“What’s with all those Champagnes I’ve never heard of?”


Well I’m glad you asked.

Here at The Station, we’re dedicated to celebrating and promoting Récoltante-Manipulant winemakers from Champagne. That is to say, Grower-Producers. The large houses you mostly know by name or by their bright yellow labels are mostly Négociant-Manipulant… Meaning they purchase fruit from growers all over Champagne. So what’s the big deal with that? Why do we try to support the little guys? What’s the big difference?

There are several reasons we have chosen to carry these small Farmer Fizz producers over the easier-selling and familiar big name Negociants… They show a truer terroir rather than a house style, they can be more expressive, the farming practices are often better, you’re putting money in a family’s pockets instead of a corporation…  To put this “Grower Producer” movement in to perspective, here are a couple fun facts:

  • There are over 18,000 independent growers in the Champagne region. Only 5,000 of these are Grower Producers, or make their own Champagne from their vineyards.
  • As of 2008, these wines made up only 3% of the market share of Champagne being imported to the US. This number is quickly increasing as the Grower-Producer movement catches momentum and more importers are scrambling to find smaller RM producers to represent and bring in.

I think Champagne importer Terry Theise puts it best below.


Why Drink Grower Champagne?

You should drink grower Champagne if you’ve forgotten that Champagne is WINE.
You should drink “farmer-fizz” if you’d rather buy Champagne from a farmer than a factory.

You should drink it if you’d rather have a wine expressive of vineyard, and the grower’s own connection to vineyard, than a wine “formed” by a marketing swami who’s studied to the nth-degree what you can be persuaded to “consume.” Do you really want to be reduced to a mere “consumer” when you can drink Champagne like a whole human being?

You should drink grower-Champagne if the individually distinctive flavors of terroir-driven wines matter more than the lowest-common denominator pap served up by the mega conglomerates in the “luxury goods” business.

You should drink it because it’s honest REAL wine grown and made by a vintner—by a FAMILY just like yours—by a “him,” not by an “it.” You should drink it because it’s better to buy wine from a person than from a company.

You should drink it because its price is honestly based on what it costs to produce, not manipulated to account for massive PR and ad budgets, or to hold on to market-share.

You should drink grower-Champagne because, like all hand-crafted estate-bottled wines, it is not a mere Thing but is indeed a BEING, expressive of where it grew and who raised it. In drinking it you help protect DIVERSITY, and diversity leads to VITALITY. And if you’d rather eat a local field-ripened summer tomato rapturous with sweetness instead of some January tomato you buy at the supermarket hard as a stone and tasting of nothing, then you should be drinking farmer-fizz!


Whew, I don’t know about you… but I’m inspired to drink some Champagne. Here, in no particular order, is a list of the FaRMer Fizz we are currently carrying here in the shop…


  • Aubry Brut, 1er Cru ($38) – A blend of all 7 grapes grown in Champagne, 4 of which are very rarely found. A Station fave, we sell more of this than any of our other cuvées. Light honey, grapefruit… a playful cuvée and a tremendous value.

Pierre Peters


  • Remi Leroy, Brut ($44) – 95% Pinot Noir, 5% Chardonnay, all organically grown. Crisp, high acid cuvée with lovely notes of wild red berries and a solid zing of clove.
  • Vilmart et Cie Grand Cellier, 1er Cru ($63) – Barrel fermented first (a rarity in Champagne), rich and sumptuous, this is basically Baby Krug at a fraction of the price. Champagne expert Peter Liem expounds: “Vilmart & Cie. is not only one of the greatest grower-estates in Champagne, but one of the finest champagne producers of any type in the region.”

Hebrart Rosé

  • Marc Hebrart Brut Rosé, 1er Cru ($49) – My very favorite Rosé Champagne. Discreet, elegant aromas and flavors of strawberry and raspberry, light and pretty.

pierre gimonnet

  • Pierre Gimonnet et Fils 2008 Special Club ($92) – For fans of the low-dosage wines… Gimonnet’s cuvées rarely disappoint. All Chardonnay, all chalk driven, with seamless balance, crushed oyster shell, lemony splash and suave stoniness. 2008 is lauded as the best Champagne vintage of the decade, so this is a good one to snatch up as the importer has already sold out.


As we wrap up 2015, resolve to drink BETTER in 2016. You can start with that midnight toast, and we can help you find just the right wine to fill that glass.

See you soon, and Happy New Year!



Oh, I’m so excited I could dance! I mean, really BOOGIE! In fact I am dancing, right now at my computer… it makes it hard to type, but there’s autocorrect so you wouldn’t even know it!

(but now Things… maybe you won’t judge me if you notice any typos, right?)

So here’s the thing I’m boogieing about: We’ve been working on this for Third a while, and finally we’re ready to launch our very own Station Wine Club.

Or… Wine ClubS, since we are offering 3 different options. We’ve outlined them below, and we could not be more excited about THE FUTURE OF WINE CLUBS AT THE STATION! 

As we are in the thick of this thing called the Holidaze (not a typo btw, that was deliberate), consider gifting a Wine Club subscription to that wine lover in your life who is oh-so-difficult to shop for. Or gift it to yourself. You deserve it.

Details on the three clubs are outlined below. To sign up, you can call us (805.706.0711) or email us… OR come in and see us (we love seeing you) and we’ll get you all signed up.

***More fine print: Wines will be ready for pick-up on the 4th of each month, and credit cards will be charged at that time as well. So… Our first wine club will be ready on January 4th! How great! Pick-up parties and other wine-club perks are in the works as well.

The Third Thursday in November… it’s GAMAYZING!!


So I went and sent out a big ol’ events newsletter to all of you about 10 days ago… and wouldn’t you know it I forgot to include the one event that I am MOST EXCITED ABOUT over any other event.

People, I love Gamay. Love. It is one of my very favorite red wine grapes. Sometimes I think if I had my way I would have a wine shop stacked high with Champagne, Riesling, and Gamay and nothing else (okay, maybe Cab Franc too)… and when someone came in for something else, I would say, “Pinot Noir? What’s that? OH No no no… but here’s some Gamay… ”

Clearly, I should never get my way all the time. Oh but… TOMORROW NIGHT, I WILL HAVE MY WAY. We will be pouring Gamay. Lots of it. Because….

Tomorrow is Nouveau day! For those new to the tradition, it’s the day when the French celebrate the first taste of the new vintage. For us, here at The Station… We are celebrating Gamay. Specifically Gamay from Beaujolais. Yes, we will have 2015 Beaujolais Nouveau here… But we will also be pouring Gamay Pet-Nat from Beaujolais, and four different “Cru” Beaujolais wines from some of the finest producers in the region.  And MAGNUMS of Cru Beaujolais. Because that’s what I want everyone to take home for Thanksgiving dinner. And here’s the spot where I would normally launch in to some big lecture on how Beaujolais is producing serious wines, how Nouveau gives them a bad rep, and how these Cru wines rival Burgundy for quality, but certainly not price. But I think I’ll save it. If you want to hear that soapbox speech, you can ask me about it tomorrow night with a glass of GAMAY in hand.

For now, let’s keep it light and fun.
C’est la Fête du Beaujolais!
November 19.
$25 to get your Gamay on, Big time. 

Oh and The Grilled Cheese Incident will be here to serve up some crusty, crispy, warm and gooey cheesy sandwiches, and we’ll all be jovial and a Gamayzing time will be had by one and all. See what I did there? #gamayzing

See you soon.

A Few of Our Favorite Things…



So we’ve been open for a few weeks now… Just long enough to create personal penchants for some special items on our shelves. I interviewed all of our Station staff here to come up with a list of our highlights for y’all. Of course, some of us (no naming names here…) couldn’t choose JUST ONE


JENNA’S PICK: The JOCO Coffee Cups, $24.

joco coffee cups

We’ll start this out with my personal favorite. I fell in love with these cups the first time I saw them, and they’ve lived up to my initial impressions. I have since bought one for every coffee drinking member of my family. It’s the perfect size for your morning Cappuccino.  They make a great thank-you gift, along with a pound of Stumptown Coffee (which we Station also carry…).


LAUREN’S PICK: Podere Fiorini Becco Rosso Lambrusco “Becco Rosso”, $15


“It’s classic beauty meets the party child; it’s Audrey Hepburn meets Blondie. The blackberry tingles your nose and the tannins have you begging for more! She loves to be heard and commands the spotlight on her own but can share the stage with a hearty pasta dish or home-made icecream and cobbler. I love her. I already bought the ring.”


MEAGAN’S PICK: Apolis Global/Local Partnership Market Bag, $60


“My favorite item is the Apolis San Luis Obispo bag. The bag itself is gorgeous, I especially love the leather handle, plus proceeds from the bag support sustainable employment for women in Bangladesh, so it’s something I am proud to tote around town. I look forward to filling it with fresh flowers and other goodies from the local farmer’s market, or taking it with me to the beach.”

MICHAEL’S PICK: 2014 Avinyó Petillant Blanc, $14.


“When Jenna asked us to contribute to this post, I was terrified. Not only was my writing possibly being judged but my taste in wine was on the line as well! I spent entirely too long obsessing over a “sophisticated selection” only to realize that the only genuine choice is my most purchased bottle. And my most purchased bottle happens to be fruit forward, floral “wine soda” that at 10.5% alcohol is entirely too easy to drink. If I’m ever not at work when I should be, at the beach and with this bottle (or two) is probably where you’ll find me. “

KIMBERLY’S PICK: 2013 Stirm Riesling, “Kick-On Ranch”, $24.

Screen Shot 2015-08-12 at 3.28.59 PM

“I first tasted this wine at a dinner party with some German winemakers who were all skeptical of a Riesling coming out of Santa Barbara (as was I).. Verdict- Complex nose, zesty palate, happy ending.. An American riesling that even the Germans love to drink.”

JENNA’S SECOND PICK: Domaine Sulauze “Cochon” Rouge, $17.

Screen Shot 2015-08-12 at 3.53.30 PM

And of course it was me who couldn’t choose just one. I have a motto here at The Station: Nobody leaves without a bottle of the Cochon. I’m not always successful in this endeavor, but I would say I have sold more of this wine than anything else in the shop. Quite simply, it is hands down my favorite bottle in the shop, and I can’t imagine anyone not liking it. So aromatic, so fun and easily quaffable, it’s a blend of “the whole hog”, or every grape the Sulauze property grows on their Biodynamic farm: Cinsault, Grenache, Mourvedre, Vermentino, and a few others as well.

So there you have it, a “Top 5” staff picks, if you will. Well, it would have been a Top 5, but then I went and messed it up and made it a Top 6.

Do you have a favorite yet?

The Station

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