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Kathy Marcks Hardesty: 2021 kicks off with great wine bargains
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From the Vine

Kathy Marcks Hardesty: 2021 kicks off with great wine bargains

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We may still not be allowed to visit wineries to (gasp) taste their wines, at the least until Jan. 29. But the wineries are offering some excellent enticements to draw us back.

I’ve been following their newsletters and press releases so I can report some that are quite appealing. Many are offering things like reasonably-priced flat rates for shipping, and free local delivery. Of course we locals have the luxury of being able to take the short ride to pick the wines up, reducing the price even more.

There are several wise winemakers offering same day local deliveries within their counties. It usually takes a large staff and some go a little beyond to cover South SLO County. But do your best to be flexible, I know they can’t cover every city on a daily basis. The best part is the bargain prices I can get from some of my favorite wineries.

In Los Olivos, winemaker Larry Schaffer at Tercero tasting room sent out a newsletter explaining several changes, including a minor rise in pricing. It’s only a few dollars more per bottle, but if you join the wine club, you always save much more. Not only that, you’re privy to special deals, and tasting events when they are finally allowed again.

“Along with streamlining my shipping policies, I am increasing the costs of my wines for the first time in a long time. Not by much and not every wine. My current and new release whites, which are usually $30 ($24 for wine club members), will now be $33. My new roses and new carbonic cinsault will still be value priced at $30 each. My cinsault and carignane will increase to $38 each. And my other current release reds will increase from $40 to $44. It is never easy making these changes but my cost of goods has continued to increase pretty steadily, and I’ve held prices steady for a number of years.”

Since “wine tasting” is still in limbo it’s difficult for small brands, like Tercero, to remain open daily. Schaffer recommends either emailing him or using his online order form at www. Tercerowines .com. You can arrange to have the wines shipped, or you can pick them up at the tasting room by appointment. You can also find info on shipping pricing and new releases by signing on for his newsletter, I did. When they do open again for tasting, I highly recommend that you visit the charismatic Schaffer for tasting, learning more about wine, and the entertainment. He always provides an interesting tasting, and I can promise it’s never snobby.

At Presqu’ile in Santa Maria Valley, they will return to offering curbside pick-up, Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. until 5 p.m., and on Saturday from noon until 4 p.m. Should you require shipping the flat rate is $25 on orders of $150 plus.

Free local delivery from Arroyo Grande to Santa Barbara is available Wednesday and Friday on orders $75 plus, which can be made same day in some cases. Get more information at www. Presquilewine .com. They have announced they will be taking tasting room reservations starting Jan. 29. They noted: “Don’t hesitate to make plans, we will open for reservations on Jan. 22 and will stay in close contact with our guests as the tide turns.”

In Lompoc, you’ll find Longoria is still open daily, but only for curbside pick-up, from 11 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. so they can fulfill phone orders or online orders. They plan to reopen for tasting as soon as it’s possible. You can order by visiting www. Longoriawine .com. A Santa Barbara County winemaker since 1976, Rick Longoria started at Firestone Winery. I met him just before I moved to the Central Coast in 1996, and have been a devoted fan ever since. You can learn more about this talented Central Coast pioneer on their webpage.

The historic Arroyo Grande village features several wonderful tasting rooms, like Verdad & Lindquist Family Wines. They are still offering their mystery cases of wines, which can be a mix of white and red wines, or all red wines. The mixed case is $165 for the public and $132 for wine club members, that’s an amazing $13.75/$11 a bottle respectively. The red wine case is $180 public, $144 wine club, another great deal at $15/$12 a bottle respectively.

Those wines were originally around three times those prices, it’s quite a deal and they are age worth wines. They will deliver the wines between San Luis Obispo and Santa Maria with a minimum order of three bottles or more. But the good news is that they are open daily, and if you order online or call, you can get curbside pick-up, open from noon until 5 p.m. You can also still walk in and order what you want. You can learn more at www. Verdadwine .com.

All of these tasting rooms are quite consumer friendly and offer amazing special deals year round, so it pays off to join their wine club, or even just their mailing list to stay informed. Cheers!

Reach Kathy at kathymhardesty @ gmail .com.

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