I appreciate the recent article “Talkin’ ’bout the Wine Ghetto” but I would like to make a correction. Referring to the Wine Ghetto, the author stated “nobody knows who coined it.” Kris Curran, former winemaker at Sea Smoke Cellars, and Kathy Joseph, winemaker/owner of Fiddlehead Cellars, coined the name in response to the numerous requests they received from customers who wanted to have fine wine tasting experiences at their wineries in about 2001. The gals had to explain that their wineries were cold, damp metal buildings located in an industrial park, rather than a chateau in a picturesque vineyard.
Curran wrote in Lompoc Valley Magazine (Summer 2006), “I thought that our location was something akin to a ghetto; a group of winemakers (after all, an odd minority of society) huddles together in metal buildings perfectly functional for winemaking but not conducive to fancy occasions.”
A little further history on the Wine Ghetto: Richard Longoria was the first winemaker to establish a commercial winery in Lompoc (in the Wine Ghetto) in November 1998. He started a trend that attracted Brewer-Clifton, Palmina, Presidio, Stolpman, Fiddlehead, Flying Goat Cellars and others. In the fall of 2005, Palmina became the first tasting room to open to the public in Lompoc. Fiddlehead and La Vie followed shortly thereafter with tasting rooms and Flying Goat in the fall of 2007.
Business for the original four tasting rooms was sufficient to attract at least eight more tasting rooms to open in 2010.