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Our Wonderful Staff and Interns

Ismael Balderas

 

 

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In 2013, the Morelli family brought Ismael (Sam) Balderas on board to help them with their vision of vineyards, winery and orchards after the acquisition of many ranches and prior to owning a winery.  Sam has over 40 years of experience in Winery, Vineyard operations and is a well established Winemaker.  He is recognized as a world acclaimed Burgundian Style wine producer and has received numerous awards from prestigious wine magazines and wine writers.  He has been named BEST Producer of the Best 100 World Producers for several years.  In 2001 Sam was awarded the ONLY 100 points score at a World Wine Competition held in France.

 

 

 

Miguel Uribe

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Miguel joined San Marcos Creek back in 1999 !   There is not a day goes by that you will not find him in the field carrying for the vines and landscaping like his own backyard.  His vast experience and knowledge of both of the vineyard and winery makes him extremely flexible and able to work all aspects of the business.  Miguel brings the slogan “Fine wine beings at the vines …” to a reality !

 

 

 

 

Sunni Mullinax

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2016, the Morelli’s brought Sunni Mullinax to the tasting room and general operations.  She brings a wealth of wine information and has a vast knowledge of marketing, wine club, and events.  (Yes, she is guilty of redesigning our emails and can’t wait to hear your feedback!)   Mentioning Sunni would not be complete without giving a shout out to her husband Dave, her herding dog Buddy and newly acquired rescue cats, Doobie and Dante.  She lives in Paso Robles and is a Cal Poly alum, animal lover, runner, cook, health nut, and wine geek.

Melissa Nisse

Joining the San Marcos Creek family for 2017, Melissa Nisse !  She grew up in Lockwood, California a very small town in southern Monterey county.  She has always felt like I was a big fish in a small pond so shortly after graduating high school she moved to the “big city”.  You guessed it Paso Robles, California where she quickly fell in love with the wine industry.  Melissa lives in the heart of downtown Paso with her hard working husband Sean and her daughter Hazel and loyal pup Ty.   You can see her in the tasting room so come on in enjoy some wine and stay awhile.

 

 

San Marcos Creek Marketing Team (Cal-Poly 2017):

 

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Kaitlin Brennan
I was born and raised in Hershey, Pennsylvania and moved to California at the age of 16 to attend boarding school and subsequently, Cal Poly. I am a fourth year business administration major with a concentration marketing. I have a passion for consumer marketing and have obtained diverse project and work experiences in my classes and through internships. My most recent experience comes from Social Media and Consumer Marketing at MINDBODY, Inc, Sports Marketing and Fan Promotions at Cal Poly Athletics, and a senior project developing a campaign for Facebook and the Department of Homeland Security. In my free time I love to be outside, play sports, travel and spend time with family and friends.  My grandparents are members of the San Marcos Creek Wine Club!

 

 

 

 

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Britney Deacon

I am currently in my fourth year at Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo where I am majoring in Business Administration with a concentration in Marketing. I’m originally from Los Gatos, California where my family owns a winery in the Santa Cruz Mountains. I worked for my family’s winery all throughout high school and during the summers once I started at Cal Poly. At the winery, I helped plan and run events for both wine club members as well as those that were open to the public. In addition to my work experience at my family’s winery, I spent last summer as a Communications Intern for FIRST 5 Santa Clara County where I gained marketing experience through generating social media content for the company’s multiple social media accounts as well as publishing both internal and external newsletters. In my free time I like to travel, eat good food, and spend time with my family and friends.

 

 

 

 

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Kyle Heuerman

 

I am a senior business student concentrating in Marketing from Pleasant Hill, California . I have sales experience from an internship from Enterprise Rent-A-Car, and through my time spent at Enterprise I learned various techniques to understand the customer. I also worked with management to improve one aspect of the company. I utilized this opportunity to create a new promotional campaign to reach markets that are currently untapped or underutilized. During my free time I enjoy cruising the outdoors on my mountain bike, exploring the central coast and spending time with my family and friends.

 

 

 

 

 

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Skyler Hubler
Hi there! I am a senior Marketing student and am excited to be entering my final quarter at Cal Poly. I am passionate about marketing and advertising and am always looking to expand my knowledge about different industries. I have previously held two advertising agency internships working in the Strategic Planning department, where I gained valuable experience conducting market research and leveraging consumer insights to develop strategic recommendations for clients such as Hyundai, LG, and Wienerschnitzel. I currently work as a Marketing Assistant for Cal Poly Corporation, where I assist with various marketing needs for the campus dining venues as well as the University Store. In my free time I enjoy exploring the outdoors and relaxing with a nice glass of wine.

 

 
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Julia Rowe
I am a fourth year Business Administration student with a concentration in Marketing and a minor in Psychology. I have experience working in the hospitality industry for two summers as a front desk receptionist for Redac Gateway Hotel in Torrance, California. This is a small hotel that is going through a change of ownership and renovations. I have gained tremendous knowledge of the process of the major changes that occurred in the first two years of the acquirement of this hotel. I have also gained marketing and sales experience through an internship with Enterprise Rent-a-Car over the past summer. I was very excited to take this course because I really enjoy finding solutions to problems.

 

 

 

 

 

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Chris Stubblefield
I’m a senior business student concentrating in marketing from Elk Grove, California. I am interested in the fields of brand management and advertisement. Currently; I am the Treasurer for the American Marketing Association, Marketing Mentor for the Orfalea College of Business, and a Student Assistant for Administration. As a marketing mentor I have gained further insights on managing multiple teams and guiding them through developing thorough marketing plans based on a product of their choice and developing pitches for investors. In the past I have also worked as a marketing assistant for Limberg LASIK. With Limberg I helped manage their social media accounts, engage new clients as their initial point of contact, and manage many of the back-end workings of the office. In my spare time I like to hike, explore San Luis Obispo county, and mess around with Photoshop.

 

 

 

 

alicia
Alicia Yonan
I am a fourth year Business Administration student concentrating in Marketing at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. I was born and raised in Long Beach, CA, and have interned in a variety of industries including the health and wellness, theme parks, and hotels. Most recently, I have worked within Consumer Insight at The Walt Disney Company, where I worked closely with Marketing Strategy to evaluate consumer responses to Disneyland and determining the optimal way to continue our marketing. In my spare time, I enjoy hiking, eating at the local restaurants, and binge watching shows on Netflix.

We have enjoyed having our interns meet with us, and work with us over the past quarter. We will miss them, yet we want to wish them well in their future endeavors!

 

 

 

 

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The Groves on 41

I met Jennifer when I first came down here to SLO county. She is one of the warmest most genuine people you will ever meet. Being around her, you just feel like you may be family. She and I have been telling each other how we were going to get together. In fact, we had to make plans a month in advance. We are business owners, and our days are filled with making our businesses stronger.

She and I finally got together. I went to the Groves on 41, and she showed me the property. The last time I was there, I was there for a party, and did not get a private tour. Jennifer took me around to the their vacation rental, wedding venue, and into the groves.

Being out in the groves was fun. It was super muddy that day, and she and I were talking as we were walking. She was educating me about olive trees, and things to look for in the grove. As she talked, and we walked, we also were picking off the fruit that was still on the trees. I felt as though I left with a whole new understanding about olive groves. We also agreed to carry their line in the tasting room.

Here are some of the photos from the day…

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Hidden Hills

When we were in our “dream building” phase, one of the things we wanted was an olive grove, and we finally found it. Hidden Hills gave us everything we wanted in an olive grove, we have olives, and a vacation rental. The olive trees are now being taken care of, and lovingly be watched, pruned, watered, and then in November…they will be harvested.

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The property has a wonderful history too. The place was built as a bed and breakfast. There was a keeper of the house that grew a garden, and the beds are still on the property. There is a gentleman’s orchard with apple, pear, plum, and nectarine trees. There is a green house, and it was once was filled with the fragrance of basil, vanilla, and flowers. The attendant of the house used to put fresh flowers in each of the rooms, and the cottage. There is a chicken run with hen houses. The attendant would gather eggs from the hens each day.  He made fresh dishes that were made from the food that was gathered from “Hidden Hills“. These are all aspects I love.

The goals for the place…get the olives in great shape for the fall so we can go back to having “Hidden Hills” as a label. We will then be able to sell the olive oil in the tasting room. Fix the barn, and have an intern trade housing for maintaining the gardens, greenhouse, and chickens. Gathering the fresh items to give to each of the vacation rentals. Each of the baskets would include olive oil, wine, fresh herbs, chamomile, lavender, homemade soap, homemade lotion, honey, eggs, and bouquet of flowers. Maybe even a postcard of the property.

There is also a pool, spa, and outdoor kitchen at the property. If you would like to stay at the property, make sure you go to Paso Robles Vacation Rental.

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Rainy Days

We have had so many rainy days here at the winery. I must admit, I’ve seen so many rainbows lately that  I have to share…

I’m going to have to get out of the office, and take some more photos of our river. The amount of water in the river is amazing. Stay dry, and have fun!

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Harvesting Wrap Up

We finished with harvest, we have started shipping boxes and cases out to members. We got new products in before the holiday season too. Savannah Bee Company body butter both regular, and sensitive skin. We also have the softening hand soap, we sold out last time very quickly. Menagerie animal for spouts to aerate wine, and also to use for olive oil. We have so many other great gifts, so it’s worth it to come in and buy some items for the upcoming holidays.

Look at all our luscious grapes, before they become yummy wine. Roberto is modeling some of the bundles that were pulled off the vines.

Next up, we have our pick up party, and party plans for next year.

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Backyard Fun

Gardening with your children is a special time in their lives. We studied plants, animals, art, and science outdoors. When my sone was 18 months old we invested in a vermicomposter. We got the plastic bin, and a couple of days later we got our worms. Red wigglers, then we added  newspaper, that we had shredded. The newspaper was wet, and then we added apple cores, and coffee grounds.

We have had the vermicomposter all these years to show the children they don’t have to throw everything in the trash, there is a better way to dispose of our garbage, and it will  go back to the earth. These same products that we bought at the store, will help bring life to our new plants.

We used our “black gold”, the material that had been digested by the worms, for the plants. We planted pumpkins, tomatoes, basil, lavender, rosemary, beans, strawberries,  peas, and marigolds. We planted our seeds, watered them, and the kids would draw and paint pictures of their growth.

We had an animal that was eating our strawberries, so we looked up the footprints of the animals to try to identify what animal was coming into the yard and devouring our berries. We also did science experiments outside as often as we could. We would research where the ants were coming from, and how much water it took for the ants to start carrying the eggs to the surface. Where did the ants want to take their eggs? What kind of tiny insects are on the leaves?

We also purchased ladybugs and released them in the yard. Counted how many stayed, and for how long. We also purchased praying mantis, and then would track them too.

I also allowed the children to take their own photographs. Even when they were very young they loved to take photos and show me what they discovered. What is in your back yard?

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Finding Time

Lately, everything has been a blur. I finished decorating the villa, and opening it for guests to stay. We also had harvest…what a busy season that is…

We had music at our venue Robbie Duganne. We loved his and his other players. They even played some original music, it was very cool. We served pesto chicken sandwiches, and offered salad as well as other hour d’oeuvres. We were pretty crowded, and we even had people on the patio.

Last weekend, we were pretty sure we would not be busy at all, but more and more people were coming into the winery. Those are things we can’t complain about, it’s great business.

We love working at the winery because there are so many different things to do. Ok, the mundane things that have to be done are not FUN. Cleaning the bathroom, emptying the trash, washing the dishes, sweeping the sidewalk…alright, I’ll admit they are not fun. In those tasks, I do find a little solitude.

We are awaiting the birth of our calf on the farm. Luna is due any day now.  The other farm animals are doing alright. Since we need another fence before we obtain any more chickens, we are being patient. Once Luna has her calf, we are going to have to move the female goats to the pasture with Luna so that Willie (sire goat) doesn’t get attacked by Luna. Willie Nelson and Luna are best of friends right now, but once Luna has her baby…she won’t be a bestie any longer.

It hasn’t been easy finding time lately to write. I love to write, and take photos but business is consuming all my time. My usual time that I allow myself to write has been consumed by shopping for property.

We sold our last apartment building. We owned 5 complexes, and have traded them for other properties. Our last trade has resulted in purchasing an olive orchard. I still have to find a few more properties to trade into, so until that is all done. I am going to be limited on time dedicated to writing.

I did buy myself a crock pot recently, because my children complained that they missed spending time gathering around the table with us. I felt so bad! I purchased a crock pot, and we have been spending our quality dinner time together again.

 

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Harvest Festival Time

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It’s that time of the year again. This year we are having chicken pesto sliders with a side of chips, and some favorite dips with assorted yummies (to be determined). Our beautiful cow is new, and so is Casa Dell Arte. We will have an open studio on Friday, and on Saturday we will have two classes. One class will be for anyone 8 to 108, and the adult class is for 21 and over.

 

We are excited to see some of our old friends, and make some new ones too.

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Four Sisters Winery

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Located in the Paso Robles area of the Central Coast of California, the Four

Sisters Ranch has been growing grapes and producing world class, award winning,

wine for over 28 years.  Over 8 varieties of grapes are planted on over 430 acres.

The terrain is variable, from Limestone rich sandy-loom soil on hills adjacent to
the dry Estrella River bank to oak trees on hills overlooking a little and big “Grand Canyon”.
They more recently acquired their new winery and Tasting Room/Event Venue facility
where they also produce Limited Edition wines, and have room for large weddings
and celebrations. The New York Times has called their location the “best view of any
vineyard in the Central Coast” up on top of a hill with vistas of vineyards 360 degrees.
Tasting and Touring Magazine listed the Four Sisters Ranch in their 2016 Platinum Issue
as one of the 6 “Most Scenic” wineries in the Paso Robles area.  They take great pride in
being a friendly fun scenic Tasting Room with fine wines.

Four Sisters Ranch is owned and operated by a husband and wife team of two retired medical doctors: Dr. Michael Drucker and Dr. Serena Friedman. It is named after their four daughters; Sacheen, Elan, Toccara, and Sierra, who each contribute. Michael and Serena fell in love with Paso Robles in 1989, when they bought their first vineyard, and have now expanded to 433 planted acres! The first 16 years of Four Sisters Ranch involved intense, hands-on learning, experimenting, and getting down and dirty with the grapes, which were sold privately to world renowned wineries in the Napa Valley, Sonoma, Texas, Paso Robles, and beyond. Finally, in 2005, the first vintages of Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah were released under the Four Sisters Ranch label – and the rest is history! They now have have an impressive portfolio of award-winning Paso Robles wines and are thrilled to share their pride and passion with wine enthusiasts in the U.S. and internationally! In 2015, Four Sisters Ranch Vineyards & Winery expanded to a gorgeous new tasting room, winery, lab, barrel room, and event center in the northern

Paso Robles AVA

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 They are passionate about the fine wines they produce from the unique microclimates and mineral rich soils of Paso Robles.The Central Coast terroir has a long growing season with warm days and cool nights that produces uniquely ripened fruit, translating into a balanced wine of world class exception. Enjoy their Rhone and Bordeaux varieties.  Many of the wines are characterized as fruit forward, long lingering, and sure to tantalize the palate. They recently added Sparkling wines, Albarino,red blends, Petite Sirah,Orange Muscat, and  desert Port Style wine to our Merlot, Malbec, 91 point Zinfandel and our Flagship wines:  Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah.

They use special canopy management to allow just the right amount of sunlight and ocean-infused afternoon breeze to mingle with the fruit and allow it to to mature it to its full flavor potential. For the elegant 89 points Syrah you will taste a balanced, dry and subtle fruit palate of blackberry, boysenberry and plum. This delicious food friendly wine goes well with hearty foods like pasta, wild game, duck, and flavorful soft cheeses.

The award winning “River Cab,” grown on the banks of the dry Estrella River, has a bright raspberry and dry cranberry nose, with hints of dark cherry and currant. This wine is long on the palate with balanced tannins, and pairs well with lamb, steak, veal, pasta, rice, and spirited conversation.

Their youngest wine is a Grenache/Tempranillo blend, light and easy to drink.

The 2011 Zinfandel, rated 91 points by Wine Enthusiast Magazine, was aged in Hungarian Oak barrels to balance the cool 2011 vintage. The Petite Sirah is a bold new Limited Edition Wine nick-named “3 Sips Titanic” because it cannot be judged until “after the third sip, when the tannins sink into the back of the palate and tongue.

Their  Port style desert wine is 95% Cabernet and 5% Negrette, with a unique flavor but easy drinking.

The Crew & The Wine
Their new winemaker, Craig Reed, is working tirelessly to continue to expand the portfolio with new releases of carefully handcrafted, limited-release wines. They are focusing on estate-grown red blends and small-batch varietal wines, including varietals like

Grenache, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot, Zinfandel, Malbec, and Tempranillo. The Estate Director & Brand Manager, Shauna Burke, oversees our three wine brands: Four Sisters Ranch, Serena’s Vineyard, and Red Hat Vineyards.She is also a Certified Sommelier and chef who lends her expertise in food and wine pairing and global wine education.