Camarillo is particularly well-known for its lineup of small, family-owned wineries and tasting rooms, each one beloved in the community for producing the highest-quality beverages. Today, join us as we dive into a short history of California wine and chat with one of our very own wineries, Camarillo Custom Crush, about how they crush the California wine game, all year round.
CALIFORNIA AND WINE: THE PERFECT PAIRING
If you’ve ever been to California, you know that the state is dotted with sprawling vineyards that seem to stretch on forever. Rows of meticulously and carefully tended grapes lay stacked across the horizon, their lush green leaves basking in the warm California sunshine. The region’s unique combination of well-draining soils, cool ocean breezes, and ample sun grants a distinct character to the grapes, resulting in wines that are both complex and balanced. From dramatic valleys to coastal inlets, the Golden State provides an undeniably ideal location for marrying the science and art of viticulture.
But where did it all begin? To answer that question, we must travel back to 1769, to the founding of California’s first Spanish Franciscan mission. Padre Junipero Serra set down his roots (literally) at Mission San Diego de Alcalá, and planted the first California vineyard to ensure there would be wine for communion. Between 1769 and 1781, the mission planted over 2,000 grapevines.
California wine production continued to be centered in the southern part of the state until the Gold Rush brought a flood of people to Northern California. These new settlers— many of them European immigrants— significantly increased the demand for wine, and California’s wine industry was born. By 1919, California was the United State’s leading wine-growing state, with over 1,000 wineries across the region.
However, catastrophe lurked on the horizon. California’s booming wine industry was halted in its tracks with the 1919 ratification of the 18th Amendment— Prohibition had rolled into town and would last 14 years, until 1933. By this time, almost no commercial wineries remained in California. Statewide efforts were made to revitalize California wine. Still, it would take more than 50 years for the industry to reach its pre-Prohibition status.
By the 1970s, California was experiencing a wine industry renaissance— only bolstered when wines from the state were given top honors in a famous blind tasting of French and California wines in 1976. This win led to the expansion of international markets and the establishment of viticulture areas across the state.
makes 84% of the United States’ wine.
has 6,200 bonded wineries.
boasts 630,000 acres of winegrapes.
grows more than 80% of wine sustainably.
sells 238 million cases of wine in the US market alone.
crushes 3.6 million tons of wine grapes annually.
A CHAT WITH CAMARILLO CUSTOM CRUSH
You may already know that Camarillo crushes the wine game, but there’s a local favorite that takes this saying a little more literally— Camarillo Custom Crush is a wine warehouse and tasting room, and the birthplace of many cutting-edge labels. Boasting an impressive portfolio of over 130-140 different brands, 250-300 different wines, and 5-6 unique varietals, Camarillo Custom Crush works with clients to oversee the winemaking process, from grape to bottle.
Shaun Frohn, head winemaker at Camarillo Custom Crush and owner of his own Consensio Cellars, oversees all of Custom Crush’s production, working with clients to craft their perfect personalized beverage. Shaun’s journey in the wine world began in the renowned Santa Cruz Mountains, where he discovered a passion for winemaking that evolved into a lifelong dedication to his craft. His expertise extends to every aspect of winemaking, from selecting yeasts to crafting distinct flavor profiles, and he places a special emphasis on collaborative blendings with clients.
What truly captivates Shaun, however, is witnessing the excitement of clients as they discover the culmination of their investment. Each partnership is cherished as a unique and special endeavor, mirroring the individuality found in each bottle of wine. When asked about his favorite wine, Shaun wisely notes that wine appreciation is subjective, the enjoyment of each sip heavily influenced by context and setting. With Shaun at the helm, Camarillo Custom Crush consistently delivers exceptional wines, ensuring that every glass is a testament to the artistry and dedication behind California’s thriving wine industry.
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