Hoi Polloi Winery
Santa Clarita Mountains
A garagiste winery sourcing world-class grapes from the best vineyards they can find
Founded in 2014 by Doug Minnick (winemaker), Ted Behlendorf and Dan Andersen, Hoi Polloi Winery specializes in crafting Pinot Noir, Grenache, Rosé, Cabernet Sauvignon and a wide range of Syrahs from California’s Central Coast. This dynamic trio is all about keeping it real - you won’t find any hoity-toity, pretentiousness from this group which is definitely refreshing in an industry that can sometimes be perceived that way. The name of the winery, ‘Hoi Polloi,’ is actually a Greek phrase that translates to ‘the masses; the common people, riff-raff, plebeians, Salt of the Earth, the lower classes, rank and file, third estate, the mob, the proletariat, etc.’ These guys may not be fancy with their own lush hillside vineyard or grand Mediterranean villa overlooking swaying oaks, but they do compete where it matters most - taste.
Before starting Hoi Polloi, Doug worked his way into the wine industry by co-founding (with Stewart McLennan) the popular California Garagiste Wine Festivals, which are dedicated to the undiscovered, cutting-edge, artisan wine producers who make less than 1,500 cases per year. The festivals help connect people with ultra premium, hard-to-find wines while also raising scholarship funds for future winemakers at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. While running the festivals, Doug also started making wine on the side with friends Ted Behlendorf and Dan Andersen. They had access to exceptional fruit from friends made through the Garagiste Wine Festival, and also plenty of mentors who helped them along the way. In 2014, they were ready to make it official and founded Hoi Polloi Winery.
The main focus at Hoi Polloi is Syrah, which was the first love for all three of the partners at the winery. What they enjoy about the varietal is its range of styles and expressions from varied sources and climates. It’s a much different animal than a Cabernet Sauvignon, which can be a bit more predictable. At Hoi Polloi, the partners enjoy sourcing Syrah fruit from cool climate regions like the Sta. Rita Hills and Russian River Valley (Sonoma), but also from hotter regions like the Westside of Paso Robles, where the style is much more robust.
Doug, Ted and Dan know they can’t make a great wine from average fruit, which is why they believe in sourcing world-class grapes from the best vineyards they can find. Their micro-scale production means every barrel gets their full hands-on attention, which is something large scale wineries simply cannot do. The vineyards they source from are located throughout Santa Barbara County, Paso Robles and Sonoma, but the winery itself is located in Santa Clarita and the new ‘Double Trouble’ Tasting Room is nearby in Newhall. They look forward to sharing their wines with fellow wine enthusiasts who embrace the special ‘Garagiste’ winemaking spirit. Cheers!