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April 16, 2013 | By S. Irene Virbila
Raj Parr is one busy guy. In addition to overseeing the wines for all 18 restaurants in the Mina Group , he is a partner in the wine bar RN74 in San Francisco and Seattle, and is involved in two wineries on the Central Coast. That's why he's been spending more time lately in Santa Barbara than San Francisco. With winemaker Sashi Moorman , he founded Sandhi in Lompoc, which produces mostly Chardonnay from the Santa Rita Hills. The two just acquired the old Evening Land property there, where they'll produce estate Pinot Noir under a new name, Domaine de la Côte.
February 12, 2013 | By S. Irene Virbila
John Alban, one of the Central Coast's original Rhone Rangers -- and one of the most influential -- makes wine exclusively from Rhone varietals at Alban Vineyards in Edna Valley, where he lives with his wife, Lorraine, and his three sons. “I am blessed with the challenge of living a lifestyle that makes that question [of what I'm drinking now] difficult, not for lack of wine, but for abundance,” Alban said.  “I'm blessed with many talented winemaking friends who wish to share their wares with me and also blessed with a wife who runs the No. 1 wine distribution on the Central Coast.” (It's J & L Wines and he is the J.)
February 8, 2013 | By Ricardo Lopez
California's grape wine harvest in 2012 was the largest to date, up 20% from the year earlier, according to a preliminary report released Friday. According to the California Grape Crush Report , the wine grape crop was 4 million tons last year even though there was little new planting of grapes. Consumer demand for wine has been growing in recent years, with exports growing to China. "We really needed" a large crop, said Glenn Proctor, a partner with Ciatti Co., a bulk wine and grape brokerage firm.
January 30, 2013 | By Mary Forgione, Los Angeles Times Daily Travel & Deal blogger
The Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes area is a little-traveled patch of California that Huell Howser loved and "Wow-ed!" about. The PBS TV host visited the 18-mile coastal stretch from Pismo Beach to Point Sal several times, filmed it for his " California's Golden Coast" series and helped campaign for a museum on the site. The Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes Center in Guadalupe became a reality in 1999, and now the center will pay tribute to one of its biggest fans with a memorial hike on Feb. 9. Howser, 67, died of prostate cancer Jan. 7. "He organized fundraisers and gave some speeches," Lindsey Whitaker, education and administrative coordinator for the Dunes Center, said Tuesday.
December 17, 2012 | By Anne Harnagel
Travelers heading to the Central Coast next month should pack their appetites as well as their bags in anticipation of San Luis Obispo County's annual Restaurant Month, which takes place Jan 1.-Jan.31. More than 40 restaurants in Morro Bay, Paso Robles, Pismo Beach, San Luis Obispo and other communities throughout the county are preparing special three-course menus for $30 plus tax, per person. To complement the meals, wines from the Paso Robles and San Luis Obispo wine country are available at an additional charge.
November 24, 2012 | Los Angeles Times
California's Central Coast seems to be exploding with restaurants. In Templeton, try Martin's on Main, a converted garage that is now a hamburger stand. Delicious cheeseburgers with bacon, and a nice owner trying to make it work. I highly recommend it. The other find is Madeline's Restaurant in Cambria, with linen tablecloths, fresh flowers and a friendly owner-chef. Everything is very fresh. The sea bass with mango glaze was the best I have ever had. Martin's on Main, 628 S. Main St., Templeton; (805)
November 14, 2012 | By S. Irene Virbila
The Wine Institute is reporting that California's wine grape harvest has “yielded generous amounts of high-quality fruit.” That's good news. In terms of quantity, the harvest is up too, from 3.3 million tons last year to an estimated 3.7 million tons in 2012. The weather cooperated to give plenty of sunshine and cooler nights. Some winemakers are calling the growing season idyllic. That's Napa Valley winemaker Aron Weinkauf of Spottswoode Estate Vineyard and Winery 's take on the harvest.
June 30, 2012 | By S. Irene Virbila, Los Angeles Times
From his perch at Bonny Doon Vineyard in the Santa Cruz mountains, the indefatigable Randall Grahm turns out a huge variety of wines. I was an early fan of his Le Cigare Volant (the flying cigar), a tribute to the southern Rhone's Châteauneuf-du-Pape, and his rosé Vin Gris de Cigare. An irrepressible punster, Grahm makes another Rhone-style wine called Clos de Gilroy, which "pays homage to the quaint, rustic town of Gilroy, the spiritual locus of all matters alliaceous. " Which is not to say that this Grenache blend reeks of garlic.
May 31, 2012 | By Nicholas Riccardi and Patrick McGreevy, Los Angeles Times
SACRAMENTO - Former Lt. Gov. Abel Maldonado and his family's business are embroiled in a legal dispute over more than $4 million in taxes that the IRS says they owe, according to court documents. Maldonado, a Republican who is running for a congressional seat on the Central Coast, has co-owned a 6,000-acre Santa Maria farm that grows cauliflower, celery and strawberries. In April, he said he was severing his ties to the business, after reports of a battle in tax court over the IRS' contention that he and his wife owed the government $470,000.
May 30, 2012 | By Steve Chawkins and Nicholas Riccardi, Los Angeles Times
SANTA BARBARA — The last time Chris Mitchum won an election was when he ran for the board of the Screen Actors Guild, vowing to wrest the union from the grip of leftists. Nearly three decades later, he's promising pretty much the same thing as he mounts a long-shot bid for a congressional seat in a newly designed Central Coast district. "We're on the brink of a thousand years of darkness," the Santa Barbara Republican said in an interview, echoing a trademark Ronald Reagan phrase.
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