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Sign Of The Wines: Is Santa Clarita The New Napa Valley?

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Photo by Krista Simmons/LAist
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While some regional ag enthusiasts -- like the persecuted persimmon growers in La Canada -- might be having a tough time, a niche group of eno-enthusiasts are in their prime. Amateur winemakers in Santa Clarita Valley are growing, crushing and fermenting their grapes into a few dozen gallons of wine, some of them even winning awards at trade shows.

Experts say the dry hot days and cool evenings make it conducive to growing grapes. Though they can't be made for commercial sale, they are being greeted with much local fanfare. There are about a dozen winemakers in the area currently, and they're getting serious, as evidenced by the new commercial crush pad (aka wine processing facility) that was just purchased for the winemakers.

Says the Times:

Santa Clarita now boasts some 30 winemakers, most of whom belong to the Santa Clarita Vintners and Growers Assn., an informal group launched in 2007. Backyard vintners here produce an average of 30 to 60 gallons of wine each, association members say. For the last five years, a local fundraising event, Sunset in the Vineyard, enables growers to showcase their beverages while helping a cause.
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This blossoming community of garagistes, or garage wine makers, joins the ranks of countless Southern Californians who have taken to the DIY and homesteading movements. Which is great, because bread and cheese from the Institute of Domestic Technology really does need to come with a glass of home made wine.