2018 HARVEST RECAP with winemaker David Whitehair

Q:  How did 2018 harvest differ from previous harvests?

A:  The main difference as far as the growing season was concerned was that the ’16-’17 season had 23.75 inches of rain compared with 9.85 inches for ’17-’18.  Because of that, yields were a little bit lower, but the quality was exceptional.  Another big difference was the low-and-slow, later part of the growing season.  We had a nice mild beginning of spring, without any high winds, and then there was a heat spike toward the end of July that brought things back up to par.  The friendliness of this weather pattern was especially evident in Happy Canyon with the Bordeaux varietals.  Typically, when we pick these varietals in their ripe and mature state, they need help with their pH levels.  Because of that, you’re usually having to add acidity to the wine to bring it back into balance.  This year, we didn’t have to add anything.  As the wine’s custodian, the less you have to manipulate anything the better.

Q:  What were the biggest challenges?

A:  The biggest challenge this year was being patient with the longer harvest.  In the previous four or five harvests, we’ve had a narrow window to get everything done.  This year was like a huge engine revving up to go nowhere in a hurry.  So, stepping back and letting everything happen on a normal timeline was actually a bit difficult.  The upside was that we got to spend SO much time with all the ferments.  For instance, what I’m emptying right now – the Cabernet Franc from the Tinaquaic Bajita vineyard – was able to ferment for a whole month before going to barrel.  Also, with the cooler weather in October, we had no stuck ferments – everything went nice and smooth.  For a winemaker, that’s a huge sigh of relief.

Q:  How are the estate vineyards doing?

A:  The Tinaquaic Alta vineyard is doing surprisingly well.  We’re getting two and a half tons to the acre of dry-farmed Chardonnay!  I’m convinced there’s an aquifer under it somewhere – either that or it’s a miracle.  Tinaquaic Bajita is also doing great thanks to a new well.  During the heat spell, we were able to give that little bit of water to the vines to keep wilting to a minimum.  We’re starting in with some watering now as well to get a head start on next year’s crop.  Should have even bigger buds and thicker canes because of it.  As soon as we get some rain, we’re going to disc and plant nitrogen-fixing cover crops in both vineyards to keep things as sustainable as possible.

Q:  Final thoughts on the 2018 harvest?

A:  I think 2018 is going to be known across the board as being one of the most spectacular harvests that California – especially the Central Coast – has seen in a long time.  

California Wine Month

Pink is Back!!! 2017 Rosé of Mourvèdre Santa Ynez Valley

In conjunction with this weekend’s Vintners’ Festival Weekend, we are releasing our 2017 Rosé of Mourvèdre.
As we’ve done in the past, Foxen will donate $1 dollar for every bottle sold from now until the end of May to breast cancer research. This includes all web store purchases, in addition to tasting room sales. So, this is a great time to stock up on our 2017 Rosé of Mourvèdre for the summer!
After May we will make a
donation from these proceeds to the
Santa Barbara’s Breast Cancer Resource Center.
Drink PINK. Drink FOXEN.
2017 Rosé of Mourvèdre
Retail: $26.00
Anchor & Compass Club: $22.10
Master & Commander Club: $20.80


Fall in Love with FOXEN with our February Wine Bundle

For the month of February we will be offering a discounted wine bundle that is sure to please.

The bundle will include:
2014 Syrah, Tinaquaic Vineyard
93 Points – Wine Enthusiast
91-93 Points – Wine Advocate
2014 Cuvée Jeanne Marie, Williamson-Doré Vineyard
92 Points – California Grapevine
91 Points – Vinous
2014 Pajarito, Happy Canyon of Santa Barbara
Due to the extremely small production
 this is not submitted for review
Regular Retail Value: $136.00
Bundle Price: $122.00
Anchor & Compass Club Price: $103.70
Master & Commander Club Price: $97.60
Click Here to Purchase

Our Fe Ciega Vineyard Pinot Noir is Back!

New Release!
2014 Pinot Noir, Fe Ciega Vineyard

You can taste this wine in our tasting room, as it is now available on our Pinot Flight, offered at 7600 Foxen Canyon Road.

14 Feciega Main
Retail: $66.00
Anchor & Compass Club: $56.10
Master & Commander Club: $52.80
95 Points – Tasting Panel Magazine 
“Crisp and racy with juicy Burgundian style; elegant and lifted with smooth, fresh raspberry and tangy cherry fruit; illustrates why we love this variety; lively and long, seductive and pure.”
94 Points – Wine Advocate, Jeb Dunnuck 
“Spice box, sappy herbs, bright acidity, rose petal, black cherry and currant notes all emerge from the 2014 Pinot Noir Fe Ciega Vineyard. This medium-bodied, supple, layered and charming effort has fine tannin, bright acidity and a good finish, all suggesting it will evolve nicely. Note, this spent 17 months in 40% new French oak.”
92 Points – Wine Enthusiast 
“Reserved on the nose, this bottling by Billy Wathen and Dick Dore from their friend Rick Longoria’s vineyard offers cranberry, fennel, lavender and a touch of smoke on the nose. It’s delicate in its approach, with tightly woven strawberry, red plum and cranberry fruit lifted by dried sagebrush and more of that wildfire smoke.”
91 Points – Burghound 
“This is also quite deeply pitched yet attractively cool with its admirably pure aromas of plum, violet and dark cherry where an interesting note of dried tangerine peel can be found. The energetic medium weight flavors possess a highly sophisticated mouth feel thanks primarily to the notably fine-grained tannins shaping the delicious, dusty and complex finale. This should benefit from a few years of bottle age yet it’s not so tightly wound that it couldn’t be enjoyed on the younger side if that’s your preference.”

Click to Purchase

Northern California Wildfire Relief Fund


Dear Friends,
As you are aware, Northern California wine country has been hit by devastating wildfires that have led to terrible loss of life and property. The events are simply heartbreaking, and the situation is still unfolding.
We wanted to take this opportunity to let you know that the Santa Barbara wine community wants to do its part. Yesterday, The Santa Barbara Vintners Foundation  set up a fund in partnership with Direct Relief by creating a fundraising site (see below link) specifically benefitting Northern California fire relief.
Many of you already know that Foxen and our Santa Barbara wine community have been  enthusiastic supporters of Direct Relief for nearly twenty years. Headquartered in Goleta, Direct Relief is a humanitarian aid organization, active in all 50 states and more than 80 countries–with a mission to improve the health and lives of people affected by poverty or emergencies. You may already know that Direct Relief was among some of the first on the ground bringing desperately needed medical supplies to those regions affected by hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria, in addition to earthquakes and other natural disasters around the world.
If you haven’t already done so, we ask that you consider a donation to Direct Relief by visiting: https://www.directrelief.org/sbvintners.
This has been a difficult year for so many people everywhere. Keeping others in our hearts truly does make a difference, and we are grateful for your support.
 Bill, Becky, Dick and Jenny

13 Pinot SRH Thumb

Now until the end of the year, Foxen will also be donating  $1.00 for every bottle of 2013 Pinot Noir, Sta. Rita Hills sold.

Retail: $38.00
Anchor & Compass Club Price: $32.30
Master & Commander Club Price: $30.40

91 Points – Tasting Panel Magazine
90 Points – Wine Enthusiast
90 Points – Jeb Dunnuck, Wine Advocate

Click Here to Purchase 

foxen 7200 Starlane Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon

Our first ever Starlane Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 
Now Available
     The Starlane Vineyard sits on a series of mesas (also known as “potreros” in Spanish) against the backdrop of the San Raphael Mountains, on the eastern edge of the Happy Canyon AVA. We source Cabernet Sauvignon from Block 28 at Starlane, which sits high on the property, and has a 30-35% slope with southerly exposure.
Retail: $50.00
Anchor & Compass Club: $42.50
Master & Commander: $40.00
Starlanewine pairing

2012 Cabernet Franc Food and Wine Pairing

Our 2012 Cabernet Franc was recently mentioned in an article in the Santa Barbara Independent. FOXEN has been producing a Cabernet Franc since the early 90’s and believe it is a very versatile wine that can be paired with many different types of cuisine. The recipe below for Lamb Chops with Moroccan BBQ sauce was mentioned in Sunset magazine as a great pairing for Cabernet Franc and we couldn’t agree more.
Billy’s Notes:
“Our estate Cabernet Franc took on a new profile in 2012, when our new “Bajita” Tinaquaic Vineyard block, adjacent to the new winery, became part of the wine. This added two newer clones of Cabernet Franc and a smidgeon of Petit Verdot (5%). These additional variables added a few new dimensions and complexity to our finished wine. The wine aged 22 months in François Frères Bordeaux barrels and was bottled without fining or filtration. The aromas are typical of our Tinaquaic Cabernet Franc but perhaps more fruit-driven with the addition of the new clones and Petit Verdot. It displays aromas of blueberries, lilac, cumin, and graphite with tart red raspberry and earthy beet flavors, all of which are framed by good acidity and luscious tannins. Drinking window: Now- 2024″ 
Retail: $48
Anchor & Compass Club: $40.80
Master & Commander: $38.40
Click Here to Purchase

Lamb Chops with Moroccan BBQ Sauce

  • 8 lamb loin chops (each about 1 in. thick and 4 oz.), fat trimmed
  • 1 cup lightly packed rinsed fresh mint leaves
  •  1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped green onions (white and pale green parts)
  • 3 tablespoons parsley leaves
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 peeled clove garlic
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • Moroccan BBQ sauce (recipe below)
  1. Make a mint chutney marinade: In a blender, whirl 1 cup lightly packed rinsed fresh mint leaves, 1/2 cup olive oil, 1/2 cup chopped green onions (white and pale green parts), 3 tablespoons parsley leaves, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, 1 peeled clove garlic, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon curry powder, and 1/4 teaspoon cayenne until smooth. Makes about 1 cup.
  2. Rinse lamb chops; pat dry. Place chops in a bowl with about 1/4 cup mint chutney; turn to coat. Cover and chill at least 4 hours or up to 1 day.
  3. Lift lamb chops from bowl (discard any chutney in bowl) and sprinkle all over with salt and pepper. Place on a grill over a bed of medium-hot coals or medium heat on a gas grill (you can hold your hand at grill level only 3 to 4 seconds); close lid on gas grill. Cook chops, turning once, until browned on both sides but still pink in the center (cut to test), 9 to 12 minutes total.
  4. Place chops on plates and drizzle with Moroccan barbecue sauce; offer remaining chutney and sauce alongside.

Moroccan BBQ Sauce

  • 3/4 cup honey,
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro sprigs,
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice,
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar,
  • 1/4 cup ketchup,
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce,
  • 1 clove garlic,
  • 1 whole star anise,
  • 1 cinnamon stick (3 in. long, broken into pieces),
  • 3/4 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 1/4 teaspoon each ground ginger, ground cardamom, whole cloves, hot chile flakes, and salt.
  1. In a 2- to 3-quart pan, all the ingredients together
  2. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat; cook, stirring occasionally, until sauce is reduced to about 1 1/4 cups, about 15 minutes. Pour through a fine strainer into a bowl. Makes about 1 1/4 cups.

Click the links below to find more recipes to pair with the 2012 Cabernet Franc 

 Beef Enchiladas


 Roasted Vegetable Lasagna


2012 John Sebastiano Food and Wine Pairing

jseb food and wine pairing

FOXEN presents our weekly food and wine pairing

Our 2012 John Sebastiano Pinot Noir is a wonderful Sta. Rita Hills Pinot. We discovered this recipe below of duck breast with a pomegranate glaze from Martha Stewart and believe it will pair wonderfully with a glass of this particular Pinot Noir.

 93 points – Wine Enthusiast

92 points – Vinous

“The 2012 Pinot Noir John Sebastiano Vineyard is one of the more intense, explosive wines in the Foxen range. Dark red and black stone fruits, cloves, menthol, tar and licorice blossom as this large-scaled, voluptuous Pinot shows off its personality. The finish is rich, broad and creamy.” -Antonio Galloni

Retail: $48

Anchor & Compass Club: $40.80

Master & Commander: $38.40

Duck Breast with Pomegranate Glaze

  • 1 teaspoon ground fennel
  • 3 tablespoons coarse salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground lavender
  • Three 1- pound duck breast halves, trimmed of excess fat and scored
  • Zest of 2 oranges
  • 1/4 cup brandy
  • 6 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Pomegranate Glaze
  1. In a small bowl, mix together fennel, salt, lavender, and coriander. Place duck breasts, skin up, in a large dish. Sprinkle evenly with the spice mixture. Flip breasts over and place the zest, brandy, and thyme evenly on the flesh; let marinate for 30 minutes.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place the duck breasts, skin side down, in a large ovenproof skillet over medium heat. Cook until the fat is rendered and the skin is crisp and thin, about 15 minutes.
  3. Transfer breasts to oven and cook until pink in the center, about 4 minutes. Let duck rest for 2 minutes before slicing. Divide duck evenly among 4 serving plates and spoon over pomegranate glaze.

Pomegranate Glaze

  • 2 tablespoons orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons brandy
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 2 pomegranates
  • 3/4 cup homemade or canned low sodium store-bought chicken stock
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
  • 3 tablespoons aged balsamic vinegar
  1. Place the orange juice, brandy, and honey in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Immediately reduce to a simmer, add vinegar, and cook for 2 minutes.
  2.  Meanwhile, cut pomegranates in half. Hold pomegranate halves over a large bowl and beat each one with the back of a wooden spoon to release seeds and juices. Place 2/3 pomegranate seeds and any accumulated juices, thyme, and chicken stock in the jar of a blender; blend for 10 seconds. Strain pomegranate mixture through a fine sieve into saucepan.
  3. Return glaze to a simmer. Stir in butter. Spoon over duck and garnish with remaining pomegranate seeds.
Click the links below to find more recipes to pair with the 2012 John Sebastiano Pinot Noir 

Billy’s #foxen #fridaylunch Asparagus Soup

aparagus soup

It is a FOXEN tradition for Billy to prepare or provide lunch for our staff every Friday. Usually his lunches are simple, seasonal fare—such as locally made tamales, homemade soup or special sandwiches. Our staff looks forward to #foxen #fridaylunch, as Billy is always coming up with new and exciting recipes each week. Last Friday, to celebrate the spring asparagus picked that morning from his garden, Billy made a special asparagus soup to the delight of our entire staff. It has been suggested by some of our fans that we should share some of these recipes with you all. With that in mind, we thought we’d share Billy’s asparagus soup recipe here, which was adapted and inspired by a recipe posted by Once Upon A Chef.

We found that this delicious soup paired perfectly with our Estate Dry-Farmed 2012 Tinaquaic Vineyard Chardonnay. You can purchase our Tinaquaic Chardonnay in our tasting room or click here to purchase online.

Billy’s Asparagus Soup

Servings: 4-6


  • 2 Bunches of Asparagus (about 2-1/4 pounds)
  • 5 Tablespoons of Butter
  • 2 Medium Yellow Onions, Chopped
  • 3 Cloves of Garlic, Peeled and Smashed
  • 6 Cups of Chicken Broth
  • 2 Tablespoons of Freshly Squeezed Lemon Juice from One Lemon
  • 1/4 Cup of Parmesan Cheese
  • 1 Pound of Fresh Santa Barbara Spot Prawns or Fresh Shrimp* Peeled and Deveined

* You can also substitute the shrimp for garlic croutons if you would prefer. 


  1. Melt the 2 Tablespoons of butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add prepared shrimp with a dash of salt and pepper and cook till done. Set aside.
  2. Melt 3 Tablespoons of butter over medium heat and add the onions and garlic and cook until soft and translucent, about 10 minutes.
  3. Cut the asparagus spears into 1/2-inch pieces.
  4. Add the chopped asparagus to the pot, along with the chicken broth, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Bring to a boil, then cover and turn heat down to low. Simmer for about 30 minutes until vegetables are very tender.
  5. Purée the soup with an immersion blender until completely smooth. (Alternatively, use a standard blender to purée the soup in batches, then return the soup to the pot.) If necessary, pass the soup through a fine sieve to remove the fibers (the best way is to place the sieve over a large bowl, then use a ladle to push the soup through in circular motions). Return the soup to the pot and bring back to a simmer. Stir in the lemon juice and Parmesan. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt, pepper and more lemon juice if desired (you may need up to a teaspoon more salt).
  6. Stir in the Shrimp that was cooked and set aside and let heat back up again in soup
  7. Ladle into bowls and pour yourself a glass of 2012 Tinaquaic Chardonnay and enjoy!


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