That's why I was a bit nervous this week as I tasted the three new wine samples I received from Colleen Thompson
, the winery's public relations and marketing whiz.
"We just hit the ground running," said Colleen Thompson, the operations manager for Lucas & Lewellen Vineyards, describing how she helped grow the business from the ground up.
"It's pretty amazing where we got to in four years," she
The latest step was 0pening Mandolina, the winery's newest tasting room at 1665 Copenhagen Drive.
The establishment serves as a classy gathering place for locals to visit, chat with the friendly staff, and relax.
And of course the same holds true for visiting wine fans.
"The social aspect is why so many people want to be part of the wine culture," says Thompson
attributes the business's success not only to the quality of the wine, but to the personalities of its staff, who are "people our customers like to come in and have fun with."
"It gets a lot of attention; people love it," notes Thompson
, pointing out that "Tuscan styles are very much in."
The afternoon light streams in the west-facing window, casting a glow on the tasting-room walls, apple-green above, and below, faux-painted to resemble ancient stone from a Tuscany villa.
And the items stocked also strongly reflect the Tuscany area: In addition to wine glasses and fancy corks and corkscrews, wine baskets and bags, the shop also offers kitchen items, cookbooks, biscotti and biscotti containers, garden ornaments, plenty of items for visitors and locals to choose from.
The arrangements are set with space enough to allow buyers and browsers through without knocking anything over, including the orchid filled vases.
Mandolina celebrated its Grand Opening in July.
Putting a tasting room "right up the street" from Lucas & Lewellen's other tasting room "is unheard of," said Thompson
It works out well for local businesses too, said Thompson, who sits on the chamber of commerce board.
"One of the fun things we do is have a walking tour of Solvang," she
said, where some of the nicer restaurants provide hors d' oeuvres to complement the local vintages.
The quarterly event is "always sold out," said Thompson
, serving about 250 people.
happy to report, most of them are from the Valley.
"Locals usually avoid Solvang," Thompson
But that has changed.
Lucas & Lewellen Vineyards has opened its second tasting room - called Mandolina - in Solvang, said Colleen Thompson, spokesperson for the vineyard.
Lucas & Lewellen Vineyards wines have won many awards so far this year, spokesperson Colleen Thompson said.