Kathy Marcks Hardesty: Even during a pandemic, there’s always a silver lining
From the Vine

Kathy Marcks Hardesty: Even during a pandemic, there’s always a silver lining

No doubt about it, our great artisan businesses are struggling to stay alive. Our frequent visits to taste and buy their wines meant everything to the artists behind the brands.

Thanks to being able to open their doors for limited hours, they are far better off than they would be if they had to close their doors completely (unlike non-essential businesses who might not make it through a long crisis).

Nevertheless, the vintners are forced to do some things they likely never imagined. Take the great values on your wine purchases these days. The wineries are offering very good deals, even on their high end wines that were never discounted unless you joined the wine club. I’m seeing deals online daily and love sharing them with my readers.

One of the newest to offer a great sale is one of my favorite small artisan brands, Baker and Brain Wines in SLO County. Although the wines are made in Edna Valley, the tasting room is in Los Osos. Although tasting is still not allowed, the tasting room does open during limited hours for sales of bottles of wines, or picking up your order made online. The wines are made by winemakers/partners Josh Baker and Matt Brain, both men have a long winemaking experience on the Central Coast. Matt’s wife Melanie Brain is the brand manager and sales director. She also writes their newsletter, which is where I learned of this great sale that is open to anyone (not strictly wine club members).

Their fine line-up of Burgundy and Rhone white and red varietals and blends are excellent. One of the many reasons I’m so fond of this brand is that they treat their loyal visitors like family. And it seems no different now given these two generous deal offerings: Just buy six or more bottles and get 20-percent off the purchase price on the whole order.

The other offer, which is more inclined to their region, buy four wines and and shipping is free within SLO County. You can call your order in ahead or shop online, just be sure to use the code “sixplus” online. You can then arrange to pick-up your order, or pay to have the wines shipped to your home.

Like every wine tasting room, you cannot enter the Baker and Brain tasting room as it’s only providing curbside service, you are asked to comply with social distancing, no restroom access, but they will allow you to order at the door during the hours they are open for business. Get all the details at bakerandbrain .com. As Melanie admitted in her newsletter:

“First off, we hope you’re getting through these challenging times and that everyone is safe and well. We’ve certainly felt the strain of the times here at the tasting room, but we are healthy and thankful nonetheless. Be smart. Keep your 6-feet and keep washing those hands!”

It has only been around three years since the Qupe and Verdad tasting room operated in Los Olivos, but it has always been a must stop for my family. Qupe founder Bob Lindquist ranks among Santa Maria Valley’s pioneers and remains a beloved icon for wine lovers and winemakers. Due to a change in partnership, Lindquist is no longer associated with Qupe. Now his brand is Lindquist Family Wines, and he shares the Arroyo Grande tasting room with his wife, Louisa Sawyer Lindquist, winemaker and creator of Verdad. The dynamic duo offer great wines, they also make their combined Sawyer Lindquist brand, and have always rated among my local favorites. But popular as their rock solid brands are, the slow economy is hurting business. So they’re passing the savings on to you, their loyal fans. One of their popular deals is the “mystery case.” Pay only $125 for 12 bottles, that’s a mere $10.41 a bottle and it includes some great library wines. You can get a mixed case of whites and reds, or order only reds or whites (the latter requires an advance order). The tasting room is open daily for limited hours, and includes complimentary shipping from Santa Maria to San Luis Obispo.

Check out their wine club, which provides complimentary wine tastings whenever you visit. Membership includes insider tips on special sales, like the May specials featuring a red blend, white blend, and rose that are current releases. Get all the facts at lindquistwines.com.

Pico at the Los Alamos General Store is still relatively new, so this pandemic is surely hurting their business. Part restaurant, part top notch wine shop, they carry many great European wines as well as their own and other local brands. Recently, owner Will Henry created a Pico mixed six offering. It consists of a six pack chosen by Henry with a price that’s nearly cut in half, half imports and half California wines.

This week the wines would cost you $188 at full retail, but order this six pack and you’ll only pay $109. Not only that, if you can’t get to Los Alamos to pick them up, they’ll ship them to you (wherever it’s legal) for a flat rate of $10, that’s a killer deal. Learn more at losalamosgeneralstore .com.

Cheers and stay safe!

Reach Kathy at kathymhardesty @ gmail .com

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