Rick Longoria didn’t get into the wine business with dreams of owning a winery.
What he sought was to create the perfect balance of flavors and sensations inside a delicate glass.
Nearly five decades later, Mr. Longoria has never stopped trying, never forgetting the moment when he first experienced that symmetry inside a few ounces of Cabernet Sauvignon, according to a press release.
It’s an experience he has re-created for thousands of others, most recently from within the Santa Barbara County winery he and his wife founded in 1982.
“When people taste my wines and tell me, ‘They’re so well balanced,’ that makes me happy,” Mr. Longoria said in the news release.
His life, in wine and outside of it, has been marked by seeking balance. While he’s not ready to leave his beloved industry altogether, he is ready to step back and enjoy his three grandchildren, explore more cycling trails, seek a vintage bike to add to his collection, up his guitar skills, and pursue the perfect photograph.
The Longoria brand, winery, tasting room, equipment and inventory are now being offered as a package for $1.995 million.
The Longoria winery and tasting room are in Lompoc, a short distance from the cooling influence of the ocean and to the vaunted Sta. Rita Hills AVA. Its proximity to the shore means comfortable temperatures year-round, a lure for would-be wine aficionadas seeking to escape the summer heat.
The tasting room, originally a farmhouse built in 1913, later a club for a local mining operation, and lovingly remodeled by the Longorias to comfortably welcome guests, may especially appeal to buyers. Many loyal customers return time and again to visit and enjoy Mr. Longoria’s wines.
Along with all this, Mr. Longoria’s expertise will be accessible. He’s willing to stay on as a consultant to the new buyers, who he hopes will enjoy the immersive journey as much as he has.
The Santa Barbara County wine industry is still relatively young but has become what some consider to be the most dynamic region for wine in California today. Mr. Longoria was part of an early group who worked to grow and perfect the grapes and draw people to discover the region, helping put it on the map.
Over time, he and others learned the intimate qualities of terroir, taking advantage of micro-climates and choosing from an ever-growing and exciting offering of grape varietals.
“I believe I’m making the best wines I’ve ever made right now… the quality of grapes has just improved so much,” Mr. Longoria said. “The Lompoc area has a really cool climate with high-quality grapes so the wines you’ll taste tend to be very high quality.”
Two groups of buyers may especially appreciate the package Mr. Longoria is offering. One set of buyers may be part of larger operations that don’t yet have a presence in the highly desirable region, according to the press release. They may want to take advantage of the loyal following Mr. Longoria has built over the decades — many of his wine club members, for example, have been in the fold for 20 years, and he delivers wines to restaurants in the San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and Ventura counties, along with ones in Utah, Arizona and New Mexico.
Other potential buyers may be individuals who, like he and his wife Diana, wanted to follow a passion into a career and were drawn to the artisanal nature of creating wine in small, careful batches.
Though Mr. Longoria has been reducing production to prepare for the transition, the site in its current form is capable of producing approximately 3,000 to 3,500 cases per year, with ample room for expansion.