Lions Peak Vineyard - Paso Robles, Ca. WineLions Peak Vineyards - Paso Robles, Ca. WinesLions Peak Vineyards - Paso Robles, Ca. Wines

World of Wine and Design

When you meet Jennifer Arant, the owner, sommelier, and wine maker of Lions Peak, you know that there is a story behind the artistic wine labels, decorative interiors of her tasting room, and vineyard house. Beyond the eclectic design of tasting room, the history of Lions Peak is in plain view.Library wines dating back to 1994 are on the wine racks, as well as the current releases, and there is a rich history of awards to be seen from the most renowned wine competitions in California. A story awaits you to hear about the rich legacy of Lions Peak!

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LIONS PEAK VINEYARDS
A Tradition of Old Vines, Exceptional Terroir, and a Discerning Palate


Nestled in the Santa Ynez Valley, in the quaint Danish town of Solvang, Lions Peak Vineyards tasting room offers visitors a portfolio of small-lot, hand-crafted, highly-acclaimed Bordeaux, Rhone and Port wines. The cozy and well-decorated tasting room is recognized as artistic expression of the owner, winemaker and Sommelier, Jennifer Arant, a former professional interior designer, who has integrated her prior interior design background to the creativity to the tasting room’s décor and her wine labels and packaging.

From LP’s Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Mourvédre, Petite Sirah, Marsanne, Cabernet Sauvignon Rosé, to their blends and ports, there is something for every palate. If, as many believe, each wine tells a story, then it is particularly true of Arant’s BFF (Best Friends Forever), Lulu, Sisters, Lionnésse, Vis á Vis, Bon Couráge, Roaring Lion, Octavian, and Augustus XIX. And, Lions Peak still offers limited quantities of many of their library and award-winning wines going back to 1994.

Lions Peak’s tasting menu changes weekly and features a selection of flights ranging from their white and red Rhone and Bordeaux varietals, blends, or their Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel Ports which are paired with the Lulu vegan chocolates. LP also offers an exquisite and unique collection of decorative wine glasses from Murano Italy, and branded, wine-related accessories, all of which make wonderful gifts.

Often asked, what makes Lions Peak wines taste so exceptional and win so many awards? Arant claims it’s a combination of three factors: the maturity of LP’s Estate 45-yearold Cabernet Sauvignon vines; the terroir of the grapes for the wines; and the fact that she is personally involved with the taste profile of each of the small lots of the wine production. According to Arant, “when you are a small producer, it’s a ‘hands-on’ operation. I taste each of my wines with making it an artistic expression of nature. For me, everything associated with wine, from the care of the vines in the
vineyard to the timing of the harvest, the aging, blending, bottling and presentation is art.”

According to Arant, “These three factors are the reasons why, since Lions Peak’s inaugural release in 1994, we continue to win Best of Class, Gold, Silver, and Bronze medals in such well-established wine competitions as the Orange County and Los Angeles County fairs, the California State Fair, the Long Beach Grand Cru, and Tasters Guild International Competition competing against much higher-volume, much better-known wineries here and elsewhere in California.”

Lions Peak opened one of the very first downtown tasting rooms in Paso Robles in 1998, and after the 2003 earth quake there, opened their present tasting room in Solvang in the spring of 2004. On Memorial Weekend, Lions Peak Vineyards will celebrate its 12th Anniversary in Solvang. You are invited to share their special weekend celebration and taste their award winning wines dating back to their 1994 release!

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SANTA BARBARA COUNTY | WINE COUNTRY THIS MONTH

WINEMAKER PROFILE

JENNIFER ARANT

Lions Peak Vineyards

Winemaker, Owner and Sommelier of Lions Peak Vineyards, Jennifer Arant, has created a portfolio of small lot, hand-crafted Bordeaux and Rhône wines. A native Texan and former professional ASID interior designer, Arant would be the first to tell you how a trip to Paso Robles on Valentine’s Day in 1991 changed her life forever. Being an avid storyteller, she will entertain you with her early years of living at Lions Peak’s 120 acre vineyard to having the first downtown tasting room in Paso Robles. It was truly a time before Paso Robles wines became highly sought after and were recognized by the Wine Enthusiast as being wines from the best growing region in California.

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Wine Adventures with Lions & Caves

By Sherrie Petersen
 
“I think people fantasize about having a vineyard and growing the grapes,
but what they don’t realize is that it’s agriculture”
                                                                                 -Jennifer Soni

You may not come across any winemakers wearing felt fedoras or carrying bullwhips, but adventurers they are, nonetheless. Take Jennifer Soni, owner of Lions Peak Vineyards. With an 18-year career as an interior designer, she had found success and garnered numerous awards as a designer in her native Texas. But a chance encounter with the Central Coast convinced her to toss it all and take up a new career. “I think part of it, probably, was insanity!” she says with a smile. “I had a young daughter and I was stressed out with working so many hours in the design world. Somehow the vineyard was kind of romantic.” 

The romance wore off quickly, though, as the enormity of what she had done became clear. “I think people think fantasize about having a vineyard and growing the grapes, but what they don’t realize is that it’s agriculture,” she says.

Fortunately, Soni has a background in agriculture. Her family has farmed hundreds of acres in Texas for generations. “I remember that as a child,” she adds. “So I think I was able to transform from being in Ann Klein suits to being out in knee high boots and working on busted drip lines.”
 
Soni has been hands on with all aspects of her business. “Sometimes you wear a lot of different hats and sometimes you’re just down and dirty and I had to be willing to do that and I was,” she explains. She has designed the labels, run the tasting room, taken charge of sales and marketing, and made wine with the help of a consultant. “That’s why I’m here today,” she says. “It’s perseverance. I would go out in the vineyard in the truck and honk the horn to get the birds out. I know it sounds crazy. But you do what you have to do if you want to succeed.”

And she has succeeded in this venture, but it hasn’t been without setbacks. When she originally purchased the vineyard in 1992, she opened a tasting room in downtown Paso Robles. The earthquake in 2003 changed everything. “People didn’t want to come downtown anymore,” she says. “It was very nerve wracking.

At first I was reluctant to move the tasting room down here, outside of our appellation. But I stepped out in faith and did it and it ended up being the best thing I could have ever done.”  
She recently expanded her business to include Lions Peak Global Wine Shop in Cambria where she sells boutique wine producers from California and around the world as well as all of Lions Peak’s wine. As her business grows, Soni is also making time to volunteer for causes close to her heart.

“As a victim of domestic violence I understand it on a first hand basis,” she explains. “I just think that at this point in my life I want to give back. I believe that I’ve been blessed with this business and I want to use my life and my business to help.”

Lions Peak focused primarily on Bordeaux reds in the beginning. These days their award-winning lineup includes a variety of reds, Rhônes, ports and dessert wines. The Solvang tasting room is open 7 days a week: Sunday–Thursday, 11am to 5pm, Friday and Saturday, 11am to 7pm.



Now, if you’re looking to have your own adventure in wine country, you should step inside a cave. Historically used to keep wines cool and let them age gently, wine caves have come a long way from the rugged catacombs the Romans used to store their liquid treasures.
Currently, the only winery in Santa Barbara County with wine caves open to the public is Cottonwood Canyon.

If you visit on Saturdays and Sundays you can pay $15 and join a tour at 11 a.m., 1 p.m. or 3 p.m.
The tour takes 45 minutes to an hour and the fee includes your regular wine tasting as well as barrel sampling while you’re in the cave. The cave entrance is about a ¼ mile walk from the tasting room, down a steep slope. They can make special arrangements if you are in a wheelchair or need extra assistance.


 Here’s to adventurous tastings. Cheers!

 

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