state. Nationally known performers Christopher Cross, The Count Basie Orchestra, and artists Georgia O'Keeffe and Merv Corning are but a few of the past participants.

The Gaineys enthusiastically invite all GMWC members to come see the winery and taste their wines. They do a brisk walk-in business--roughly half of 15,000 cases are sold right there at the winery. Only a scant 7-8,000 cases are distributed to restaurants and retailers, mostly in the surrounding counties. So, if you are in the area, plan a trip to the Gainey winery, we guarantee it will be worthwhile.

The Gainey Vineyard's 1990 Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc offer a superb taste of California's "other" wine country. Gainey's and other Santa Barbara county wines have already served notice to the wine world that this area is ready to be compared with any other in California. "The 1990 Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc are our best ever in those varietals" claims the younger Dan Gainey.

We hope you enjoy them as much as we did!

Rick Longoria

Rick Longoria began his career in the spring of 1974, one year after graduating from U.C. Berkeley with a degree in Sociology. This unlikely transition from sociology to winemaking actually began during his student days at Berkeley when he became familiar with the Sonoma valley wine region on several weekend tours of that area. "It was a bottle of 1969 Beaulieu Vineyards Private Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon that forever changed my appreciation of wine," says Rick.. That moment helped serve as the inspiration for Rick to enter the wine trade. He received his first break working on the bottling line at Buena Vista winery in Sonoma, in 1974. It was there that he met Andre Tchelistcheff, the famed California winemaker who was consulting at Buena Vista. Rick was fortunate enough to get involved in Andre's consultation visits, which were both educational and inspirational.

Through Andre, he learned that a new winery was being established near his family home in Lompoc, in Santa Barbara county. As a result, Rick landed the job of cellar foreman for the new Firestone Vineyard in early 1976. In 1978, wishing to continue his knowledge and advance his career, he decided to take the job of cellarmaster at Chappellet vineyards in the Napa valley. Although his experience in Napa was valuable, he soon longed for working and living back home in the Santa Ynez valley.

With the help of his freind, Fred Brander, of Brander Vineyards, Rick was introduced to the James Carey family, and was hired as the winemaker for their new winery, just in time for the 1979 harvest. At the same time he was also hired at nearby Rancho Sisquoc winery to make their wines, a position he relinquished the following year.

Rick made wines at Carey cellars through the 1984 harvest, then moved on to become the winemaker for the new Gainey Vineyards in early 1985, a position he still holds. Rick is one of the best known winemakers on the central coast. His Gold Medal wines at Gainey have been instrumental in helping the winery grow to its' current 15,000 case level.

The Gainey Family

Young Daniel C. Gainey walked into his hometown watch repair shop in Owatonna, Minnesota, and landed his first job. In the early 1900's times were a bit tough, so shop owner, Otto Josten, also sold a few pieces of jewelry to help get through the slow times.
Several years into the job, Gainey approached Josten with the idea of selling class rings to high school and college students. The idea was such a huge success, that by 1920, Dan Gainey bought Otto Josten's business. By the end of the decade, Gainey had molded Jostens Corp. into a multi-million dollar jewelry enterprise.
During the mid thirties, Gainey began to vacation in Arizona to escape the brutal Minnesota winters. There, he became involved with a group of investors who built the now famous Camelback Inn, in Scottsdale. He also began pursuing his newest interest, raising Arabian horses. He built a huge Arabian horse facility which for thirty years served also as his winter business headquarters. Due largely to Gainey's efforts, Scottsdale, today is a principal marketing center for Arabian horses.
In the 1950's Josten's Corporation set up a manufacturing plant in Summerland, California, a few miles south of Santa Barbara. It was about this time that Gaineys' only child Daniel J. Gainey, entered the family business.
Daniel J. Gainey, soon became President and CEO, and guided the company through it's first public stock offering in 1961. He too, spent his winters away from Minnesota--in California. Between the vacation time and overseeing the Summerland plant, Daniel J. was spending the majority of his time in California. He enjoyed the area so much that he bought 1800 acres of ranch land in Santa Ynez, just north of Santa Barbara.
His original purpose for buying the ranch was to expand the Gainey familys' Arabian horse exploits, and eventually retire there. He did both, as it turns out. The Gainey horse ranch is now one of the oldest, most respected Arabian horse breeding farms in the United States. And, of course, it's also home for perhaps the most high tech winery of its' size in the country, and the most diversified farming operation of its' kind in the Santa Ynez valley.
When the Gaineys do something, they do it right! The wines featured this month are a testament to that statement. And now, Gainey's son, Daniel H. Gainey, has taken the reins. Joining the family business in 1986, Daniel H. has guided the winery operations to national prominance. In fact, the Gainey Vineyard has won Gold Medals with every varietal they produce. The quality is evident. Their handcrafted wines are "made to be good dinner companions," says Dan Gainey. "If Gainey Vineyard wines bring more joy to your table, we have done our job well." he adds.