By DOUGLAS W. MOTLEY
Some 50 or more Crestline Chamber of Commerce members, directors and staff gathered at Sycamore Ranch Vineyard and Winery in nearby Dart Canyon on Thursday, Sept. 14 for an early evening meet-and-greet mixer, which featured unlimited pours of the winery’s award-winning wines and cider, along with charcuterie board cheeses and barbecued pizza.
These mixers, which have been ongoing for several years (with the exception of COVID years), give members who own businesses an opportunity to mingle in a relaxed atmosphere, while discussing the local business climate and sharing ideas on how to improve sales and profits.
Like many others who were seated around umbrella-shaded outdoor tables overlooking the vineyard’s grapevines and apple trees, Laura Des Jardins, who has resided in Crestline for five years, was enjoying the company of Crestline Realtor Virginia Paleno and 37-year Crestline resident Maggie Bunch, while sipping a sample of the vineyard’s award-winning Petite Syrah. “I love reds, I feel like they are nourishing me. Though this one has some dryness to it, it also has some fruitiness,” Des Jardins said.
Richard Krumwiede, who co-owns the vineyard along with his wife, Elizabeth, explained that, while Syrah grapes are grown at Sycamore Ranch, the ones used for tasting are grown in Santa Barbara. Pointing out that the vineyard’s 2021 Petite Syrah garnered a Double-Gold Award at the Orange County Commercial Wine Competition, Krumwiede added, “We only sell the Syrah with grapes grown here by the bottle.”
When asked what inspired him to launch a winemaking business, Krumwiede told the Alpine Mountaineer, “I’m a landscape architect and I got my degree in landscape architecture at Cal Poly Pomona. I started growing here as an amateur co-op with friends in 2012 and then turned professional in 2015. I started winning awards every year as an amateur and I’m still winning a ton of awards. I never dreamed it would end up like this.”
Prior to ending the two-hour-long chamber mixer, Krumwiede announced to the crowd that he had just purchased a five-acre parcel in Dart Canyon where 100-year-old-apple trees are still growing. “At a 4,576-foot elevation, Dart Canyon is the Banana Belt of the mountain. This area is blanketed with orchards making great cider.”
Private tastings are available at Sycamore Ranch every Friday at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. and on Saturday and Sunday at 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. The tastings are outside at wine barrel umbrella tables that comfortably seat four persons. There is also an indoor tasting room where two to three additional groups of four to eight persons can be accommodated. For reservations they recommend logging onto [email protected] or call them at (909) 338-1725.