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Orange Coast Winery



Douglas Wiens
September 27, 2017 | Douglas Wiens

4 Reasons to Visit Orange Coast (Other than Our Wine)

You’ll come for the wine, but you’ll want to come back for so much more

It may not be too much of a revelation to say that most folks visit a winery for the wine. And while that is a perfectly fine reason to visit a winery, in many cases it’s the only reason. The wine may be great, but if there’s nothing else going on but other people silently sipping, that’s just boring.

Our goal with Orange Coast was to create a place where there was always something happening. The wine may have the starring role, but there are several supporting players that contribute to our fun and festive environment.

Live music

Orange Coast is quickly becoming a hot spot for some of the best musicians in the area. In addition to live music every Wednesday, we also host a number of special shows throughout the year. We recently held a benefit for the Alzheimer’s Association featuring an evening of acoustic music from the great James Intveld.

Are you ready for some Malbec?!

Football and beer may be sort of synonymous with each other, but we’re trying to change that. Monday evening, we open up our Member’s Room for Monday Night Football. As you watch the action on the gridiron, you’ll have a chance to sample some amazing wine and tasty tidbits that will make you never want to go back to beer and pretzels.

The perfect date night

Whether it’s a first date or the first time in forever that you’ve been able to break away from the kids, we can provide a great atmosphere. We’ll get you set up in a cozy corner, bring you a couple of glasses of wine (or a bottle, perhaps), some food if you like, and then you can spend the rest of the evening staring into each other’s eyes. (or at your phones, whatever floats your boat.)

A great chance to meet people

You can stop in to Orange Coast pretty much every day and find fellow wine-lovers with their noses buried in their glasses. But if you are looking for a way in to get to know some of these folks to make a new acquaintance or perhaps for networking purposes, our wine clubs are perfect. We have two different clubs that not only give you a discount on all wine and food, you’ll also get exclusive access to our Member’s Room and invitations to our private events.

Have we got you anxious to experience Orange Coast for yourself? We’re open seven days a week and we’d love to see you! And if you’re looking for more information about us, our events, or anything else, you can call us at 949-645-0400 or send us an email to

Time Posted: Sep 27, 2017 at 10:59 AM Permalink to 4 Reasons to Visit Orange Coast (Other than Our Wine) Permalink
Douglas Wiens
September 20, 2017 | Douglas Wiens

Terroir and the Taste of Wine

Explaining terroir and how it affects the wine you drink

There are many buzzwords associated with wine and the winemaking process. Words like bouquet (no, it’s not an arrangement of flowers), supple (a smooth, balanced wine), and legs (describes how wine sticks to the inside of a glass) are used by wine connoisseurs the world over. Another term – terroir – has great influence on how a wine will ultimately taste. If you’ve been around other wine aficionados, maybe you’ve heard the term. 

So, what is terroir and why does it matter when it comes to choosing a wine?

Wine Folly defines it as “how a particular region’s climate, soils and aspect (terrain) affect the taste of wine. Some regions are said to have more ‘terroir’ than others.” 

According to Winemakers Academy, there are many factors that can affect terroir:

  • Climate

             o Microclimates

  • Soil conditions

             o Nutrients in the soil (minerals)

  • Terrain

             o Altitude of the vineyard

             o Vineyard slope

             o Slope direction

             o Proximity to mountains or bodies of water

             o Neighboring plants

  • Use of wild yeast instead of inoculated yeast
  • Fermentation temperature

Though all of these factors play a part in the ultimate taste of wine, there are three main ones: climate, soil conditions, and terrain. Let’s break them down.

1. Climate and terroir

Climate refers to the prevailing weather conditions in a particular area over a long period of time. Think of the difference in the climate of Florida versus Washington. There is another term called microclimate, which refers to atmospheric conditions in a small, restricted area. one example of a microclimate is San Francisco. The areas around the city are hot (Sonoma and Napa Valley for example), but because San Francisco has a consistent fog layer due to the surrounding mountains, it stays much cooler. 

Wine grapes are generally grown in two climates: cool or warm. Cool climates tend to produce grapes that have lower sugar levels, which means they have more acidity. Grapes produced in warm climate have higher sugar levels so they have higher alcohol levels. This means that the same type of wine (Cabernet Sauvignon for example) can have a different taste, depending on where the grapes were cultivated.

Examples of cool climate wine regions: 

  • Washington State
  • Oregon
  • New York
  • Northern Italy & France
  • New Zealand           
  •  Austria
  • Germany
  • Chile

Examples of warm climate wine regions:

  • California
  • Argentina
  • Southern Italy & Southern France
  • Australia
  • Central & Southern Spain
  • Most of South Africa

2. Soil conditions and terroir

The earth is made up of literally hundreds of types of soil, although there are 6 main ones: clay, sandy, silty, peaty, chalky, and loamy. Adding to this diversity is a wide variety of different minerals which are also present in the soil. Most vineyards have a combination of 5-6 different soils, and wine connoisseurs believe each type affects the flavor of wine.

3. Terrain and terroir

You’ll notice that the two words above are remarkably the same, and that’s because they have the same Latin root … terra or “earth.” Terrain refers to geological features in the area where wine grapes are grown. According to Wine Folly, “…Altitude is an increasingly important focus for quality vineyards. Besides elevation, things like geological features (mountains, valleys, being located far inland), other flora (plants, microbes and trees) and large bodies of water affect how a wine from a particular region tastes.”

One example of how elevation seems to affect taste is Mendoza in Argentina. It lies 4,000 feet above sea level and has become famous for its top-quality Malbec wines.

One more terroir factor … tradition

This bonus factor refers to wines or regions that are entrenched in a specific winemaking tradition. It doesn’t have as much to do with climate, soil, and terrain, but is more about the human contribution. One example is Madeira. According to Wine Folly, “It’s traditional to stop fermentation early and fortify a wine by adding brandy and aging it in barrels outside (under the sun). This gives Madeira its classic roasted and nutty flavor.”

So, what does this mean for you? Well, knowing where the grapes were grown may give you some idea of what a wine will taste like. Identify the wines that you like and explore where they were produced. Then find more wines from that region. This will help you choose a wine that a) you will like; and b) complements a particular meal.

Have fun exploring the wines from different regions and see if you can spot the difference in terroir.

Time Posted: Sep 20, 2017 at 7:16 AM Permalink to Terroir and the Taste of Wine Permalink
Douglas Wiens
September 13, 2017 | Douglas Wiens

The Reviews are in: What People are Saying About Orange Coast Winery

Come see us and you’ll be a fan too

In the ancient world of wine, Orange Coast Winery is a newbie. If Orange Coast were a kid, she would only be in kindergarten. So, why are we one of the most well-known and popular wineries in the Newport Beach area? For a few reasons.

First, our wines are as good (if not better) than those you’ll find anywhere. Second, we’ve made it a point to create a fun and festive place filled with laughter and music. And last but far from least: We focus on giving our patrons an amazing experience each and every time they visit. But don’t just take our word for it; here are some recent reviews:

“Fell in love with this local winery on day one. Love it so much I had my bridal shower here. Great tasting area. Live music. The staff there have exceptional knowledge of their wines, and are pleasant & very friendly.” – Angelica J.

Paula F. also decided to use Orange Coast for a special event

“Had an amazing birthday party here with my friends. The team made it such a memorable event. From setting up a secluded area in the members-only room, to planning the food. They even had our favorite server pour for us (Scott). Peter the manager has done an outstanding job with the place and booking great talents like Sergio. The whole event goes down in history as one of my favorites.”

And people can’t seem to get enough of our bartender Robert!

“This place was great. Robert was awesome and honestly gives the best service. We will be coming back because of him.” – Chris P.

“Such a cute place with good ambiance, good wine and yummy food! We had Robert, he made our trip so fun and he is so knowledgeable! Make sure you ask for him and enjoy your time!” – Alaina C.

“Robert was our tasting host and it's been a very long time since I've been entertained with as much personality and wine knowledge as Robert shared with us. Aside from many great wines tasted, coming back and having Robert serve is worth another visit. The winery gets 5 stars, and Robert gets 5 stars +.” – Michael B.

But don’t forget about our wines!

“OCW makes their wines in Temecula and also in the Lodi area of Northern California. The menu denotes food pairings for each wine as well as explains the flavors. We really enjoyed the Orange Bubbly. It was fun and unique, almost like a mimosa, and we took a bottle of this home. Chardonnays are my favorite and I found their version to be crisp and bright.” – Morgan H.

“I would definitely recommend this place if you’ve never been to a winery or done wine tasting before! Oh, and if you like sweet, light wines, their "2015 summer blend" is the Holy Grail. I literally never tasted wine so delicious in my life.” – Emily R.

Orange Coast Winery in a nutshell…

“Great California wines in a chill atmosphere, generous tasting pours, friendly bar staff PLUS a delightful cheese board with the tasting. Can't get enough of this place.” – A N.

You can check out more reviews on Yelp. And if you want to see for yourself why so many folks rave about Orange Coast Winery, come visit us! We have tastings every evening and we’d love to see you. For more information or to set up a private event, contact us today.

Time Posted: Sep 13, 2017 at 9:49 AM Permalink to The Reviews are in: What People are Saying About Orange Coast Winery Permalink
Douglas Wiens
September 6, 2017 | Douglas Wiens

Behind the Numbers Grading that Bottle of Wine

How wine scores are determined

Judging the quality of a wine is often a numbers game today. The number – or score – a wine receives has become one of its most important selling points. A good score can elevate a brand into the upper echelons of the wine and spirits industry. A bad year can damage even a long-standing producer’s reputation. So, what do the numbers mean and how are they determined? What’s the difference between an 85 and a 93?

Why we have a point system

Wine has been around for thousands of years, of course. In that time, various systems were developed to judge the standards of the vino we drink. Major wine-producing regions such as France have used a strict system for hundreds of years. Although it worked when picking a type of wine (Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Merlot, etc.), it did not work nearly as well for choosing a specific vintage.

In the 1980s, writer and wine critic Robert Parker developed a new 100-point rating system. According to Wine Folly, “The 100-point wine rating system has become the benchmark of quality in the wine industry.” Wine is judged on production quality and typicity, or how much a wine is typical of its style and region.

What the numbers mean

The Robert Parker system actually uses a 50-100 point quality scale. Wines below 50 are not judged. Here is a breakdown of what the numbers mean:

96-100 – An extraordinary wine of profound and complex character displaying all the attributes expected of a classic wine of its variety. Wines of this caliber are worth a special effort to find, purchase, and consume.

90 – 95 – An outstanding wine of exceptional complexity and character. In short, these are terrific wines.

80 – 89 – A barely above average to very good wine displaying various degrees of finesse and flavor as well as character with no noticeable flaws.

70 – 79 – An average wine with little distinction except that it is a soundly made. In essence, a straightforward, innocuous wine.

60 – 69 – A below-average wine containing noticeable deficiencies, such as excessive acidity and/or tannin, an absence of flavor, or possibly dirty aromas or flavors.

50 – 59 – A wine deemed to be unacceptable

Other notable publications that now use this scale include: Wine Spectator, Vinous, Decanter Magazine, James Suckling, Jamie Goode (The Wine Anorak blog), Jeff Leve (The Wine Cellar Insider), and Wine & Spirits Magazine.

How the score is determined

Tastings are usually done in peer-group, single-blind conditions, meaning types of wines (e.g., a Bordeaux or Riesling) are tasted together without revealing the names of the producers. The tastings look only at the quality of the wine on that day. The price and the producer or grower is not part of the equation.

The critics are taken to a room that is free of scents or other elements that could affect the results. Each wine is poured into a glass and the critic goes through a specific ritual that includes swirling the wine in the glass, sniffing the wine, and then tasting it. The wine is not swallowed; it’s spat out. Between each tasting, the palate must be cleansed with neutral-tasting food or drink.

Critics typically look at four qualities of the wine and then assign a number for each element. The Robert Parker score includes the following:

  1. The wine’s general color and appearance merit up to 5 points.
  2. The aroma and bouquet merit up to 15 points, depending on the intensity level and dimension of the aroma and bouquet as well as the cleanliness of the wine.
  3. The flavor and finish merit up to 20 points, and again, intensity of flavor, balance, cleanliness, and depth and length on the palate are all important considerations when giving out points.
  4. Finally, the overall quality level or potential for further evolution and improvement—aging—merits up to 10 points.

The points are then added up for all of the elements to determine the final score.

A caution about the numbers

Although a high score is a good indication of a great-tasting wine, it’s important to remember that all scores are subjective and based on the individual critic’s taste and preference. Some prefer a bolder flavor, others subtler notes. Some critics also give routinely higher scores than others. Even the mood of the critic on that day can affect a score. 

Also keep in mind that Robert Parker’s method is not the only ratings system for judging wine. There are other well-known systems, including: The UC Davis 20-Point System, Jancis Robinson 20-Point System (Decanter Magazine), and even several 5-Point Systems, such as and Vino in Love.

Knowing the “score” behind the score can help you choose the perfect wine for dinner or your next party. And if you want no doubt you’ll be sampling great wine, visit Orange Coast Winery and review our selection of fine wines for every price range and palate.

Time Posted: Sep 6, 2017 at 12:44 PM Permalink to Behind the Numbers Grading that Bottle of Wine Permalink