Craig and Julie Holme bring a taste of the grape from the land down under to Oceanside with Holme Estate Cellars.
Craig is from Australia where he worked in vineyards growing up.
“A couple of years after I started working in the family vineyards, I began making wine. I went to Napa Valley as an intern and that is where I met my wife, Julie. Napa is where she grew up,” explained Craig.
The couple moved to Temecula and began doing research on where they wanted to open a tasting room.
“We saw that Oceanside was an up and coming place plus there wasn’t a winery in downtown so it was a perfect place to locate,” said Craig.
“We wanted a cool beachside place that fit our personalities,” added Julie.
The tasting room, 216 N. Coast Highway, is a warm, friendly place to sample their wines and enjoy good conversation with friends. The walls are painted in warm earth tones and decorated with vintage poster art by Steve Thomas. The signs are made by the couples 5-year-old budding artist daughter. A focal point is the grape vine from a Temecula winery that is a work of art on its own.
Of course, the true focal point of the tasting room is the wine.
“We are unique in that Craig is from Australia, I’m from California and we make wine from both places,” explained Julie. “Every harvest time, which is around Easter, we fly down there to pick the grapes with the family and make wine. They grow a Cabernet Sauvignon and a Shiraz, both reds.
“Our wines are minimalistic. We don’t try to influence it into something people think it should be. We just let the grapes ferment by themselves, naturally. Whatever turns out that year is reflective of the vintage.”
They also make a Rose. “From the reds, you pull off a little bit of the juice to keep it that light color and ferment that separately. You get a unique flavor profile in a white that kind of reflects the red grape,” Julie said.
In addition to the wines made from Australian grapes, which are color-coded with the Holme Estate Cellars name, the couple purchases grapes here to make, bottle and sell California wines which carry the Back of Beyond label.
“There is a difference in the grapes because of the climate. California is considered a warm climate whereas Australia is more of a cool climate. You don’t get the long heat that you get in California. You don’t get the intense ripening and that makes for more delicate flavors developing. Just because of the climate, a Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz from Australia are nothing like the ones from California,” said Julie. Holme Estate Cellars have Chardonnay, Zinfandel, and Sparkling wines too.
Along with the pet-friendly tasting room, Holme Estate Cellars offers a Wine Club. Club members receive two bottles of wine — one red, one white — four times a year. Each shipment is $60 for pick-up or can be shipped to you at additional costs. Other benefits include:
• 20% savings on all bottle purchases
• Exclusive access to new wines prior to their release
• First priority registration for events and parties.
Also, members get two complimentary glasses of any wine and a free “Ploughman’s Platter” monthly in the tasting room.
The hours vary at the tasting room as does the entertainment schedule so visit their website, www. holmeestatecellars.com, for more information, or call (442)264-7055.