January 12, 2019 – Now that the holidays are behind us, winemaker Nicole Walsh has set a date for a Grand Opening Celebration at her new tasting room in Aptos Village. The event will take place on Saturday, January 25, from 2—5pm, with passed appetizers and live music. She’s thrilled to finally be welcoming folks to see her gorgeous new facility, which features a view of the ocean, when the clouds and fog are cooperating.
On the back wall is a huge, stunning mural of Monterey Bay, showing the famed underground canyon that impacts our local microclimates. The many vineyards from which Walsh sources fruit are indicated with flags on the map: you can get a real appreciation for the varied climates they enjoy based on distance from the ocean. And you can also appreciate how much driving she does to visit these vineyards, especially during harvest.
The new tasting room, adjacent to Cat + Cloud, has two entrances, a big wooden bar made of redwood tanks and old barrels from the Bonny Doon winery, a big dining table from the former Bonny Doon Vineyard tasting room and plenty of seating along the walls. This is definitely a place to hang out.
Walsh is pretty stoked about having this new tasting room setup, dedicated to her brand only. For a little over two years, she had a joint tasting room in Saratoga that proved too far away from home to properly manage. As the mother of two young boys, Leif and Kai, who are both into soccer, which means lots of practices and games, she already has her hands full. Add to that being head winemaker for Bonny Doon Vineyard (which was just purchased by Lapis Luna Wines), as well as for her own brand. She remains the project and property manager at Popelouchum in San Juan Bautista, home of Randall Grahm’s grand grape experiment. She caretakes the grounds and vineyards there, along with her beloved dog, Jake, who loves to romp through the vines. She also makes the at this point very limited, but highly promising, wines from that property.
On top of that, she’s been busy working on her new tasting room in Aptos, which is also a full time job. Busy? Nah. Nothing like that. She says the thought of seeing all her supporters and sharing a glass of wine with them motivates her through her darkest hours and keeps her focused on why she’s doing this in the first place. That would be her love of making wine, honest and true to the vineyard, to share with appreciative wine lovers who understand the sheer amount of effort and passion that she puts into each bottle.
In a recent newsletter, she shared that vintage 2019 “will go down in history as one of the most epic vintages of my career.” She credited the long cool growing season and moderate fall weather with delivering amazing fruit, about which she is very excited. She especially praised the grapes from three of her favorite vineyard sources, Cinsault from the 125-year-old Bechtold Vineyard, Vermentino from Cedar Lane Vineyard in Arroyo Seco (farmed by Mark Chesebro) and Syrah from the Wolff Vineyard.
Admittedly, she says, it feels a bit weird that Bonny Doon closed its tasting room in Davenport, just as she is opening up her new one in Aptos. Surely it’s some kind of cosmic sign.
Ser tasting room hours are Thursday—Sunday, 12—6pm, for the winter months. At some point, she may add Monday hours as well.
She will be pouring flights of wine, likely rotating them on a monthly basis. The debut flight will include: 2016 Wirz Sparkling Riesling, 2017 Wirz Dry Riesling, 2018 Nelson Dry Orange Muscat, 2016 Tondre Grapefield Pinot Noir and 2017 Wirz Vineyard Cabernet Pfeffer.
Other wines available for purchase include 2018 Wirz Rosé of Cabernet Pfeffer, 2015 John Smith Graciano, 2016 Cabernet Pfeffer and 2015 Coastview Syrah.
Come bid her welcome and great success in her new location!
You can find the new Ser Tasting Room at: 10 Parade St. Suite B, Aptos, CA 95003
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.