Saturday, December 7, 2013

California Welcome Center Opening

Welcome to the California Welcome Center!

The California Welcome Center celebrated their move to The Collection at Riverpark with a reception featuring Ventura County Wine Trail wines and delicious appetizers from local restaurants. About 80 people from local media, the welcome center, and city and county government attended the opening last Wednesday.  

The new welcome center is the first in California to offer wine tasting and the hundred thousand plus tourists that visit the center annually will be able to taste local wines every day of the week from 9 am to 7 pm. 

The shiny new Wine Emotion dispensing systems are from Firenze, Italy, and the two systems hold a total of thirteen wine bottles.
The 'QUATTRO+4' dispenser holds 8 bottles, with different temperature controls for red and white wines, and the 'CINQUE' model holds 5 bottles.

The food from Kabuki Japanese Restaurant, Gandolfo's New York Delicatessen and nearby restaurants was as good tasting as it was good looking.  I especially enjoyed the spicy tuna and pork appetizers from Kabuki Japanese Restaurant.
The Ventura County Wine Trail's Lauren Belshe at the new dispensing system. They weren't activated for the event, but will be in operation soon.
Chris Brown, Joe Hurliman, and Karen Stewart poured their wines from Cantara Cellars, Herzog Wine Cellars & Eagle's Landing (Joe Hurliman's private label), and Four Brix Winery.  Joseph Herzog, the impetus behind getting wines from Ventura into the welcome center, and friends in the soon-to-be popular wine corner.
Also pouring wines were Rancho Ventavo Cellars, Plan B Wine Cellars, Magnavino Cellars, and Panaro Brothers Winery.

Susan Smith, President/CEO of Oxnard Convention & Visitors Bureau, introduced the center and the key people supporting it.
Karin Fish, VP External Relations for Visit California, talked about the future of the welcome center and its ground-breaking wine tasting feature.
Ventura County Supervisor John Zaragoza presented Susan with a certificate.

Live 805 hosts Sandy Seekins & Tom Hilton (aka Tom & Sandy) never miss a local wine event.
Tom & Sandy not only enjoy tasting and talking about local wines, they're also partners with Four Brix Winery in a new label called 'BlendZ.'

The wines being poured were all very good, although a little short on white wine selection. 
Cantara Cellars 2011 Chardonnay was a perfect wine to start the tasting.  A few new wines (to me anyway) were the Eagles Landing 2012 Syrah, which isn't released yet, and the Plan B Wine Cellars 2011 GSM. I thought they were both surprisingly good!
With a rotation of Ventura County Wine Trail wines like those poured at the opening, this techno tasting room should be a great place for visitors and locals to explore what's happening with California wines.  And it's a nice detour if you're shopping or dining at some of the fine restaurants at The Collection.

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