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

97 Points, Pinot Report - 94 Points, Wine Enthusiast magazine

In the wine business, the term pinotphile is affectionately used to describe someone who is dedicated (maybe fanatical) about the Pinot Noir grape, often to the exclusion of many or all other varietals. Such is the case with Brian Loring, the energetic owner of Loring Wine Company. Loring only makes Pinot Noirs, and he makes them extremely well.

“When I was a kid in high school and college,” he informed, “I had jobs in various wine stores to make extra money for school and to put gas in my car. A couple of the stores had owners that were really into Burgundies and I became fascinated with the Pinot Noir grape. By the time I reached twenty-one, I guess you could say I was a hardcore Pinot Noir geek.” The Southern California native completed college with three degrees (chemistry, biology and computer science) at Cal State Fullerton and went to work as an aerospace software engineer helping the navy with launch and radar programs. He retained his interest in Pinot Noir and, in 1994, attended the Orange County wine competition where he met Norm Beko, owner of the highly respected Central Coast Cottonwood Canyon Winery. A friendship ensued and during the 1999 harvest, Loring purchased three tons of fruit that was eventually turned into Loring Wine Company’s first release of 150 cases.

“I owe a great deal to Norm and Sharon Beko,” Loring confessed. “They let me hang around their winery until I learned enough to do it on my own.” Loring also credits Calera Wine Company with making the first California Pinot Noir he thought rivaled his favorite Burgundies from France. In homage to Calera owner Josh Jensen, Loring named his own winery Loring Wine Company. From the tiny initial release, Loring has grown to an impressive 7,000 case winery, a level that is dictated by the yields Brian Loring gets from the assorted vineyards that supply him with fruit. The past two years have been low yield vintages, and Loring will produce around 6400 cases this year.

“Remember, our Pinot Noir contracts are in acres and not tons,” he stated. “If the yield is up, we can make more wines. If the yield is low, we simply have to cope.” Loring is also extremely proud of his incredible list of vineyards, many of whom are considered among the finest producers in California. “In 1999, before Pinot Noir became the media darling (the Oscar-nominated movie Sideways is credited with putting Pinot Noir on the proverbial national map) it is now, our growers were all producing quality Pinot Noir grapes. To me, the grapes are everything, and it’s up to me not to screw them up.” Through Loring Wine Company’s rather quick rise to the Pinot elite, the company has remained much of a family affair. Loring and his sister Kimberly do practically all of the actual work and are aided by their mom Helen on numerous occasions.

“We will always remain between a seven to eight thousand case winery,” Loring added, “because that’s about all the three of us can realistically produce. With us, it’s all about quality and if we are doing it ourselves, we know it will be done correctly.” For a number of years, the Loring Wine Company was a part time job for Brian Loring. Three years ago, he quit his software job to devote full time to the winery. “If I would have known how successful we were going to be, I might have quit my job earlier than I did,” he confessed. “I must tell you it has been a great adventure for us all.” Even the labels for Loring Wine Company have a most personal touch. Loring selects a theme (i.e., vineyards, dogs, tractors, etc.) and utilizes pictures of each grower or vineyard for that year’s labels. He also tears off the edges to create an artistic reproduction. The only repetitive aspect is the huge LWC stenciled across each label, a constant that lends toward the marketing facet of the winery.

The winery’s new facility in Lompoc is a state-of-the-art facility with ample room for all of Loring Wine Company’s workspace and products. “I would call our new winery super efficient,” Loring closed. “We have enough room so as to not have to stack our full barrels and that makes handling the wines much easier. We can also stack our finished good in a climate-controlled environment, another quality control factor.”

  1. Loring
    2006 Pinot Noir
    Central Coast
    Santa Barbara County


    97 - Pinot Report
    id: 252