Hello friends and family. We’ve got another Foxen staff profile for you this week, and it’s an employee that most of you will recognize, Victoria!
Hi Vic, thanks for joining us this week.
Oh, that’s my pleasure.
What do you do here at Foxen and how long have you been with us?
I am a tasting room associate and I am happy to say that I’ve been at Foxen for 4 1/2 years!
Oh, so you were here before the new tasting room was built!
Could you tell us what your favorite Foxen wine is?
My favorite red would have to be Julia’s Vineyard Pinot Noir, and my favorite white is the Vogelzang Sauvignon Blanc. Very yummy!
Do you have a favorite food pairing for either of those wines?
I really love to have Crab Eggs Benedict with the Sauv Blanc. It’s a delicious brunch treat!
Do you have a favorite local restaurant that you frequent?
I really enjoy the Sea Venture in Pismo Beach.
What type of wine best represents your personality?
California sparkling bubbles!
Why is that?
I think I have a very bubbly and bright personality.
You are our only employee who lives outside of Santa Barbara County. Where are you at and why do you love living there?
I currently live in Nipomo, up in SLO County. I love being up there because its young, has a lot going on, and there is a great wine region up there too.
Must be nice having the balance of both SBC and SLO County.
I do love it, it’s pretty happening up there.
Where are some places you’ve lived besides the Central Coast?
I lived in Central Oregon and the Willamatte Valley.
If you could choose any wine growing region in the world where would you choose?
Right here! I love being in California! It’s so beautiful and the climate can’t be beat.
All of our staff members featured so far have pets. Do you?
Sadly, no, but I do greatly enjoy our winery cats PoPo and Jack who lives down at the Shack.
We all love those cats for sure!
Outside of wine, what would you say your greatest passion is?
Definitely food, people, and music.
Alright, last question. Can you give us some fun facts about yourself that no one else knows?
Oh sure! I love to sing, I don’t care if it’s good or bad. It always puts me in a good mood. I also love collecting Cracker Jack prizes! I’ve got a few goodies for sure.
That was great! Thank you so much for sharing with us this week Vic.
It was my pleasure!
Next time you stop in the Tasting Rooms be sure to say hi to Victoria and ask her about her favorite Cracker Jack prizes. Cheers friends and we’ll see you next week with another staff highlight!
Happy Valentine’s Day everyone! We have another Foxen staff interview for your reading pleasure. This week we have a behind the scenes staff member for you! The one and only Kielly!
What do you do at Foxen?
More like, what don’t I do. My official title is Shipping & Social Media Administrator. I run our web stores, ship wines, photography, graphic design, and marketing. The list goes on, haha.
How long have you been working at Foxen?
I just passed my year anniversary the first week of February. Time flies!
If you can, will you tell us your favorite Foxen wine?
Oh that’s an easy question. I LOVE the Tinaquaic Cab Franc. It’s heaven.
What do you love most about wine?
That I can never know everything about it. I will literally be able to spend the rest of my life growing in the wine industry, and I will never run out of new things to learn. As a nerd, I love that.
We hear you used to be in the food service industry. What has been your all time favorite food and wine pairing?
Yeesh, that’s a tough question. My partner and I eat a lot of Mexican food, and my favorite varietals are Grenache and Cab Franc. So give me a spicy burrito and one of those wines and I’m a happy camper!
Can you tell us what your favorite local and non-local restaurants are?
My favorite restaurant in the Santa Ynez Valley has to be Industrial Eats or Full of Life Flatbread. Non-local is harder. I lived in Portland so all my favorites are up there. But since I have to choose, I’d say that Lovely’s Fifty Fifty is my favorite restaurant in Portland.
Getting back to wine, which grape varietal would you say best represents your personality?
Haha, here we go…I’ve been told I’m Garnacha (the Spanish Grenache), because I have a BIG personality. Garnacha is a very self assured varietal, you know exactly what you are going to get, which is spiciness, strong tannins, big fruit flavors, full-body, and lots of layers. At the same time I don’t take myself too seriously, we’re both approachable.
What do you love most about living in Santa Barbara County?
I’m relatively new to the area (almost 2 years now), but this place is gorgeous! Lots of yummy food, great outdoor activities, lovely people, and it’s secluded enough to feel safe and homey.
If you could choose any wine growing region in the world to live in, where would you choose and why?
Alsace, France. The wines from that region are rapidly becoming my favorite. I also love the history behind the region. It’s been under both German and French control, so the culture there is incredible.
What is your greatest passion outside of wine?
Besides my family, definitely all things Disney and then Star Wars. Nerd alert!
What is your favorite hobby or pastime?
Cooking, baking, Photography, going to Disneyland, thrifting, and doing DIY projects around the house.
If you can, will you give us one fun fact about yourself that no one else knows about you?
Mmmm…oh I’ve got two for you. I’m naturally blonde, I dye my hair different shades of brunette, and when I eat apples, I eat the whole thing. Core and all.
Last question. If you could have any super power what would you choose and why?
Well there are two that I’ve always wanted. I wish I had a high midichlorian count so I could be a Jedi or I’d really like to have the ability to morph into any animal I desired. Both of those abilities sound like waaaaaay too much fun to me.
Always fun and interesting talking with you. Thanks for letting all of us get to know you better. The next time you’re shopping online or sending an email say hi to Kielly and feel free to make fun of her for eating apples in their entirety.
Cheers friends and we’ll be featuring another employee next week!
Round two! In this corner we have the big boss man himself, John Tevis, aka JT!
What is your official title at Foxen?
I am the Tasting Room and Wine Club Manager.
How long have you been with us?
Coming up on 2 years!
Can you tell us what your favorite Foxen wine is?
This is a loaded question, but my favorites are the Tinaquaic Cab Franc, Range 30 West, Fe Ciega and La Encantada Pinots.
What do you love most about wine?
That it’s a living and ever changing liquid, and the way that it affects all senses and blends with food, setting, and mood to create a unique experience each time.
What is your all time favorite food and wine pairing?
2011 Range 30 West with T-Bone Truffle Sliders from SY Kitchen.
What is your favorite local and non-local restaurants?
Industrial Eats in Buellton is blowing up right now! Favorite non-local restaurants are Redd Wood in Yountville and Russian River Brewery. They have the best pizza ever!
What grape varietal best represents your personality?
Why is that?
It’s full-bodied and VERY complex with patience, drive, and force. Not shy.
What do you love most about living in Santa Barbara County?
The farming community. People here are so down to earth and the proximity to the ocean and mountains.
Where are some places you’ve lived besides the Central Coast?
Hawaii and San Diego
If you could live in any wine growing region in the world to live, where would you choose?
I’m already there! I pick Santa Barbara County! I love its location, diversity, uniqueness, and personality.
What are your favorite pastimes or hobbies?
Brewing, surfing, snowboarding, playing music, camping, and fishing.
Give us a fun fact that no one else knows about you.
I’ve got two for you! I used to be a personal trainer and I studied Marine Biology in college.
Outside of wine, what is your greatest passion?
Beer. I’ve been brewing for several years and it is easily my life passion.
One last fun question for you. If you could have any super power, what would it be and why?
Spider senses. I want to depict every phenol in wine, beer, and food. I basically want to be the world’s best taster.
That’s awesome! Thank you so much for your time JT and letting all of us learn something new about you. The next time you stop by Foxen make sure you say hi to Johnnie and pick his brain about Beer and Wine. He knows his stuff!
Hi everyone! This is the first in a series of interviews we will be doing with our Foxen staff so you, our lovely fans, can get to know us better!
How long have you been with us at Foxen?
I’ve been working here for about 1 1/2 years.
Which Foxen wine is your personal favorite?
I absolutely LOVE the Tinaquaic Cab Franc. It’s easily my favorite.
What do you love most about wine or being in the wine industry?
I really love wine’s ability to bring people together.
If you had to pick an all time favorite food and wine pairing, what would it be?
Spicy Mexican food with Cab Franc! My favorite dish is Chicken Nachos, with lots of spiciness. Cab Franc has wonderful jalapeno and green pepper notes to it so it pairs great with Mexican cuisine.
Tell us two of your favorite places to eat. Let’s hear one local restaurant and one non-local.
Root 246 in Solvang and The Publican in Chicago.
What do you love most about living in Santa Barbara County?
Lots of things. I’d say mostly it’s the weather, the wine, the food and the people!
Where are some other places that you’ve lived?
I’ve lived in New York, Indiana, and I’m originally from the San Fernando Valley.
If you could live in any wine growing region in the world, where would you choose?
Russian River Valley
Why is that?
It’s beautiful there and they have great wines there. My new favorite brewery is there too, it’s called Russian River Brewing Co. They make sour beers there that are wonderful!
What is your favorite hobby or past time?
Dancing! It’s actually my greatest passion outside of wine. I was a professional dancer for 10 years!
Last but not least. Can you give us one fun fact about yourself that no one else knows?
Mmm…The first concert I ever went to I saw Tom Jones.
That’s awesome. Thank you so much for sharing all of this with us Natty!
Next time you come visit us say hi to Natalie and look out for our next staff profile next Friday. Cheers Friends!
It never get’s less exciting or humbling to receive such wonderful praise for our wines. Wine & Spirits Magazine’s upcoming February issue will be focusing on positive changes and growth in New World wine and the wine industry as a whole. Wine & Spirits have honored Foxen by selecting us to be apart of this kick off celebration.
Best of all, they have named our 2011 Syrah Tinaquaic Vineyard “Year’s Best Syrah,” and they have also selected the 2012 Chardonnay Bien Nacido – Block UU to celebrate as well. We couldn’t be more thrilled!
Thanks to our family, friends, and fans for the support. We couldn’t do this without you!
94 Points from Wine & Spirits Magazine
91 Points from Wine & Spirits Magazine
Renowned wine critic Josh Raynolds, of International Wine Cellar, recently reviewed our wines and the scores are beautiful! We are so proud of our wines and we are thrilled at how well received they all are!
2011 Pinot Noir Julia’s Vineyard Santa Maria Valley
Bright ruby. Sexy, oak-spiced cherry-cola and spice cake scents, along with a suave vanilla quality. Smoky, penetrating bitter cherry and smoky mineral flavors are sweetened by a mocha nuance and show impressive precision. Supple and seamless on the clinging finish, which features velvety tannins and an echo of vanillin oak.
2011 Pinot Noir Sea Smoke Vineyard Sta. Rita Hills
Ruby-red. Heady aromas of black raspberry, cherry-cola, potpourri and smoky minerals, with a sexy incense nuance in the background. Smooth, palate-staining dark berry and floral pastille flavors are lifted and braced by juicy acidity that adds back-end cut. Shows superb clarity on the mineral-tinged finish, which features supple tannins and lingering florality.
2011 Syrah Toasted Rope Vogelzang Vineyard Happy Canyon of Santa Barbara
Deep red. High-pitched red berry and rose scents are given depth by suggestions of wood smoke and licorice. Sappy, penetrating red fruit flavors are full of verve and sharpened by a palate-numbing black pepper quality. There’s a litheness here that reminds me of Pinot Noir. Closes tangy and long, with impressive clarity, silky tannins and lingering smokiness. This intriguing wine, modeled on Cote-Rotie (mission accomplished), was bottled unfined and unfiltered.
2011 Pinot Noir La Encantada Vineyard Sta. Rita Hills
Vivid ruby. A highly perfumed bouquet evokes fresh raspberry, Asian spices, rose and wood smoke. Sweet, sappy and focused, with impressive clarity to its red fruit and floral pastille flavors. Becomes spicier and smokier with air and shows very good balance, in a Chambolle way. Finishes very long, with fine-grained tannins adding shape and grip.
2011 Pinot Noir Fe Ciega Vineyard Sta. Rita Hills
Brilliant ruby-red. Fragrant, spice-tinged aromas of raspberry, cherry and rose pastille. Smooth and fleshy on entry, then tighter in the mid-palate, offering sweet red fruit flavors and hints of orange zest and smoky minerals that add vivacity. Finishes on an appealingly sweet note, with smooth tannins shaping the fresh red berry and rose flavors.
2011 Pinot Noir Bien Nacido – Block 43 Santa Maria Valley
Brilliant ruby-red. Spicy red fruit and floral scents are complemented by notes of Asian spices and musky herbs. A sweet vanilla note comes up with air and gives depth to sappy raspberry and rose pastille flavors. Becomes spicier on the finish, shaped by smooth, harmonious tannins. This Pinot benefits a lot from air and should be even better in a couple of years.
2011 Pinot Noir Melville Vineyard Sta. Rita Hills
Bright ruby. A heady, complex bouquet displays dried cherry, blackberry, sassafras and wood smoke, with a hint of spice cake gaining strength in the glass. Sappy and penetrating on the palate, with very good depth and energy to its dark fruit flavors. Closes smoky and quite long, with slow-building, chewy tannins and a hint of candied licorice.
2011 Syrah Tinaquaic Vineyard Santa Maria Valley
Inky ruby. Smoky dark berries and cherry compote on the perfumed, floral-accented nose. Supple, sweet and broad on entry, then tighter in the mid-palate, offering spicy cassis, cherry-cola, candied violet flavors and a touch of cured meat. Rich but lively and focused, with a smooth, gently tannic finish and lingering florality. Very Syrah but also distinctly Californian as well.
2011 Syrah Williamson-Doré Vineyard Santa Ynez Valley
Inky ruby. Textbook Syrah aromas of dark berries, olive tapenade, floral oils and cracked pepper. Fleshy, sweet and smooth on the palate, offering smoky cassis and blueberry flavors and a hint of vanilla. Surprisingly lithe for its power, with the peppery nuance adding bite to a very long, vanilla- and violet-tinged finish. This would be a great choice to serve alongside a smoky, pepper-crusted grilled steak.
2012 Chardonnay Bien Nacido Vineyard – Block UU Santa Maria Valley
Light yellow. An exotically perfumed bouquet displays Viognier-like scents of peach nectar, violet, honey and white pepper. Sappy and fine-grained on the palate, offering intense pit fruit and orange flavors and a suave floral quality. Lively, focused and spicy on the finish, showing good energy and closing cut. This wine has a relatively low pH of 3.21.
2011 Cuveé Jeanne Marie Williamson-Doré Vineyard Santa Ynez Valley
78% Grenache and 22% Mourvedre. Inky ruby. Black and blue fruits on the perfumed, pepper-accented nose and in the mouth. Rich but energetic, with good juicy lift and an exotic floral pastille nuance. Youthfully taut tannins give grip to a long, spicy and persistent finish. This wine benefits considerably from an hour or so of aeration.
2010 Cabernet Sauvignon Vogelzang Vineyard Happy Canyon of Santa Barbara
Opaque ruby. Oak-spiced cherry and cassis on the nose, along with notes of licorice, pipe tobacco and vanilla. Plush and open-knit, offering powerful dark berry compote flavors and a hint of bitter chocolate. Stretches out with air and picks up a subtle floral quality that carries through a long, youthfully tannic finish. By all means give this one some air.
2012 Pinot Noir Santa Maria Valley
Vivid red. Fresh red berry and floral scents show very good clarity and pick up a spicy nuance with air. Silky and seamless in texture, offering gently sweet raspberry and cherry flavors and a touch of florality. Closes silky and long, with gentle tannins and lingering spiciness.
2012 Chardonnay Tinaquaic Vineyard Santa Maria Valley
Light yellow-gold. Waxy aromas of dried pear, citrus pith and anise, with a subtle smoky overtone. Fleshy but dry, offering bitter pear skin, quince and lemon zest flavors and a deeper suggestion of buttered toast. Finishes on a suave floral note, with very good cut and length.
2011 Pinot Noir John Sebastiano Vineyard Sta. Rita Hills
Ripe aromas of musky dark fruits, licorice and wood smoke. Full, fat and sweet, with chewy texture and serious heft to its cassis and bitter cherry flavors; definitely in a rather masculine style for Pinot, but not missing balance. Closes with firm grip and slow-building tannins, leaving a dark berry note behind.
2011 Pinot Noir Bien Nacido Vineyard – Block 8 Santa Maria Valley
Bright ruby. Powerful, heady aromas of dark berry preserves, vanilla, mocha and wood smoke. Opulent and emphatically fruity, offering black raspberry and vanilla bean flavors that coat the palate. What this Pinot lacks in delicacy it makes up for with heft and decadent fruit. Finishes sweet, smoky and long, with a strong echo of vanilla. Fans of large-scaled Pinot will go nuts for this one, while those in the proverbial pursuit of balance will no doubt demur; I suspect that both camps will disagree with my score.
2012 Sauvignon Blanc Vogelzang Vineyard Happy Canyon of Santa Barbara
Pale gold. Fresh peach, poached pear and honey on the fragrant nose, with gentle herbacity building in the glass. Sappy and focused, with chewy pear and pit fruit flavors showing good depth and breadth. Turns spicier on the long and juicy finish.
2012 Chenin Blanc Ernesto Wickenden Vineyard Santa Maria Valley
Pale yellow. Aromas of honeydew, pear skin and ginger, with a hint of white pepper adding lift. Shows a slightly dry edge to its melon and orchard fruit flavors and becomes spicier with air. Closes on a tactile, chewy note, with good focus and cut. Could use a bit more succulence.
The upcoming “Best of the Year” issue from Wine Enthusiast features their Buying Guide for California. We are proud to say that we received some more awesome scores and reviews from the magazine!
92 Points Foxen 2011 Toasted Rope Syrah Happy Canyon of Santa Barbara
Vigorous in body, this Syrah comes from on of Foxen’s warmest vineyards, the well known Vogelzang. It’s riper and higher in alcohol than their Tinaquaic Syrah, making it richer, rounder and tastier. With blackberry, orange peel, red licorice, and cola flavors. It’s balanced with fine tannins and acidity. Drink now.
91 Points Foxen 2011 Syrah Williamson-Doré Vineyard Santa Ynez Valley
What a pretty Syrah this is. With moderate alcohol and subtle oak influences, it’s dry and stylishly elegant in the mouth. The flavors veer toward ripe cherries and blackberries, sprinkled with cinnamon, cocoa and finely-ground black pepper. Drink now-2015.
89 Points Foxen 2011 Cuveé Jeanne Marie Williamson Doré Vineyard Santa Ynez Valley
With 15% alcohol by volume, this is the headiest of Foxen’s new 2011 reds. A blend of Grenache and Mourvédre, it’s fruity and almost to the point of sweetness in raspberries and cherries, but turns dry and crisp on the finish. A delightful red wine to drink now with almost anything, and you can even put a little chill on it.
Here at Foxen we are moving into a time of transition. We’re pressing off the last of the fermentation tanks, and next week marks the last days of our harvest interns time at Foxen. The 2013 Harvest is near its end.
This is not to say the work is finished, far from it actually. With all of the wine going into barrel, some important wine making techniques come into play. The one we’re going to focus on today is “topping.”
Topping is when you take your highest quality or choice wine and use it to top off the rest of your barrels. There are a few reasons why you want to do this. Oak barrels are porous, and over time the water content in the wine will evaporate. This is part of what leads to a more concentrated flavor in the wine, but at the same time it leaves a head space which can allow too much of the wine exposed to air. By topping off the wine you eliminate the air space and create a nice seal in the barrel.
The rate of evaporation is generally about 2% a year, but that number varies depending on humidity. In bourbon or spirit production they call this evaporation the “Angel’s Share.” There is no topping done in bourbon production, which leads to the concentrated alcohol and flavor content of the spirit. In wine production, topping is essential because if there is too much air or head space in the barrel it can lead to over oxidization or spoilage. At Foxen we top our wines every two weeks, and as time goes on we will get that lovely complexity and concentration from some of the evaporation.
It never fails to amaze just how much care and attention goes into wine making. We hope you learned something new today, and now you can impress your friends and family with your knowledge of the Angel’s Share. Cheers!
Last Thursday marked the last day of fruit coming into the winery (with exception to the late harvest dessert wines) for the 2013 Harvest. So now that all the grapes have been sorted, destemmed, pressed, or put into tank…now what. Is all the work over?
Far from it! Now is the time when key wine making techniques come into play.
With the juice and berries (for red wine) are in the fermentation tanks there is what’s called cap management that needs to be done along with inoculations, yeast nutrient additions, brix sampling, alcohol readings, along with a host of other lab work. Once the fermentation slows down and the sugar has been consumed, we then “barrel down” by letting free run juice go into barrels and then we press the remaining berries for more extraction of juice, flavor, and tannins to be blended with the free run juice later, and then we bottle!
How long does work like this go on for and what does that all mean?!
There are many cap management techniques, at Foxen we practice punch downs and pump overs. There are many different opinions on the ways to do these, but here at Foxen we punch down our Pinots, and we pump over our Bordeaux and Italian varietals. These processes are a very important step in the wine making process. As the juice and berries settle in the fermentation tank, the carbon dioxide pushes berries up to the top. With the berries exposed they can dry out, which can lead to mold or other nasty invaders. By punching down or pumping over you keep the “cap” nice and moist while also adding the needed oxygen for the yeast to survive and thrive off of. Our policy at Foxen is to do punch downs twice daily, in the morning and evening, and we pump over in the mornings for about 15 days or until fermentation slows or the brix reach zero.
So how can we tell when fermentation has slowed, and what are brix anyway? Brix is the sugar content of a liquid solution. One degree Brix is 1 gram of sucrose in 100 grams of solution. We know that fermentation is slowing by checking the Brix levels every day, and we know it has finished when the Brix reach or go below zero. Another way of thinking about this is the yeast has finished its work by consuming all the sugar and has now turned it into alcohol and carbon dioxide! Personally, here at Foxen yeast may be our favorite part of the wine making process. This wonderful little creature not only helps us make the alcohol in the wine, but it provides a lot of the lovely, complex flavors that we experience in the finished product.
Alright, so our fermentation has slowed or finished what is the next step? We need to get the juice and berries out of the fermentation tank and into barrel to continue the aging process. This step is known as “barreling down.” The first thing to do is to allow the “free run” juice to go into barrel then we have to get the berries out of the tank and into the press to squeeze out the remaining juices. By pressing the berries, we get more tannins, color, and intense or complex flavors into the wine. These two different juices will go into barrels to age and complete malolactic fermentation, then we will blend them together later on in a process called “racking.” Racking is moving the wine from barrel into a large tank to get everything evenly blended and then we will move them back into barrel to finish the aging process. The timing of this depends greatly on the varietal and style of wine. Our Rosé is in barrel for only 5 months, while our Bordeauxs will be in barrel for 24 or more months.
Now that all the wine is in barrel the work is over? Nope! We still have topping, barrel rotations, racking and barrel sampling to do (but we’ll save all that for another post). The beautiful thing about wine is that it is a living and ever changing thing and it requires patience, attention, and care from the dormancy of the vines, to the first buds, all the way through verasion, and into the Harvest season. Harvest may be the most exciting and intense three to four months of the year, but the work is never finished at a winery. Honestly, we wouldn’t have it any other way!