The Funk Zone has ignited Santa Barbara’s downtown life with exciting new shops, wine tasting rooms, galleries and restaurants bringing a vibrant energy and vitality to what was once a moribund neighborhood of ignored buildings.
There is no better way to explore this arrondissement of pleasures and treasures than by starting at Margerum Wine Company, a soaring, brand spanking new tasting room built by Santa Barbara’s dynamic, award-winning winemaker, Doug Margerum. The two-level Tasting Room, located opposite the entrance to the popular Hotel Californian, offers an ever-changing menu featuring rare bottlings and excellent older vintages of Margerum wines. It is a very pleasant, comfortable and refined experience, with a tasty selection of small plates, cheese & charcuterie and pizzas created by Doug to complement his distinctive wines. This is the coolest gateway to the lively Funk Zone.
The interior, styled by Doug’s talented wife, Marni, is a balanced mix of Santa Barbara Colonial and modern, best described as today’s farmhouse meets couture boutique. A handsome oak staircase with hand-forged iron railings leads upstairs to a cozy loft, ideal for flights of wine in a soaring space accented by sky-high ceilings with crimson red velvet curtains. We can’t imagine a better spot for a private lunch or dinner.
Sit indoors in the main room where a inviting bar fashioned from reclaimed and flattened oak barrel staves serves wines by the glass or upstairs on a sofa in the pretty balcony that overlooks the action. Or take a table and chair, glass in hand, outdoors on the sidewalk patio and al fresco watch the parade of people pass by. If you want a more personal and very special experience, The Margerum Wine Company offers customized Private Winemaker Tastings with Doug Margerum by appointment. A small selection of hats and other gear make this a must-stop for shoppers looking for that perfect Santa Barbara gift.
We have long admired Doug Margerum. His multi-faceted background as the Sommelier/Owner of The Wine Cask, a Wine Spectator Grand Award restaurant recipient, and as a highly respected winemaker made him sought out by a variety of wineries to assist in the formation of their brands. Doug has consulted for Chêne Bleu super Rhône wines in France, and continues to consult for La Encantada Vineyards, Rancho Boa Vista and Happy Canyon Vineyards, all in Santa Barbara County, as well as the Santa Barbara wines of Paradise Springs Winery based in Virginia.
His company produces limited quantities of wines made from grapes grown both on their estate vineyard and grapes purchased from other top vineyards from in and around Santa Barbara County. The 18-acre estate vineyard is planted exclusively to Rhône grape varietals. The acreage is divided between limestone hillsides and alluvial flatlands along Alamo Pintado Creek. The wines are made at their state-of-the-art winery located on Industrial Way in Buellton. As owner and director of winemaking, Doug works with the top vineyards from the cool, eastern end of the valley in Happy Canyon to the western end’s cold vineyards of Sta. Rita Hills. Doug carefully selects the vineyards with meticulous attention to detail in all factors influencing the ultimate quality of the wines, including pruning, soil, climate, and farming methods. Margerum Wine Company is committed to creating hand-crafted wines using only the highest quality grapes in order to make wines that are indicative of the place where they are grown. They strive to make wines naturally, to make wines that have individual characteristics and to make wines with personality. The scale of production is kept at a level where they can touch and know the wine as it is raised to the bottle – the antithesis of mass production. The standards of quality are measured by their own rigid criteria – not by external sources. They make wines they personally enjoy – some to drink young, others for long aging in cool cellars for future generations to enjoy, but mostly to share at the table with family and friends.
We can highly endorse Margerum’s Sybarite Sauvignon Blanc (selected to be served at an Obama White House State Dinner), UBER Syrah, Riviera Rosé, and the flagship Rhône Varietal M5 Red Blend and M5 White Blend. Margerum’s Amaro, a fortifed wine made from herbs, roots, barks, orange peels, barrel-aged brandy and carmelized simple syrup, is a bitter-sweet treat not to be missed.
Doug’s a legend, a great guy to talk wines or anything else with…he’s the first and last name in Santa Barbara wine, a lasting influence and force in Santa Barbara wine making and a true gentleman whose relaxed personality is a magnet for all who enjoy the best life has to offer.
The Margerum Wine Company tasting room is open daily from 12:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, 12:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. Friday/Saturday and by appointment. MARGERUM WINE COMPANY TASTING ROOM, 19 Mason Street, Santa Barbara, CA 93101, 805.845.8435, firstname.lastname@example.org