Big Sur Vineyards of Monterey County, California can be called bold, but considering owner Lenora Carey, that’s probably not just referring to the wines.
Big Sur Vineyards is a vibrant newcomer in a wine region that has seen tremendous growth and notoriety in the last decade. The fruit is sourced from sustainable vineyards all in Monterey County including from the Arroyo Seco and prized Chalone appellations. Under 1,000 cases are produced annually, with some single-barrel limited release specialties, like the 2016 Grenache which was just too good to blend.
Lenora’s inspiration for the winery came during her previous career as a documentary filmmaker for National Geographic, Nature, Nova and the BBC. A film project about wine barrel making brought her to the southern Rhône region in Southeastern France, known for Chateauneuf-du-Pape and Côtes du Rhône.
When she decided to leave that career and the city to raise her children in the more rural Monterey County, she didn’t yet realize that the varietals she had come to love there grow particularly well in this area.
She opened the tasting room in 2016 in sunny Carmel Valley Village, just 10 miles east of Carmel-by-the-Sea. There, visitors can sample her wines made locally in Monterey County and enjoy Rhone varietals expressed in California style.
With over a dozen tasting rooms within walking distance, Carmel Valley has become a hotspot for wine enthusiasts looking for boutique and local wines.