Think of Ventura County as a bubbly and energetic younger sister to Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties.
It’s just starting to emerge as a wine region, thanks largely to the release of the Ventura County Wine Trail Map. Now, the area’s half dozen or so wineries have been promoted not only to tourists but also to locals who had no idea they were just around the corner.
But if anything is going to stunt Ventura County’s chances of emerging as a true sibling rival of its neighbors to the north, it’s the terroir. The soil is, well, too good, said John Whitman who, along with his wife, owns Old Creek Ranch Winery in Ventura. As any vineyard manager will tell you, the more the grape struggles to survive, the better the wine. “They would be these big juicy things that lack character,” Whitman said of Ventura County’s grapes, adding they would be better suited for eating.