country, Fountain of Youth, Galleria, Happiness Project, Photography, San Luis Obispo Sites, San Luis Sunday, Winery

Tackitt Winery

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. IMG_8671


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 or find Tackitt on Facebook.

farming, food, Happiness Project, Throwback Thursday

Chumash and Salinas People

Since purchasing San Marcos Creek Vineyard and Winery, I have been staying up late nights doing research about the history of the the land. Our winery is right where the mouth of creek opens to the Salinas River. Rivers and streams were a great place for hunters and gathering people to hunt seasonly. The vantage point of the vineyard and winery provides a vista all the way across the Salinas River. During the rainy season is the only time water is visible in the creek, however the Missionaries say there was ample water in the creek. I am guessing they were passing the creek when it was winter or spring, as there is nothing but sand in the creek during the summer months.

The history of the area is mostly conveyed through the missionaries. They have described the villages (which could be 20 to 200 people per village) as constantly fighting. As they were the conquering people. The missionaries witnessed the people of the tribes gathering in a hut before the hunt and arguing, and then if there was a greater discrepancy then a whole village would be burt to the ground. Women were stolen and taken to other villages, and men were killed.

Ok, there may have been some fighting, but I believe the Missionaries would gain more by portraying the Native people as quarrelsome and aggressive. Why would they need the Missionaries if they were a peaceful, loving people?

Our winery is at the mouth of the creek, and the Missionaries as well as the Native people from the San Antonio area said the people from the west side of the 101 spoke another language. Which were the Las Gallinas people. the Salians people lived around the Mission, and along the banks of the Salinas river. People came into the area to view the Mission, and the new people. Sometimes Spanish guards would accompany them, which means they were prisoners of the Spanish guards. They brought the Native people to the Mission to work as slaves.

It is hard to fathom what people were thinking as they were escorted to the Mission under guards. They would not be able to live their lives as they once did, following the seasons through hunting and gathering. The Spanish thought the land was cleared as some kind of miracle, but it was the Native people that cleared the land by burning the grasses around the trees so it would be easier to gather the acorns.

I believe we need to have the whole story, not just the one we were handed. People lived and loved on this soil as we do, and knowing that there were two different tribes of Naitve people is beautiful to me. It is unfortunate what happened in history! There is nothing we can do to change it, but we can learn more about the cultures that once inhabited the land.

Want to learn more about the Chumash or the Salinas?

Photography, San Luis Sunday

Missions of California, San Miguel

I feel very blessed to live in a town with an old Mission. We happen to live in a county that has two historic missions. Often, when I am just passing by, I go into the sanctuary to pray. It is so therapeutic for me. Just breathing in the air that has so much fascinating history just thrills me. The passion of the Spanish people that came here believing they could make all the difference in the lives of the people that inhabited this land for centuries astounds me. Mission

Does civilizing people make them better people? How is one interpretation of civilization better than another? When conquering one area the Spanish monks would bring a bell even to the spot where a camp or possible mission would be, and dividing the hours of the day was one of the first changes that would be implemented on the people that inhabited the land. Cannon

I get that we can’t change history. We have to ascertain from history what we would do different so we don’t make the same mistakes ever again. So many people though time have been oppressed, enslaved, and beaten down because the ones doing the conquering believed their method was better. When I am at the mission I think about the people that had a distain for the monks, and those that wanted to believe they were being led into a better direction. The artists that painted the walls given a different opportunity, the ones learning music feeling elation, the ones feeling like they were prisoners. Being among the artifacts and the ruins conjures so many different emotions. Ultimately, I go with the feelings of elation. As much as there is truth to the fact that people have been oppressed since the beginning of time. We as humans are getting better about being just towards one another. Oh sure, we are not there yet, however as long as we make strides to do better, and live fulfilling lives as we help each other along the way…we are going to get there!Sun dial

Happiness Project, Photography, San Luis Obispo Sites

Mission San Miguel

When we were about to move from the SF Bay Area, I wanted to move to one of the towns that had a Mission. My husband wasn’t on board at first, but then we found the most beautiful place that had our names all over it.

Here is a photo I took recently after I attended Mass in the morning. The morning light was perfect.