Cork & Fork owner Cathy Bentley has met many people in the Cabrillo College wine classes. But this is a story about a special class and a very special group…
One of the best things about taking so many wine classes is you meet a lot of people who love wine. One of the classes Cathy took was Beginning Wine Making and in that class she met a group of people who soon became very good friends. She calls them her Wineaux. And that’s where it all began. Well, at least the shenanigans began….
In 2009, she and a few others were drawn together after seeing each other for many semesters in a row – for one very specific reason – to make wine. They all had registered for the Beginning Winemaking class taught by Sal Godinez. He was a winemaker by trade, with an extensive background in making wine in Napa Valley and Santa Cruz Mountains. His class was the first winemaking class to be taught at Cabrillo and there were some very enthusiastic students signed up. The class was originally designed to accommodate 30 students in the Fall, so that Sal could bring the class up to his winery and teach them HANDS-ON winemaking. The problem was, Cabrillo accidentally over-enrolled the class to 75 students. Sal had to think fast – he was not able to bring everyone up to such a small winery, so he figured he’d teach a “virtual winemaking” class. Great class. But not what these die hards wanted.
Sal helped these 19 eager beginners and connected them with a vineyard so they could buy grapes. They bought 2 tons from a little vineyard in Santa Clara County. A very long story short, they made 4 barrels that year.
The Wineaux formed a wine-making group in 2009. They began by calling themselves the Cabrillo Crushers, because they all met at Cabrillo. They pooled their money and made 4 barrels of wine: Zinfandel, Syrah, Pinot and a Zin-Carignane blend. Then in 2010 they made 14 barrels, including: Zinfandel, Cabernet Franc, Pinot, Montepulciano, Petite Sirah, and a Cab Franc and Zin blend. They also invested in a bottling line, crusher/destemmer and new barrels.
Two years later, during the Summer of 2011, they entered their 2009 Zinfandel, 2010 Cabernet Franc and 2010 Pinot into the Santa Cruz County Fair amateur competition. They won a DOUBLE GOLD MEDAL for the Zinfandel, a Silver for the Cabernet Franc and a Bronze for the Pinot Noir. There was nothing stopping them now. Except they all have full time jobs that get in the way. They continue to make wine today and remain excellent friends. As a matter of fact, some of them helped paint and assemble the furniture at Cork and Fork.
To this day, Sal is a trusted phone-a-friend if they have questions. He’s become a great friend to the group and they keep in touch. Some even visit him in Napa.
The Wineaux took a break in 2016 to move their winemaking facility. They have been making wine for 8 years and try to expand their horizons and add a new varietal each year.