Foxen Vineyard & Winery

FOXEN Vineyards & Winery

Foxen is not a new discovery for me, however I can’t think of any other place I’d rather begin. I first came across Foxen on a lazy Saturday afternoon. We had just visited several wineries along the beautiful Foxen Canyon Wine Trail and finished our day of tasting at this casual, magical little winery.

We pulled up to the place and I immediately fell in love. This was when Foxen’s new solar-powered tasting room was nothing but an empty plot of land and all that existed was the rustic tasting room – now referred to as Foxen 7200.

Foxen 7200 “the shack”

After a day of visiting several slightly more commercial/corporate tasting rooms, I loved the fact that Foxen was a little shack built from aged, reclaimed looking wood. I loved the A-frame chalkboard “open” sign perched in front. I loved that the parking lot was a little gravel space that backed up against the rolling hills. I loved the back deck – ideal for hanging out and enjoying wine under the crystal clear blue sky while hummingbirds dart around, sipping nectar from the feeder the winery provides. I loved the small tasting room with select merchandise and memorabilia collected since the winery was founded in 1985 by Bill Wathen and Dick Dore. I loved the friendly employees with laid back attitudes who clearly have a passion for educating people about the wine they pour. I loved all of it.

Foxen 7200 “the shack”

And then we tasted the wine. After trying a handful of wines on this particular day – some good and some forgettable – Foxen was outstanding. From the crisp and perfectly acidic Chenin Blanc to the juicy fruit-filled Pinot Noir (appropriately called “Pinot candy”) to the bolder Bordeaux styles (Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and their delicious Range 30 West blend), I was thoroughly impressed. One of my favorites was the ’07 Santa Maria Valley Pinot Noir. I liked it so much that when I learned the winery had sold out of the vintage, I found stock at a local wine store and bought out their entire inventory.

The back deck at “the shack” and the original Foxen winery

Foxen winery is named in memory of William Benjamin Foxen, an English sea captain and Dick’s great-great grandfather, who came to Santa Barbara in the early 1800′s. Captain Foxen adopted the distinctive “anchor” as his ranch cattle brand, which has become a trademark of the winery and is seen on every bottle of wine produced.

Needless to say, I’ve been back to Foxen several times since my first visit. It’s my happy place – my go-to winery any time I want incredible, consistently good wine. And I absolutely love the tasting room at 72oo Foxen Canyon Road. I can’t think of a better place to sit outside, sip wine, and truly relax.

New winery & tasting room at 7600 Foxen Canyon Road

The new tasting room at 7600 Foxen Canyon Road

In 2009, Foxen opened a new state of the art, solar-powered winery and tasting room just up the road from the original tasting shack. While the original tasting room has a very special (and slightly favored) place in my heart, the new tasting room is special in its own right. The original shack or “Foxen 7200″ is still open and now pours Bordeaux and Cal-Italian style wines while the new spacious and bright location focuses on Burgundy (Chardonnay and Pinot Noir) as well as Rhone style wines. Tasters have the option to try 5 wines at the location of their choosing ($10 tasting fee per location), or pay $12 to taste 3 wines at the new tasting room and 3 at Foxen 7200.

The new solar-powered winery & tasting room at 7600 Foxen Canyon Road

The new FOXEN winery

We last visited Foxen 2 weeks ago and opted to drive up from Los Angeles on Friday night. We ended up camping at nearby Lake Cachuma on Friday so we could make the most of the following day. The campsite was beautiful and the drive to wine country in the morning was easy as can be. On this particular visit, we tasted the 5 wines at the new tasting location which included the ’07 Chenin Blanc, ’08 Chardonnay, ’08 Pinot Noir, ’07 Cuvee Jeanne Marie, and ’06 Syrah. As usual, we left with smiles on our faces and several bottles of wine in the trunk.

Burgundy & Rhone varietals at FOXEN

Foxen is well worth a visit for anyone exploring the wineries around Santa Barbara. Both Foxen and Foxen 7200 are open daily from 11 am til 4 pm. I know I’ll be back soon…

Click here to visit the Foxen Vineyard website.

FOXEN WINERY & VINEYARD
(business address & tasting room)
7600 Foxen Canyon Road
Santa Maria, CA 93454
Phone: (805) 937-4251
Fax: (805) 937-0415
Tasting room hours: 11AM – 4PM Daily

(foxen 7200 “the shack”)
7200 Foxen Canyon Road
Santa Maria, CA 93454
Phone: (805) 937-4251
Fax: (805) 937-0415

One response to “Foxen Vineyard & Winery

  1. I’ve been visiting Foxen since the early ’90s…and it has always been a special place. Their wines are fantastic up and down the lineup, and the staff have always been exceptional. I, like you, will always have special feelings for The Shack…and the old T-Shirts that read “If you don’t know Foxen, you don’t know Dick”. But the new tasting room guarantees that I have two outstanding stops on a Santa Ynez Valley wine tasting afternoon.

    Great post on a great winery. I hope to be visiting my Foxen Family for many years to come!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s