Meet two local Garagistes: Ron Hill and Angela Soleno

A little self promoting never hurt…

Central Coast Wine Press

Let me introduce two of the winemakers participating in the March 29 and 30 Garagiste Festival: Southern Exposure: Ron Hill, owner and winemaker of a-non-a-mus of Orcutt, and Angela Soleno, owner and winemaker of Turiya wines, based in Lompoc.

Hill pours during the grand tasting Sunday, and Solena on Saturday. This is his second trip to Southern Exposure, but her first.

Ron Hill, left, and friend Andrew, at the recent Rotary Winetasting event in Lompoc Ron Hill, left, and friend Andrew, at the recent Rotary Winetasting event in Lompoc

First, I’ll let Hill tell his tale, outlined to me via e-mail:

“My case production in 2013 was 340 cases, and consists of small lots of rosé, viognier, syrah, grenache and pinot noir.

“I make my wines in a small corner at C2 Cellars in Orcutt, and I would like to give a big shout out to the Cuevas Brothers and crew for putting up with me these last three years.

“I live in…

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Less is more

Everyone should get some of what I’ve got.  I believe you can make room for happiness in your life by eliminating the clutter. A friend recently told me ‘the man who has nothing, has everything.’  Maybe that’s true, maybe not.  What are your thoughts?  I have found that wanting less, needing less and really on an emotional level more so than a materialistic level (hey I love to live large) is where the joy is found.  Here is what I have lessened in my life:

    Work – well duh, work less!  It is great 🙂  We find ourselves trying to do what we love, then what we love becomes a burden and we resent it in the end.  If you can find balance – good for you!  If you are like me, you will try to take on more than you can chew and run yourself into the ground.  Be careful.  I finally quit working for anyone but myself – don’t know how long I can get away with it but I am happier than ever and working my own (reasonable) hours.

    Clean house – I moved recently and I left all my belongings except for a suitcase, my pillow, blanket, kids and dog.  I realized that I don’t need all the things I thought I needed before.  The lightness in itself is overwhelmingly refreshing!  One sweater, two pairs of jeans, two t-shirts, one pair of boots… and a bottle of vodka.  I don’t have 30 towels anymore.  I have 3. I don’t have 15 candles (ok I still have 5 or so…), but I don’t have junk!  I am not collecting.  I am shedding.  It’s cathartic.  And as soon as I see trash or a mess begin to take shape I clean it up.  Don’t let it accumulate.  Junk and messes and disorganization and greatly affect my state of calm… try being organized if your grumpy!

    Get rid of bad people – some of us are sentimental.  Yep. That’s me.  I want to believe in everyone.  I carry hope for them.  I have faith that they will pull through.  I don’t deny a friendship and I want love more than anything so you can imagine how difficult it can be for me to give up on someone.  Here is what I have learned (more than once now…) – some people don’t deserve you.  Some people are bad.  Some people don’t care about what is best for you.  Some people don’t care if they hurt you.  These people don’t deserve your sentimental attitude, your belief, your hope, your faith or your love. When you feel yourself compromising your beliefs, it is time to say goodbye.  

    Love – I love to love.  I do!  Who doesn’t.  But I know that when I feel like I am falling in love I shape-shift into a monster.  The confident, fun, exciting, sweet person I can be disappears and a scared, angry, uncertain person takes her place.  I am not swearing off love by what I am about to say, I am simply saying that love is not for me right now, or the perfect person has not entered my life just yet.  I don’t want love.  I feel better without it.  I feel mentally clearheaded.  I feel in possession of myself.  I feel relieved.  I have mental freedom.  Praise God.

    Go on a diet – eliminate something.  Challenge yourself.  I’ve always been pretty good about my nutrition but recently I cut the gluten out of my diet.  People ask why?  Do you have an allergy?  Nope.  Sorry – I am unqualified to eat gluten free, but truth is my sister-in-law inspired me.  I’ve sat next to her for various meals and watched the self-control she has (she does have an allergy) and really admire her for staying true to her diet.  I thought, well, I don’t need to eat processed wheat anyway, why not cut it out?  It has really been more of a change in my way of thinking on a daily basis.  Every single time I eat, I care about what I am putting in my body.  There must be some subconscious improvement of self-esteem happening when you care about yourself that much, right? 

    Technology – go live on a mountain for a year.  Now live on a mountain and try to run two businesses without good cell service or wifi.  Pretend the mountain has great cell service and wifi… who cares, you are still on a mountain and who wants to be in front of a computer when your at God’s doorstep?  I know, I am on a computer right now… I can’t eliminate it.  Yet.  But someday… maybe.  Technology is supposed to make things easier for us but what I hear constantly is that we are all tied up because of it.  The technology is invading our lives.  It is a rat-race we all feel obligated to stay on top of.  But a revolution is coming.  More and more people I know are getting rid of smart phones and going back to the old flip phone.  Simplify if you can.  

There are a ton more things you can do to create more happiness in your life through elimination.  Do you have some suggestions?

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Tasting Room Rant – Smoking is disgusting

Ok, so I get it, some people tend to smoke when they drink.  But we are talking about wine tasting here, remember?  Not a single person in the world thinks the stench of stale smoke is appealing and it really gets in the way of sensory perception when you are trying to articulate each nuance of a wine.  So do the world a favor and if you plan to drink and smoke – go somewhere else – like a trashy bar in Detroit.


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Cheers to 2012

I guess life is just a series of moments, lows and highs.  We spend a lot of time searching for the high.  If we are smart we are aware of our surroundings and can appreciate the moment in front of us.  We can create our own highs.

For anyone out there who is suffering today, I want to say, lift your head – you are not alone.  Raise your glass and cheers to what is in front of you that you may not see.  Cheers to a life worthwhile.  Cheers to perspective.

Thank you friends, thank you family.  And cheers to 2012 and what it may bring.

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Tasting Room Rant – Turning water to wine and rinsing your glass

Stop right there…

As far as I know the almighty Jesus was the only one who could turn water into wine… so why don’t you take a look before pitching your water… you might be aiming into the water pitcher.  And…

Don’t bother rinsing.  Tasting is progressive.  You taste white, then red.  Light to heavy.  When you rinse the glass you are adding another substance and diluting your wine!  You will want to rinse your glass in between a red wine and a white wine or some dessert wines.  You can trust your pourer and refrain from rinsing unless instructed to do so.

That’s all!


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Dream Journal – Sail

I had a thought concerning my dreams.  Concerning my life.  Wondering why my brain was nearly dead for a year or more and now is suddenly alive again.  No change in my habits other than the daily dose of olive oil.  But my dreams are running deep.  They are another life, and they are sending me messages that I am unsure how to interpret.  But I feel there are definitely messages, signs and symbols hidden within them.  I hope I can decode them.   Last night my dream was quite strange and imaginative, sort of an Alice in Wonderland (Cheshire Cat and all) experience; enjoy:

(Click below for the dreams theme song…it was playing throughout my dream)

Sail by Awolnation

‘This is how I show my love.
I made it in my mind because
I blame it on my ADD baby.

This is how an angel cries
Blame it on my own sick pride
Blame it on my ADD baby


Maybe I should cry for help
Maybe I should kill myself
Blame it on my ADD baby

Maybe I’m a different breed
Maybe I’m not listening
So blame it on my ADD baby

la la la la la, oh’


I’m aboard a boat with crew of novices.  Girls mainly.  They are heaving and hoeing like old time pirates, bringing up the heavy anchor.  One red-headed girl almost gets crushed by the weight of the giant chain and I stand by and watch in my corner.  The neighboring heaver helps rescue her from the massive steel entangled in seaweed as it rises up, making it’s dark, clanking sound.

Once it is lifted from the ocean floor we start to move.  The force of the wind installs a fervent speed that adds a certain fear to my mood.  My friend is the captain and other friend is the co-captain.  For some reason I don’t really trust their judgment.  I think I’d make a better captain.  I have more sailing experience.  I try to tell them about the time that I was sailing in conditions similar to these, with all that wind behind me and how it took 5 days to get back after only going out for a couple of hours.  They simply laughed; carelessly.  I grew more and more concerned.  It seems like we are sailing for a long, long time.

The waters were dark around us as we set sail into the abyss

Finally, we arrived at an island where we depart and walked about.  I find an ancient wine cellar and climb my way to the top of the walls of wine boxes and pick out a bottle of wine.  Then look down and wonder how I will get back down.  Then I feel the pain in my arms and wonder how I will hold myself up.  It’s high and perilous.  I’m tired, too tired to be afraid of the fall.  I decide to shimmy down as far as I could then let myself drop.  I imagine that the landing won’t hurt too bad.  I think of my knees, hoping they won’t hurt much more than they already do.  I didn’t care.  I felt careless.  This place made me feel that way.  So I let myself fall.  I land with my bottle of wine and continued on.

Everything began to expose itself as a magical encounter.  Men, woman and creatures spawned like exceptional sights upon my desert, tropical island that I was, at the moment, walking alone. These creatures bore masks made of fruit and one in particular was cut out of a giant olive.  His eyes peering through it, at me, but through me.  It was as if these creatures couldn’t see me.  It was as if I were dead.

Then I came upon my friends who I shared my bottle of wine with.  It was quite good.  We commented on it, some Chateau (something with an M in it and red on the label -I’d know if I saw it) blah blah from France.  It was fruity but didn’t start off that way… kind of dry and gritty really restrained but it opened up and you could tell there was Grenache in it.  It was really good.

The one on the right is the bottle I heisted… Grenache!

Funny huh?  Then I looked up in the sky and low and behold there was a Cheshire cat, purple and all smiling down at me – and I thought ‘well that is all I need!’

I wished the world, the real world were as laid back as this world.  I wished that in the back of my mind I wasn’t worried about getting to work on time, because I was.  I still had an uneasy feeling about where I was and who I was keeping company with.  Something wasn’t right.  Then another friend of mine (Laurie) showed up.   She was there with someone else who seemed to have witnessed the two of us as we shared a night out once.  This person had our receipts from that night and on the receipts there was a purchase that we had made: magic.  Yes, we bought magic.  Well – duh!  the woman also goes on to explain that while Laurie was asleep earlier she took a voice recording of her mumbling.  Mostly it was incoherent but twice she blatantly said ‘YOU!’.

The End.

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Tasting Room Rant – Do you allow children in the tasting room?

I just got a call… “Do you allow children in the tasting room”, she asked as her toddler screamed in the background.  “No.” I answered.  I was lying.  But hey, I did it for the whole.  Not just myself.  Listen, I love kids, REALLY, I do.  Especially well behaved ones.  But if you have kids that need to be leashed, don’t tot them along with you while you get schnockered.  It just isn’t morally right.

Baby doesn't want you to get drunk and try to hold her



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Tasting Room Rant – Cracker Monsters

Sometimes I walk into the tasting room and it looks like we just got struck by the cracker monster.  Cookie Monster’s cousin who mows through all the crackers in sight leaving crumbs all over the place.  Or better yet, I refill the cracker tray for a party-of-two and they clear the plate in 2.5 seconds.  Guess what?  The crackers are simply there for you to cleanse your palate.  Not for you to chow down on.  Sorry.  And if you ask me where the cheese is, I’m going to tell you it is at the store.  Go buy that yourself.

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What to drink as the world ends

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Santa Barbara wineries enter maturity: The history of grapes in Santa Barbara

Santa Barbara wineries enter maturity: The history of grapes in Santa Barbara.

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