Winemaker Doug Margerum promotes other businesses as well as his own
The 30th best wine of 2020 in the nation came straight out of Santa Barbara County.
In wine vocabulary, and according to a senior editor of Wine Enthusiast Magazine, the Margerum M5 White Rhône Blend “sizzles the palate with acidity and ashy, chalky tension, delivering flavors of kiwi, lychee and more stone fruit.”
In regular English, and according to Doug Margerum himself: “It’s just a super delicious wine.”
Whether it’s the five different grapes included in the wine or its persistence from the front to the back of the palate, it clearly won No. 30 in the top 100 for a “riesling.”
“It’s a team effort to make these wines and grow these grapes. It’s just as much to their credit as mine,” Mr. Margerum told the News-Press. “Just to be able to introduce a wine like this to people who might be reluctant to try a white wine … We were really stoked about that.”
This team player mindset is evident in many of Mr. Margerum’s projects, including collaboration in the community.
In 2019, he partnered with Bob Oswaks with Bob’s Well Bread Bakery in Los Alamos, creating two wines sold exclusively at the bakery and restaurant.
Although many private labels are associated with buying bulk wine, Mr. Margerum said collaborations like this allow for his partner’s personal curation of wines and helps build their brand.
“(Other businesses) can come up and do their own blends and really own it,” he said. “They’re not just bulk wine. It’s in the same league as Margerum.”
Margerum Wine Co. is about to debut a new rosé for Bristol Farms, along with working with Gelson’s Market and other partners. They’ve even worked with the Santa Barbara Zoo on wines named after animals.
“If you look carefully, you can see ‘Produced by Margerum,’ but it’s not to necessarily promote Margerum,” Mr. Margerum said. “It’s to allow people who have a deep passion for what they do to bring their customers something unique at a high quality and good price.”
He added that these partnerships provide the business owners with quite a bit of savings on the wine, therefore benefiting their customers.
“It’s a win-win,” he said. “I love to work, don’t get me wrong. But there’s a big difference between selling 112 individual cases versus 112 cases to one individual.”
While in-person dining and sipping glasses of wine in public isn’t an option in this phase of the pandemic, Margerum Wine Co. delivers bottles and cases of wine for free in the southern parts of the county including Goleta, Santa Barbara and Carpinteria. Customers can also order Margerum’s pizzas or charcuterie plates to go if they want some cheese with their wine.
“We know what we need to do and we’re doing that,” Mr. Margerum said. “We’ve already started focusing more on online business.
“Obviously our sales go down, not only direct consumer sales but finding new customers and having visitors and locals alike discover our wide range of interesting wines — we can’t do that anymore.”
That being said, Margerum Wine Co. had its 20th harvest this year, so it will be releasing anniversary wines in 2021 and 2022.
“The outside tasting was working well for us. We’re bummed even though we have very low rates here in Southern Santa Barbara County to be joined with the rest of (Southern) California,” he said, referring to the lockdown order. “It seems a little bit unfair, but obviously something needs to be done to reign this in.
“We’re just looking forward to a more prosperous 2021.”