Margerum Wine Company - Barden Wines

Santa Barbara County region

Takes a true French approach to winemaking

When Doug Margerum first took interest in wine, he was quite young. A mere 14 to be exact. “My parents took their three kids to France on a family vacation,” he recalled. “My siblings were older and took off as soon as we got to the Rhône Valley. I was five years younger so I had to stay with my folks."

“When we started going to wineries, I found it quite interesting. They allowed me to taste the wines with them and we even went down to some cellars in the Châteauneuf-du-Pape region. I found it all fascinating. Then we had wine with dinner and I thoroughly enjoyed myself.”

Margerum, now 55, also explained that Châteauneuf-du-Pape became his favorite wine. He started collecting bottles of the famous red and brought them out for family dinners and occasions. “After that trip, I think I liked my parents even more,” he laughed. After attending the University of California Santa Barbara and graduating with a degree in economics, Margerum followed his fancy to France where he continued to learn more about the magnificent grape. He also frequented the new wine bars that had sprung up around California.

He became serious about entering the wine industry with the help of veterans Jim Clendenan (Au Bon Climat Winery) and Bob Linquist (Qupé Winery) who showed him the ropes of winemaking. Another noted winemaker, Chuck Carlson of Curtis Winery and a pioneer in making Rhône varietals in California also mentored him in his progression as a winemaker. Doug Margerum then opened a wonderful restaurant in downtown Santa Barbara called the Wine Cask. In a short time, the place possessed one of the finest wine lists in the entire country. It remains today as one of the Central Coast’s finest eateries.

By 2002, Doug Margerum decided it was time to introduce his own wines and his first winery project, Margerum Wine Company, was born. Only 200 cases were produced in 2001 and hit the market the following year. Great success greeted each successive vintage and release and this year the winery’s production will top 14,000 cases.

Most pleasing sensation from his involvement in wine? “The fact that I can make more of my own wine for my friends and customers . . . there’s nothing I love more than sitting around a table with friends and enjoying the food and wines.”

While Doug Margerum is the owner and winemaker for the entity, brother Hugh has a hand in certain functions and wife Marni also participates in winery activities.

Doug Margerum is completely satisfied with his winery’s production level and the fact that he sells all the wine he makes. He also consults for a variety of Central Coast wineries on a daily basis.

In 2014, Doug Margerum introduced his second winery brand, a sister project to Margerum Wine Company, called Barden. While Margerum Wine Company produces wines made from grapes grown throughout Santa Barbara County, Barden is specifically focused on the cool-climate grapes grown within the Sta. Rita Hills appellation, located at the western end of the Santa Ynez Valley. Barden is Doug’s middle name and literally translates to “one who lives near the boars den,” a nod to the wild boars that roam these vineyards. A wild boar also adorns the Barden wine labels.

Doug Margerum purchases all of his grapes for Margerum Wine Company and Barden from sources developed over the past three decades. “I guess there are about twenty growers involved in our wines,” he calculated. “I have known these individuals for years and they treat me to only the finest fruit they can grow.” Doug also sources fruit from his estate vineyard in the newly designated Los Olivos District AVA. The Rhône grape varietals planted here are reserved for Margerum Wine Company wines.

For each of his winery brands, Doug Margerum takes a French-inspired approach to winemaking. Each day, the staff gathers together for lunch and talk in the same manner as many French Châteaux and wineries. This gives the staff a greater appreciation of their work and accomplishments. It is also a fitting ending to the story of a 14-year old’s first visit to France.

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Dear Platinum Wine Club Members,

When I started Margerum Wine Company in 2001, my goal was to create hand-crafted wines for my family and friends to enjoy around the table with the foods we love to cook and share. I really began my professional interest in wine when my family purchased the WINE CASK in Santa Barbara - we quickly expanded adding a simple bistro adjacent to the wine store. In 1994, the WINE CASK became one of 74 restaurants in the world to earn the Wine Spectator Grand Award. From tasting wines from around the world to build my list, I knew the styles and characteristics I wanted to emulate when I started making wine.

Barden is my dream to make the ultimate expression of grapes from the Sta. Rita Hills at the western end of the Santa Ynez Valley. After thirty-five years in the wine business, and now looking out at the Sta. Rita Hills from my winery window, I decided it was time to explore the cool climate grapes in this world class growing area. Barden is my middle name and literally translates to “one who lives near the boars den” - a nod to the wild boards that roam these vineyards.

Barden continues the Margerum Wine Company commitment to create handcrafted wines using only the highest quality grapes and producing wines that are truly reflective of where they are grown. We strive to make wines naturally, wines with personality - and limited production.

Harvest 2015 was our earliest in history, with Chardonnay harvested August 27th through September 2nd. It was clear early on this would be a fantastic vintage. We picked for opulent flavors and barrel fermented in our 55-degree winery, with full malolactic fermentation and battonaged for 4 months. With a balance between fruit and minerality, there is an earthiness along with white pear, a bready texture, and high-toned nerviness.

This wine was recently rated by Matt Kettmann from Wine Enthusiast and given 94 Points and Cellar Selection. You are in for a treat as we don’t distribute this wine and it is only available through this club or the winery.

Wine is Good Living!


Doug Margerum