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The New Frontier

Situated in the emerging Contra Costa region, Tamayo Family Vineyards offers an experience like no other.
April 9, 2010
URL: http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/205962

The New Frontier

Tamayo Family Vineyards
Brentwood, California

Located just a little more than an hour east of downtown San Francisco, Tamayo Family Vineyards was founded with Jeff and Sara Tamayo's love of wine and belief in the miraculous soils of the emerging Contra Costa region. It was just a decade ago that they harvested their first grapes.

Winemaker Jon Engelskirger is a native Californian who graduated from the Department of Enology and Viticulture at California State University and, for the next 30 years, honed his craft for several esteemed wineries including Silverado Vineyards, Robert Pepi Winery, and Turnbull Wine Cellars. He is delighted to apply his knowledge to the Contra Costa region. "Winegrowing in this part of Contra Costa is in its infancy," Jon explains. "For an experienced winemaker to apply the skills learned elsewhere to these unique conditions is a wonderful challenge. The puzzle pieces are still mostly lying randomly about the viticultural plain. And the mind is totally engaged."

The Tamayos also asked Mark Enlow to become their general manager. Mark brought a unique blend of business experience and a degree from the Culinary Institute in New York. He works closely with the Tamayos on the branding strategy for their wines, bottled under three names: Tamayo, Cana Family Signature, and Cana.

Cana Wines come from the original vineyard, which was replanted between 2003 and 2006. The Tamayos chose the name to honor the miraculous transformation of water to wine at the first-century wedding feast at Cana. Described as a New World red blend of eight European varietals, Mark considers Cana to be the flagship wine for the entire Contra Costa area.

In Jon's words: "Of all the wines I've made, Cana has been one of my most satisfying projects."

An appointment is needed to visit the winery, but those who neglect to make arrangements need not despair. They can also enjoy tasting wines from Tamayo Family Vineyards at Co Co County Wine Company, a cooperative tasting room in downtown Brentwood.

What to buy:
'07 Cana Proprietary Blend Cherry cobbler, cocoa dust, fig, licorice, root beer spice $30
'09 Bailey Contra Coast Viognier Wild honeysuckle, pear, luscious fruit, dry finish $24
'08 Pinot Noir Santa Lucia Highlands Seductively smooth, rich with luscious fruit $32

Contact
925.513.8463; Fax: 925.513.9182
tamayowines.com
11670 Byron Hwy
Brentwood, CA 94513
Tours and Tasting by Appointment

Getting there:
Directions can be found on the website or by calling the winery.