Central Coast Wineries and their Unusual Names

In Shakespeare's classic "Romeo and Juliet," the heroine pointedly asked, "What's in a name?" There is a universal truth to our moniker, they are our identity, our essence. A quick glance at the wine industry reveals that the majority of wineries are named after their owners. However, amid all those surnames are a few winery names that beg explaination.

Bill Cates, co-owner of Tantara Winery in Santa Maria owned a horse named Tantara when he lived in Virginia. "She lead a charmed life of sorts," Bill said. "When Tantara was quite old I sent her to live out her days with other mares." But after a while Bill realized she wasn't getting around very well and made the difficult decision to put her down. He arranged for a vet to euthanize her. "A month later I went back to visit Tantara's grave site.” As he stood there, tears in his eyes for the loss he felt for his beloved horse, something bumped into him from behind. “It was Tantara. The vet had put down the wrong horse! After that, we let her live out her days on her own terms." Just like the pinot noirs they produce, Bill and co-owner Jeff Fink are making wines on their own terms.

Klinker Brick Winery in Lodi took their name from the many houses built in the1920s that used klinker bricks for construction. Klinkers are mal-formed bricks with dark colors due to overheating and cast aside because of their imperfections. However, klinkers provide buildings with a very unique look, as no two are alike. "These bricks have dark, rich colors, and are heavier in weight," Lynne Barnard, President of Klinker Brick Winery explains. "The real relationship of the name to the wines is not the "clinking" sound when the bricks are banged together, but the dark, rich color and heavier weight, just like our big zinfandel."
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For more than 25 years, The California Wine Club founders Bruce and Pam Boring have explored all corners of California’s wine country to find award-winning, handcrafted wine to share with the world. Each month, the club features a different small family winery and hand selects two of their best wines for members.