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Movin’ on Up!

AMV_at_CurtisThe Firestone family, the proprietors of the Curtis Winery and the 200 acre estate upon which it sits, asked me in the spring of 2013 to take over the day to day operations of the Curtis Winery, all while shrinking the Curtis Wine production to a very limited and exclusive level. By now, we hope that you have heard something about this via the Curtis Website, through visits to Curtis or tastings at our Los Olivos Tasting Room, or in the last Cellar Crew Newsletter. It was mutual admiration that led the Curtis owners and management to choose Andrew Murray Vineyards (AMV) to take over the day to day operations at their beloved Estate. They admired our 20+ year history in Los Olivos and our consistent dedication to Rhone varieties. They respected our numerous 90+ reviews and our commitment to quality and the environment. They were further confident that we would handle such an important and historic transition as carefully and elegantly as possible. In turn, I admired EVERYTHING about the Firestone family. I admired the near lunacy that prompted Brooks Firestone to continue growing upon his father’s folly of planting the first vineyard in the Santa Ynez Valley, well over 40 years ago…and watched with great pride as Adam Firestone, a Marine, returned as a veteran of the Iraq war to become the 3rd generation of the Firestone family to grow grapes and craft wine. I was there when they first opened Curtis Winery to the public, as we had begun Andrew Murray Vineyards about 5 years earlier. I was so excited to see them focus on my beloved Rhone varieties. Each member of the Firestone family, from Adam to Andrew, has a deep love and passion for crafting wine and growing grapes on the Curtis Estate. They selected my wife and me and my small (but growing) team of tasting room/hospitality associates and cellar crew to gracefully transition away from the Curtis Wines and to replace them with AMV wines. I will be frank with you all. It has been no easy task, and we have not handled all situations as well as I would have liked. I have fallen on my face more than once since the transition began. But, I can also hold my head high, because I have been at Curtis each and every (yes every single day) day of this year so far. We have had much to learn and even more to prove. We are learning every day and leveraging our 20+ years in the wine business in order to provide to you all the best wines possible with the best customer service, in the best darn winery and location in Santa Barbara County. We have a long way to go before we can say mission accomplished. But, please know that we will work tirelessly to prove ourselves worthy of your time, attention, and business. We have enjoyed the opportunities to meet so many of you at the Curtis Winery and at the events that we have held this year in your honor. We have greatly appreciated the praise of our wines and we have taken heed of your concerns and suggestions. Please see our event page for more upcoming festivities.

I also want you to know that we embarked upon a significant re-model to the Curtis Winery hospitality center with only one goal in mind…to be able to better serve and interact with Wine Club Members. To that end, we started outside with the addition of a Members’ Terrace, under the shade of the native oaks. On the inside, we have carved out two distinct and private spaces where we can accommodate small group, sit down tastings for up to 12 people. We hope to be able to sit down with you and share a more in-depth experience centering on the wines that we are crafting off of the Curtis Estate. We have added a Member’s bar where we anticipate offering different and exclusive wines just to Members. We have added a wine on tap system so that you can purchase glasses, carafes, or even “growlers” of special and limited production wines. We have even added a low-seating lounge area where you can order flights of wines to enjoy away from the traditional bar setting. In short (too late, I know) we have designed several spaces and new “experiences” where members can interact with myself and our team in order to gain a deeper knowledge and appreciation for our wines. In turn, we will be lucky enough to get to know you better.

We look forward to your next visit to the new and improved Andrew Murray Vineyards.

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4 Responses to Movin’ on Up!

  1. William Boechler says:

    I have been a longtime admirer of Curtis Wines, especially, the Rhone style wines. I always liked the listing of the grape varieties in the blend.I never left the tasting room, without 3 or 4 cases of wine. I have also tasted wine in the Andrew Murray tasting room in Los Olivos.
    I would like to be included on your information address list.
    William Boechler

  2. Vivian Sanner says:

    Thanks for the information on the transition. Believe it or not, we did not hear about it until we received wines from AMV. In my curiosity, I went on line but didn’t really see much other than, I was pretty sure it was still the Curtis Winery wines we were getting..or sort of.

    We were recently there as we enjoye Firestone as well and since you are right next door, we always make it to now AMV when we get up Solvang way. We were recently there and noted the nice changes you have made to the wine tasting and back room area. While we didn’t have enough time to relax in the courtyard, we did notice that there is more availability to sit under cool trees now. For that, the next time we come we will be sure to do our daily picnic there while out wine tasting.

    Thank you and see you soon, we hope

    Ron and Vivian Sanner

  3. Had a wonderful visit to the newer tasting room and featured your winery on my blog. I really enjoyed the selection of wines – which are all a great value! You can read my feature here:


  4. Sheila says:

    Love the wine and atmosphere. We have enjoyed the transition. You have done an amazing job.
    Great place to meet our friends.
    Thanks for the welcoming atmosphere!

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