Wines & Vines Home
   
 
Welcome Guest
LOGIN |  CREATE ACCOUNT
 
ADVERTISEMENT
 
 
 
11.02.2012  
 

Malibu Tasting Room Stars Local Wines

Smallest producers welcome at Malibu Beach Wines

 
by Jane Firstenfeld
 
 
Malibu Beach Wines
 
Jim Palmer (from left) sells wines from his eponymous label at the new venture Malibu Beach Wines tasting room as well as bottles from Carol Hoyt of Hoyt Family Vineyards and Shawn Halahmy of Shai Cellars.
 
Malibu, Calif.—This beachfront community best known for movie stars, surfing and feuds with the California Coastal Commission has a new, more inclusive attraction. Owner/winemaker Jim Palmer designed a tiny tasting room in the village of Malibu to showcase artisan wines made mostly by local garagistes.

“We are trying to create a community-based place, open to all,” Palmer told Wines & Vines, adding that he has not set minimums for the wines he stocks. “We’re not excluding anybody. I haven’t set restrictions on anything.” Palmer purchases wines by the case, and his trained staff pours, tastes and sells bottles for a set mark-up.

Beside the scenic Pacific Coast Highway northwest of downtown Los Angeles, Malibu is within the vast Los Angeles County AVA established in 2004. Malibu’s two largest producers have tasting rooms and long-established, exclusive AVAs of their own: Rosenthal, The Malibu Estate produces some 4,500 cases from 30 acres in the Malibu-Newton Canyon AVA; Malibu Family Wines, makes 15,000 cases from its 65 vineyard acres in Saddle Rock-Malibu AVA.

Palmer (not the Hall of Fame pitcher/underwear model, but an accountant and entertainment manager) planted his 4-acre vineyard in 1997 and founded Jim Palmer’s Malibu Vineyard in 2003. Palmer’s is one of Malibu’s largest vineyards; he estimated there are currently about 50 vineyards with 500 planted acres.

“About 20 or 30 are producing wines,” he said, although like himself they use crush facilities in neighboring Ventura County or farther north in Santa Barbara or San Luis Obispo counties; winery permits are not available in Malibu.

Palmer labels his estate-grown Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah wines with a “California” AVA. “I had a choice: LA or California,” he recalled. He and his neighbor growers are working together to establish a more inclusive Malibu Coast AVA, with Newton Canyon and Saddle Rock as sub-appellations.

Like entrepreneurs in other cities, Palmer faced years of challenges before the soft opening of Malibu Beach Wines in September. Despite its international fame, Malibu is in fact a hamlet: More than half of its residences are second homes, leaving a permanent population of 5,000 to 6,000.

“You can win a seat on the City Council with less than 1,000 votes,” Palmer said. “There are zero degrees of separation in this sleepy little beach town filled with billionaires.” Charged with protection and regulation of all California’s coast, the Coastal Commission “spends most of their time dealing with Malibu,” he said. Larry Ellison, billionaire chief of Oracle, owns 11 beach houses there but still needed seven years to finally secure a permit for a Malibu branch of the posh Nobu restaurant.

So Palmer’s three-year negotiation to open his modest tasting room was relatively swift, if not pain-free. “There’s no easy answer,” he said. “It takes perseverance, not giving up. I had a lot of conditions from the city.”

First and last of its kind
The 1,200-square foot space shares a building with a surfboard shop. Palmer has no illusions of forming the nucleus for a “wine ghetto” like those in Santa Barbara or Carmel-by-the Sea. His is perhaps the last on-premise liquor license to be issued in Malibu. The city council, he said, has since declared a moratorium. Malibu Beach Wines will, for the foreseeable future, be the village’s first and only tasting room.

Palmer plans to stock half the store with local wines and the rest with small boutique wineries, providing a forum to micro-producers.

On the shelves, in the glass
To demonstrate, Palmer and two other vintners poured their wines at a media event Oct. 19. In Santa Barbara County, Shawn Halahmy has produced 300-350 cases of red varietal wines from sourced grapes each year since 2008. Operating under the Shai Cellars label—and without a winery, tasting room or even a wine club—he welcomed the opportunity to pour at Malibu Beach.

While keeping up with his day job as a Realtor, he hand sells his wines. “It’s hard work, word-of-mouth, grassroots,” he said. “It’s me going out there.” Halahmy avoids most retail stores—even larger specialty wine shops—and sells most of his production in small restaurants. He believes Malibu Beach Wines’ concentration on artisan wineries like his makes it a great fit.

Carol Hoyt is the mother of two preteens, co-owner and chief bottle washer of 1,000 case Hoyt Family Vineyards, half a mile up Kanan Dume Road from the Pacific Coast Highway. Like Paso Robles and other California coastal winegrowing regions, Malibu has two distinct grapegrowing microclimates

Hoyt’s 2 vineyard acres on the cool coastal side are devoted to Chardonnay. The winery sources red varieties from Santa Ynez and Paso Robles, and it processes the wines in Santa Maria.

“When we planted our vineyard 12 years ago, we were one of six vineyards,” Hoyt said. “Now there are more than 75. At first, Malibu didn’t want to put in vineyards: They didn’t want to ‘look like Napa.’ Now, they love them.”

Hoyt’s Chardonnay grapes thrive in dense, clay soil—a boon in arid Southern California. “Just a little rain will keep our grapes hap py. I’d love to grow more, but we’ve planted all we can,” she said, ruing the cost of Malibu land.

Hoyt Chardonnay has become well known, she said, and is poured in eight restaurants.

Malibu Beach Wines is open daily from noon until 8 p.m. at 22775 Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu.

SHARE »
Close
 
Currently no comments posted for this article.
 
CURRENT NEWS INDEX »


 
Wines & Vines Home
 
866.453.9701 | 415.453.9700 | Fax: 415.453.2517
65 Mitchell Blvd., Ste. A San Rafael, CA 94903
info@winesandvines.com
Wine Industry Metrics
 
Off-Premise Sales » Month   12 Months  
July 2014 $557 million
5%
$7,577 million
6%
July 2013 $533 million $7,128 million
     
Direct-to-Consumer Shipments » Month   12 Months  
July 2014 $61 million
9%
$1,674 million
10%
July 2013 $56 million $1,517 million
     
Winery Job Index » Month   12 Months  
July 2014 312
10%
222
19%
July 2013 283 187
     
 
MORE » Released on 08.15.2014
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Practical Winery & Vineyard Library
 
Search the PWV archive »
 
 

Direct To Consumer
Wine Shipping Report
2014
 
Download full report »
 
 

CALENDAR
  • September 5-6
     
    Windy City Wine Festival
     
  • September 11
     
    Women for WineSense "Women in Wine"
     
  • September 12
     
    Direct to Consumer Wine Sales
     
  • September 18-21
     
    Euphoria
     
  • MORE »
 

READER COMMENTS
 
Article: Ledger David names first winemaker »
 
What a joy to have Kiley on the team! A lot of exciting things happening...
Reader: Guest
 
Article: Useful Spanish for Wine Harvest »
 
you misspelled "zona" under Loading Area
Reader: Guest
 
Article: Early 2014 Grape Harvest Begins »
 
Thanks for mentioning Temecula and the South Coast appellation in your article. It is great...
Reader: Guest
 
Article: Wineries May Lose Internet Domain Dispute »
 
All these arguments could be levied by any industry associated with any gTLD, new or...
Reader: Doug Barnett
 
Article: Wineries May Lose Internet Domain Dispute »
 
Do brands get hijacked now? Even though .wine does not yet exist, are there false...
Reader: Larry Chandler
 
 


Directory/Buyer's Guide — Your Wine Industry Marketplace
 
 
WINERY SEARCH
 
 
Advanced Search »
SUPPLIER SEARCH
   by Product
 by Company Name or Brand
 
Browse by Category »
2014 Directory/Buyer's Guide
The Wines & Vines Directory and Buyer's Guide
 
 
EXPANDED ONLINE SEARCH INCLUDED WITH PURCHASE
 
ORDER NOW »
 
LEARN MORE »
 
 
Wines & Vines Magazine
 
 
LEARN MORE »
 
SUBSCRIBE »
 
Digital Edition Now Available!
Wines & Vines Digital Edition Now Available
 
LEARN MORE »
 
ORDER NOW »
 
 
The Wines & Vines Online Marketing System
 
The Industry Standard winery marketing application
 
FREE LIVE DEMO »
 
VIEW VIDEO »
 
 
 
 
Latest Job Listings
 Sales Representative
 Daly City, CA
Sales and Marketing
 Fine Wine/Spirits Sale...
 Albany, NY
Sales and Marketing
 Wine Store - Sales Ass...
 New York, NY
Sales and Marketing
 Retail Store Manager
 Centerville, MA
DTC, Tasting Room and Retai
 Importing / Purchasing...
 Napa, CA
General Administration and
 Customer Service / Adm...
 Napa, CA
General Administration and
 Visitor Center Represe...
 Napa, CA
DTC, Tasting Room and Retai
 Administrative Assista...
 Santa Rosa, CA
General Administration and
 Assistant General Mana...
 City Of Sonoma, CA
General Administration and
 Tasting Room Associate
 Livermore, CA
DTC, Tasting Room and Retai
 
More Job Listings >>
Follow Us On:
 
 





Home  |  About Us  |  Editors  |  Subscribe  |  Print Edition  |  Digital Edition

Advertise  |  Site Map  |  Contact Us  |  Privacy Policy
 
 
Copyright © 2001-2014 by Wine Communications Group, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
No material may be reproduced without written permission of the Publisher.
Wines&Vines does not assume any responsibility for any unsolicited manuscripts or materials.