GERSHON BACHUS VINTNERS - A CUT ABOVE

GERSHON BACHUS VINTNERS – A CUT ABOVE

Gershon Bachus Vintners is one of those happy finds we run across every now and then when we go tasting in a new region. Certainly not a new kid on the block, they will never be mistaken for one of the wildly chic places with all glitz and no substance. GBV as it is affectionate known, serves wines of a very high standard in an environment that is both relaxed and picturesque. One need only wander up above the winery to take in the waterfall and calm pool. This area of course, is the beautiful venue for countless weddings each year. But the real star her…is the wines.

GBV got it start in a fairly unlikely way. Owners Christina and Ken Falik were wine tasting in Temecula with employees just before Christmas in 2001, an event that was lovingly referred to as a “Company Drunk”. At that time the Falik’s were running their luxury goods business and had no thoughts of opening a winery, this was just a fun company event. At this time there were maybe only a half dozen wineries in Temecula. As luck would have it, a couple of weeks later, three other couples invited them down to Temecula to look at land, because values were so low. After looking at a parcel with all expressing some interest, hen the subject of paying for utilities came up, and proved to be a sticking point so they decided they would revisit the purchase later. But as fate would have it, on their way out of town the Falik’s made a wrong turn and ended up at the bottom of a hill, below what is now GBV. They saw a For Sale sign and decided to take a look. After trekking up the hill, and taking in the views, they were immediately reminded of Italy. They bought the property the following day.

A BOTTLE OF AEOLUS

Following the purchase, the Falik’s, who were living in Laguna Beach at the time, would pop down and “visit” the land, not entirely sure what to do with it. Eventually they hired a home designer, which still left the decision of what to do with the 21 acres of land left to be decided. Their options were horses or grapes…I think we know what they chose. The vineyards were planted in the winter of 2006, and the adventure began. However not having a background in wine, they set about learning as much as they could. They visited similar operations up in Napa and brought in vintner Michael Tingley to get the ball rolling. Initial plans were for 500 cases / year. Riverside County thought differently, informing them a minimum of 1,200 was needed. By this time, other wineries on the De Portola Trail started popping up, so there was going to be competition. But as we’ll see, GBV sails it’s own course, and isn’t focused on taking down their neighbors. Quite the opposite actually. Not open to the public initially, they just held events and served their wines at those between 2008 -2010. Then for the next couple of years, the tasting room was slowly opened to the public, and by 2013, it was finally open full-time.

THE BACK PATIO AT GBV

This was also the year things really began to happen. The Wine Clique, their exceptional wine club was launched. From a marketing and growth standpoint, The Wine Clique has always been the key and focus of their customer interaction. 2013 also brought the construction of the barrel room and a production pad. Winemaker Dakota Denton, the 3rd winemaker in GBV’s history, took over the reigns completely during 2013, and has not looked back. Aside from his exceptional touch with varietals, he too sees the Wine Clique to be the primary focus of customer growth. He would also like to see some regional recognition in some of the larger wine publications. A bit of a challenge with many of them still dismissing the Temecula Valley as well as Sothern California wineries in general

WEDDINGS AT GBV

From the very beginning, smart growth was the key. Never take on debt and produce a wine that could be appreciated by the type of audience they desired. Through this thought process, the eventual goal is to become a “members only” winery. According to Christina Falik, this will be achieved by building the Wine Clique to sustainable levels and provide these clients with the best possible service while consistently offering exceptional wines. When the Clique first kicked off, members who had joined saw something unique in this club. So much so, that there are still 300 original members from that initial push. A fairly impressive number and testament to the consistent quality of the product and the brand. Christina and Dakota tell me that their goal is to cap at 1,500 members and to just maintain that level. As they are creeping ever close to that number, if you want to get on board (which I highly suggest) you better jump on now. I’m unaware of any other winery in California, that focuses on this members only format, so it will be interesting to see how things play out

STROLLING THROUGH THE GROUNDS

Like many of the wineries in Temecula, GBV age their wine on site. But unlike many of them, they age their wines 5 years before releasing them to the public, this unusually longer period (at least in Temecula) makes a huge difference in terms of quality and taste. Estate wines make up about 50% of the inventory, with the remaining grapes sourced locally. As I stated early, GBV has always done what they felt is right and not necessarily trendy. Another unique process that they have implemented, is the use of something called a frequency system to repel pests (using a natural enemy of the pest to control it naturally) which is both environmentally friendly and quite effective. So as you can see, GBV has been, and continues to be a quiet innovator in Temecula Wine Country

So the future of GBV looks bright. They have created a warm, welcoming and exclusive environment for their members and guest. They continue to produce somewhat limited, high quality wines and they’re on the innovative with their marketing and running a winery. To join their Wine Clique just “clique here”

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