Montemar Winery - Our Favorite Wines

Lars Poulsen - 2020-07-21

I was going to post a few pictures from a rescent picnic at "Montemar Beach", but I realized that I would probably have to tell a little about the place first.

The entrance to Montemar winery (Nov 2019)

We discovered Montemar by accident, when Theresa and Ron Luri were visiting us, and we wanted to show them Ampelos, where we had a wine club pick-up pending, but they were closed because it was Wednesday, and the wine ghetto is only open Thursday through Sunday. But we drove around and found this storefront where two men were working inside, and Colleen talked them into opening up for us.Since then, we have been back many times, and have a bunch of pictures: June 2017, February 2018, June 2018, September 2018, November 2018, May 2019, July 2020.

We also went on a river cruise on the Rhone where Steve and Caryn Arrowood (Montemar's owners) hosted a group of about 25 fans.


The Lompoc Wine Ghetto

The Northern half of Santa Barbara County (the county in California, where I live) was just starting to develop as a wine region when I arrived here in 1980. Since then, it has exploded, especially after the movie Sideways came out in 2004.

The wineries started out in the farmland around and behind Solvang, but as the number of them grew, the city of Lompoc decided to create a special district for wine tourism. It is a couple of city blocks of small industrial/warehouse spaces, reserved for wineries and wine tasting rooms. It has become known as "the Wine Ghetto of Lompoc".

Most of the wineries have clubs that offer discounts to members that commit to buying a package of several bottles of wine a few times per year. This somewhat makes up for the fact that the most expensive place to buy a wine is at the winery where it was produced. Grocery stores often sell the wines at a discount, but the producer cannot undersell their distributors. At present, we have memberships at 3 wineries, all of which are certified as organic/biodynamic/sustainable growers:

Picnic at Montemar Beach

Montemar has a fenced-in backyard behind the winery building, where they have their bi-annual club pickup parties. This has been colloquially referred to as "Montemar Beach".

Montemar Beach (Nov 2019)

The mannequin mascots wearing stylish facemasks.

Caryn Arrowood with a portrait of her late husband.

Steve and Caryn were once written up in WSJ.

The article is posted in the visitor bathroom.

Colleen and Kate at our picnic lunch.

Lars enjoying his lunch and wine!

More pages

(End of page)