A place for me to share my love for all things cooking, wine and Bento.  The research for this blog is going to continually be grueling my friends.... ;)

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Our Wine Memberships: Sculpterra

I don't know a lot about wine. I may know more than some, but I am no expert. We started going tasting to get to know our local area and we have found that we really have only touched the surface. It did not take long however for our palate to develop and for us to fine tune what we liked.  That is really what we have found, one must go for what they like.  The price tag really means nothing unless it's something worth buying for YOU.  My husband likes wine almost more than I do so it's also something that we enjoy together and allows us places to get away from the daily routine. 

I have had people ask me though, who do know less than me, how we can afford to have memberships (we are not rich people ah, hem...we are not even close) and how they work.  I've been asked often what they cost.  I don't know about everywhere but I'll say what we have found and how we look at the wine membership. 

First we have requirements:

  • We try to limit our memberships to three for now.  Though memberships don't cost, they have buying commitments that have to be considered.
  • They have to be filled with perks.  They have to have a good discount.  I will tell more in the next few days what each one of ours does.  What I really mean by perks though are events. Release parties are the biggest way to really get a deal out of your membership.  We dropped one winery recently because there were NO events.  Release parties are usually free or at minimal cost to the member.  They have amazing food, usually music, and great ambiance.  When you choose your winery, make sure you like it's location and atmosphere because those events in that setting will be your future get away. 
  • They have to have friendly staff.  Every one of our memberships are a delight to visit.  Sculpterra is our favorite for many reasons, I'll tell soon, but each one has friendly people behind the counter.  Wine tasting, and wine in general is a social experience.  Rick likes to hear the history of the places, as well as the details about the wines.  You have to have people who seem interested to talk to you.  I've been to some places that make you feel like you are bothering them and that is NOT cool with me!  Or, they are snobs and seem to have you socially labeled the minute you come through the tasting room door.  You should be able to come in your jeans or your fine attire and be treated the same. If you enjoy this winery, you are going to be seeing these people a lot, so make sure they are people you want to revisit and who seem to want to see you again too. 
  • The wine must be amazing!  For our three membership's, we went down the tasting list and loved each wine more and more.  That is not what we find at all places.  Make sure you like it all because you will be getting all kinds of their wines at different times. 
  • For us it needs to be local. I know many people, including my boss, like memberships far away.  We want to take full advantage of our memberships and be able to visit our wineries often.  We have a home we are content with but we don't have a nice view, or a great yard etc so getting away has to be a usable benefit.  I have to say though that at every pick up we meet people from hours away who drive to make the party and enjoy doing that.

So, let me just skip to telling you about our memberships and why we like each of them.  I think you will see in the end that choosing a membership can be a great idea over all. 


   I first heard of Sculpterra from my boss.  We do the taxes for the sculpture artist out there.  He was telling me that I should head out there with Rick and check the place out.  We loved it right away.  The ambiance was nice for us getting away and still lovely for when we want to bring the kids.  In fact, we tested them out right away and asked if we could have our Easter egg hunt there for our kids amidst the garden and they let us!  That was so fun. 
The wine was amazing as we went down the list. Very fruit forward, which is what we like.  The owner is a local Dr. who use to partner with our MD growing up.  I even saw him once as a kid when I had strep throat and my regular Dr. was out.  He helped start a great ministry called His Healing Hands. You can find a book about the ministry there in the tasting room.  His son, Paul is the wine maker.  A graduate of Cal Poly, he is an amazing hard worker and it's paying off!  

 One of the other things we love about Sculpterra is that every Sunday from 1-4 they host Song Writer's At Play, the product of a local radio station THE CRUSH 92.5.  We have enjoyed many Sunday afternoons there either with the kids or on our own.  There are tables and we bring our food and buy a glass of wine. Through this venue I was introduced to one of my new favorite artist Sara Petite. It was really fun that she came again a few days after my birthday and played in the barrel room.  Our all time favorite afternoon however was the Celtic themed line up.  It was fantastic!

 Our first event there was the Greek Festival dinner.  It was their event for the Zin Festival which celebrates Paso Robles signature wine, the Red Zinfandel.  We both love Greek food and the event was free for members.  It was pouring rain but they put up some tents and it was complete with authentic singing and dancing.  It was a great way to start off our membership!
 We love that our membership obligation is just 2 bottles four times a year (they have other larger quantity options as well).  At member cost that averages $40-60 for each pick up of two bottles.  Each pick up has a party free to members with amazing food done by local cooks.  The food always blows us away.  The events have pourings the whole time, and always music. 
 This is a picture from the LOVELY summer evening party that had perfect weather!  Each party has been great and a family friendly atmosphere if you want to bring the kids.  We figure, with wine and food, the event is well worth the money plus, we take home two bottles of wine!  Of course on top of that we can do free tastings anytime on our own or with a few friends. We get discounts on all wines and member specials that change monthly and can be up to 30% off. 
 Other events, like the Labor Day Fiesta are amazing perks as well.  I believe this cost us $10 as members and included our food and a full glass of wine.  The events always last for hours so you can pace yourself and sit for a good long while.  The Dr. was there giving tours of the vineyard just before the end of picking season.  It was beautiful!  The band was a real Mariachi band in costume.  It was fabulous. Did I say yet that it was wonderful?? LOL
 On other, more daily basis, it's a great place to meet a girlfriend for a chat, a taste and a glass.  Both my girlfriends have memberships here so we love meeting up when we can.  We caught this great pic of my friend Michelle's baby Wyatt putting up with our girl time in the tasting room.
So, you're looking at four to six dates a year to get out and have somewhere beautiful to go and eat and enjoy great people having a great time.  It's well worth it. We have met some of the nicest people out there who are always a joy to go see and to run into on a regular basis as well.  They make Sculpterra even more of a special place than it all ready is on it's own.

Over the next few days, I'll come back and tell you about our other two memberships. 

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