(SAN DIEGO)(OCTOBER 2017) — It’s crushing season at Koi Zen Cellars and that means 45 tons of varietal grapes will be selected for crushing from the best vineyards in California taking place now through the middle of November. The craft winery sources their grapes from California’s central coast and northern areas including Santa Barbara, Paso Robles, Sonoma, Napa, Lake County, and inland areas such as Sierra Foothills and Lodi.
“Our philosophy is to select the best grapes from the best vineyards in the best regions for each varietal and allow the fruit to express its individual character,” explains Lisa Miller, co-owner of Koi Zen Cellars. “All of our wines are approachable, enjoyable and ready to drink when we release them. They can easily be paired with food or enjoyed by themselves with good friends and great times.”
Koi Zen Cellars recently more than doubled its tasting room and production area to also include a 300-gallon live Koi pond. The expansion includes updated equipment, more barrels and large fermentation tanks to help the winery stay ahead of consumer demand. This season the winery will triple its wine production to about 3,200 cases. The wines produced today will be on the shelves in about 2 years. Their red wines are aged in French Oak barrels for a minimum of 10 months although they typically spend 2 years in barrel before they are bottled.
Koi Zen Cellars performs a variety of tasks to secure the grapes which includes sending their macro bins to the fields for each vineyard team to pick the grapes, followed by de-stemming, fermenting, pressing, aging, fining, racking, bottling, cellaring and serving in the tasting room. “Due to our small hand-crafted philosophy, we care for the grapes and wine every step of the way continually trying our best to improve our quality,” says Miller.
This season, the winery has contracted for seven batches of grapes to include: Cabernet Sauvignon from Paso Robles along with Syrah and Petite Sirah; Merlot and Cabernet Franc from Happy Canyon in Santa Barbara; Malbec grapes from Ballard Canyon; and, Chardonnay sourced from Santa Maria. Each batch is between 5 and 6 tons each — equivalent to the weight of a full grown elephant.
According to Miller, Mother Nature dictates when the grapes are ready for picking. When they are ready, the Koi Zen Cellars crew springs into action by arriving at the vineyards early in the morning when it is dark and cool. As soon as the fruit is picked, they race back to the winery to begin processing. Often this means that they awake and processing for 36 to 48 hours for each batch.
For a peak at this year’s crush activities, visit Koi Zen Cellars on YouTube at (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCuFKTLimniY95z5tC3it7PA/featured).
ABOUT KOI ZEN CELLARS
Koi Zen Cellars is San Diego’s unique uncork, sip back and relax craft winery and was just named Best Local Winery by the San Diego Union-Tribunes’ Readers Poll. Producing more than 3,000 bottles of specialty wines each year, the winery is also available as a distinctive space to generate creativity, team bonding, goal setting, and client appreciation events. Koi Zen regularly hosts wine fundraisers (they give back part of the tasting fee and % of sales), private events such as birthday and anniversary parties. They also offer creative classes such as wine and paint, wine and succulents while their most popular activities are their curated tastings. Wine enthusiasts are encouraged to check the Koi Zen Cellars’ website calendar for currents events such as live music concerts and open mike nights.
Koi Zen’s hours of operation are: Tues: 4-8pm (starting in September), Wed – Thurs 2-8pm, Fri-Sat 12-9pm, and Sun 12-6pm. The tasting room is open for tastings of wine with no reservations required. To learn more about Koi Zen Cellars, visit www.KoiZenCellars.com or call 858-381-CORK (2675). ###