Tackitt Family Vineyards provides visitors with an opportunity to sample award- winning wines, such as the Petite Sirah, which I have had the pleasure of drinking. the vineyard is in a beautiful location, and support a great cause at the same time. Leon Tackitt, a retired Navy officer who trained sailors in Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) techniques and his wife of 28 years, Cindy donate proceeds from their line of EOD Cellars wines, and from special events, to the EOD Warrior Foundation, a non-profit foundation providing support for Soldiers, Sailors, Marines, Airmen, veterans, and their families.
Tackitt said that it was natural for his interest in winemaking to become linked to his desire to help current and former EOD technicians, and their families. With his background as an EOD training specialist, Tackitt has a clear understanding of the role these soldiers play in battle. “They are the guys who are on the front line. They enable access for the entire force,” he said. EOD technicians might have to disarm a bomb or diffuse a booby trap. “They clear the path.” With this type of responsibility, they have a necessary, but incredibly difficult, role to play. It is dangerous and can often result in injuries.
For this reason, Tackitt Family Vineyards donates proceeds from wines sold under the EOD Cellars label to the EOD Warrior Foundation. They also hold an annual event to raise money for the foundation, called Warriors Helping Warriors. In 2015, Tackitt Family Vineyards raised $21,000 during this annual event.
The annual Warriors Helping Warriors Event features live music, skeet shooting, food, and EOD demonstrations. Visitors also get a chance to bottle some of Tackitt’s fine wines as well. During this year’s event, four wines from the EOD label were bottled:
- Master Blaster – a Cabernet Sauvignon/Syrah blend
- Basic Blaster – Cabernet Sauvignon
- Willie Pete White – Sauvignon Blanc
- Det Cord – Gewürztraminer
Each of the wines in the EOD line has a name with meaning. For example, Willie Pete White refers to the nickname given to the explosive material White Phosphorus.
The EOD Warrior Foundation provides financial assistance to both active duty and veteran soldiers. It might offer emergency financial relief to help a soldier pay for travel costs to reunite with their families, provide educational opportunities, or support hope and wellness by sponsoring group activities, such as ski trip or pig hunting.
In the 1970’s, Tackitt’s grandfather first planted a few Gewürztraminer vines in the vineyard for home winemaking. When Tackitt retired from the Navy, he and Cindy decided to clone the vines that his grandfather planted and start their own winery. Theyplanted petite sirah i in addition to Gewürztraminer., Tackitt produces many other wines, including a Zinfandel, a Merlot, a Grenache-Rosé, and more.
Visitors will find that Tackitt Family Vineyards has a new tasting room. It is small and homey and a great place to sip wine..
Others have recognized that Tackitt’s wines stand out from the rest. The vineyard recently was awarded Best of Class at the San Francisco Wine Competition for their 2012 Petite Sirah. The competition is the largest one in the country featuring wines made in the United States. This same wine won a gold medal, and was awarded 93 points, in the San Diego Winemaker competition. For Tackitt, the honors were particularly meaningful because the Petite Sirah is estate grown.
Tackitt Family Vineyards is open to the public for tasting Friday through Sunday from 12-5 p.m. The vineyard is located at 6640 Von Dollen Road in San Miguel. For more information, call 805.467.9490, visit www.tackittfamilyvineyards.com or find Tackitt on Facebook.