Taste of La Cresta

The vendors had just as much fun as the event goers. Photo by Juanita Gates.

We were invited to spend a wonderful afternoon at the beautiful Hall and Oaks ranch in La Cresta for the Taste of La Cresta fund raising event. Numerous local wineries, breweries, restaurants, artists and artisan craftsman were in attendance. Add to this a classic car show, silent auction, and live entertainment, it was the ultimate way to enjoy a picturesque Sunday.

Who was there and what were they serving:

Weins – Featuring two wines made from La Cresta grapes: 2006 Pinot Noir, and 2009 Pinot Gris. Dave Wiens informed me that the Pinot Noir is currently available only to Wine Club Members, if any is left it will be released to the public in about two months time. There is a lot of interest in this wine.

Owing to the heat, I chose to taste the Pinot Gris, it was the perfect choice to battle the 95 plus degrees, clean and refreshing with a little pucker factor and a nice crisp finish.

MiddleRidge – Pouring Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc, Meritage and Syrah. Chris Johnston was kind enough to fashion me a wine glass from the remnants of a water bottle and then fill it with deliciously cold Pinot Grigio. It goes to show, its not the glass, but what’s in it that counts. The Pinot was just what I needed on this 95 day, perfectly refreshing.

Chris Johnston of Middleridge Winery. Photo by Juanita Gates.

The Collective…and Jasmine Giola – The Collective was pouring a wide-range of their clients wines including:

  • Woodworth: Black Dog, Pinot Noir, 2008 Chardonnay and Golden Maggie (a bone-dry white Merlot)
  • Fazeli: 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon, 2006 Shiraz, 2006 Grenache. They have a new winery planned just on De Portola Road.
  • Eve: The Collective’s own house wine, a Late Harvest Muscat.

Jasmine, Wine Club Manager for the Collective, working hard. Photo by Juanita Gates.

Black Market Brewing – Andrew Marshall, Brewmaster and Orion Kingman, Assistant Brewer were there, and proved too popular and running low on beer while I was there. They served their award-winning Hefewitzen. Black Market entered two beers at the recent International San Diego Brewers Festival and came away with two Silver Medals.

They are also hosting training for Future beer judges, which is a 12 week course with guest lecturers from other breweries. One of the unique things is that all the instructors volunteer their time to teach the classes. The class filled up instantly, so there is a lot of pent-up demand to learn the finner points about the world of beer and brewing.

Orion Kingman and Andrew Marshall of Black Market Brewing, share a drink with fellow Brewer Bob Thompson. Photo by Juanita Gates.

Craft Brewing – A newcomer on the local beer scene and another artesian brewer experiencing rapid growth. They served up a raspberry wheat beer and a Blonde Ale. I chose the blonde, and it was another perfect beat the heat beverage. Craft is only in their third month in operation and has already outgrown their equipment. You can find their beers on tap at Barley and Hops, Big Jims, and Storm Stadium.

Boorman – Rosie and Todd Boorman were busy pouring their 2006 Merlot, 2004 Cabernet Sauvignon, 2008 Barbera, 2006 Cabernet Franc, and 2004 Metaphor. A fantastic line-up of serious reds from a true Garigiste Winery.

Robert Renzoni – Represented by his parents Fred and Julie, also pouring a big line up. I’ll pause for a second, Fred refused to let me drink his wine out of my little jagged plastic water bottle, and managed to procure a glass for me to taste his now released Fiore di Fano, which also happens to be Taste of Temecula’s Wine Pick of the Week. Read more about it here. Beautiful cherry nose, oak tobacco and a lot of depth. I’ll have to sit down with this wine one day and give it a formal tasting, quite nice indeed. Also up was: 2008 La Rosa (Rose of Sangiovese), Barile Chardonnay, sourced from nearby Stuart Cellars, 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon, and 2007 Old Vine Zinfandel.

Robert Renzoni Winery was out in full force. Photo by Juanita Gates.

Hawkwatch – One fast taste, then looked at my watch and realized that I was starting to run late for my next event. Orange Muscat, typical Muscat style, with a haunting orange aftertaste. Road trip in the near future…I have to find out the secret of the orange!

Food Glorious Food

Raviollis – there, but ran out of food early…it must have been good!

Antony’s – to crowded to even see what they were cooking.

Rustoco – offed salmon on a brochette, paired with a nice garden salad.

D’Canters – crab cakes, Kobe sliders, Key lime pie.

Simply Sharrons – served Jambalya, red beans and rice, Bourbon Street wings. Look for them in an upcoming article.

Aki Sushi – everyone was raving about this sushi stand. They had serious lines, and offered Teriaki chicken, shrimp sushi, some maki rolls, and I imagine a few other offerings earlier in the day.

Aki Sushi was mobbed for most of the day. Photo by Juanita Gates.

There were so many other vendors present, I just wish I would have budgeted a little more time for this event. I had no idea as to the size and scope of it. Will definitely be back next year. If you are planning to attend, book your tickets early as event guests are capped at a manageable number so that you never have to worry about fighting huge crowds.

Event proceeds benefit the La Cresta Trail Blazers, a non-profit group dedicate to maintaining and building new multi use paths throughout La Cresta which serve horseback riding and hikers.

About Hall & Oaks

This ranch specializes in siring Alpacas and has them available for sale. Alpacas are grown for their fleece, which is similar to wool or cashmere, yet stronger and hypoallergenic. The fleece is one of the warmest and softest natural fibers available, and demands a premium price. The herds are typically sheered in the Spring-time, making their Summers much cooler and enjoyable. To learn more about this ranch and Alpacas in general visit

6 thoughts on “Taste of La Cresta

    • The beer guys took pity on me and gave me a real plastic glass, but the water bottle won points for most original wine glass.


  1. An exceptional event! However, several wineries were not mentioned in this post including Monte de Oro, Keyways and Masia de Yabar; all of which produce some exceptional wines and all are worth a visit. It’s dissappointing that Crispin did not have the time to visit them, as they are all worthy of mention.


    • Right you are Mike, somehow those wineries did not make it from my notes to the finished article. I will update the article to reflect it.


  2. Heya Crispin – We need to pay thanks to our helper Miranda who was the owner of that rediculously sharp spring-loaded knife. The “like through butter” metaphor did not even come close…


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s