March 12, 2019 – As we announced last week, Sangria Wine and Tapas Bar is now open at 5 Del Fino Place, next to Trailside Café at the west end of Carmel Valley Village. Owned by Robert and Colleen Mann, she of Jamaica, and he of the Central Valley, Sangria is making its mark by giving wine drinkers a choice of how they want their wine dispensed.
Says Robert, “Sangria offers three different ways for fulfilling a customer’s wish for wine: traditional pours by the glass from bottles, glasses poured from our premium keg wines and ‘self-service’ from our 12-bottle Napa Tech wine station. The customer purchases a debit card and simply inserts it into the machine slot, pushes a button for a taste, half glass, or full glass. The customer has full freedom to sample twelve select wines on their own timing—totally fun!”
What makes a couple open a wine bar with such long hours (6:30am to 9pm)? And why tapas? Mann explains the two met at an underwhelming restaurant in Watsonville. But, he goes on to say, “It was at a wine and tapas party in the Monterey area that we clicked, and all else is history.” They currently live in Las Palmas.
It’s been a long circuitous journey to get here, especially for Colleen, who hails from Jamaica, Connecticut, and now California. She attended school in Jamaica and Connecticut as well as US military medical schools. She served as an OR nurse in the US Army for 12 years, and then at Salinas Memorial Hospital for over 20 years.
Robert says that before military service, he worked on farms in the Central Valley, which gave him a love and appreciation for agriculture, especially the growing and picking of grapes, which fueled his passion for wine. “After serving and college, I worked as a controller for International Paper Company for 11 years. In 1970, I started my own company and just left that company in April, 2018.” Which means he needed something to do.
The couple, who have always made a habit of keeping busy, decided to create unique wine and tapas bar, the result being Sangria LLC. Why Carmel Valley? “The Carmel Valley and especially the Village, offers a culture that runs the gamut from mountain residents to cutting edge high-tech folks. Throw in the worldwide tourists, and you have a very interesting destination escape.”
Robert says he hopes they’ve created a warm and inviting atmosphere for customers to totally relax. He mentions that they are receiving repeat complements on their décor, wine and food, and especially lots of compliments on their signature, housemade white and red sangrias.
When it comes to wine, says Mann, “Sangria features mainly California wines with an emphasis on the SLH and greater Central Coast wines. We also carry some special Amador County Zins, Petite Sirah, Cabernet, and so forth. We also have Spanish Albarino and sparkling wine.”
What about the food? “Sangria offers a variety of small tapas items, starting with caviar, smoked salmon, prosciutto, ham, a variety of chesses, select small smoked sardines, and a variety of condiments. Going forward, the tapas menu will be refined and possibly include the addition of warm dishes. Come in and enjoy some of Colleen’s select tapas with your wines!” says Robert.
As for breakfast, being as they do open at 6:30AM, Mann says they offer quality gourmet coffees, select pastry sourced from Paris, Sweet Elena’s and other French bakeries, along with spinach egg patties, quiche and so forth.
As Robert says, “At our house, a meal without wine, is called breakfast. So good wine and food has been a normal part of our lives.”
And now, you can have wine with your breakfast pastry or quiche, if you so desire. Just press the button on the always ready-to-serve you wine station, and dispense your own liquid medicine. This is, after all, a judgment-free zone.
Laura Ness is a longtime wine journalist, columnist and judge who contributes regularly to Edible Monterey Bay, Spirited, WineOh.Tv, Los Gatos Magazine and Wine Industry Network, and a variety of consumer publications. Her passion is telling stories about the intriguing characters who inhabit the fascinating world of wine and food.