June 13th, 2013

The story of the Longoria Winery is the story of Rick Longoria, owner, founder and winemaker. So, let’s start off with by saying that Longoria was a student at UC Berkeley, when the decade was changing from the 60s to the 70s. While there, he developed a fantasy about joining the winemaking business, because he felt that it was in tune with the counterculture principles he was being steeped in. Still, his first impulse was to dismiss the fantasy of winemaking and go to law school. While traveling through South America, though, he discovered that there was no other path for him besides that of winemaker.

And so, returned to America, clear on the path he was to take, Longoria got himself up to the Napa Valley and apprenticed himself to the legendary Andre Tchelistcheff. A career had begun, but still there was another shift to make. Longoria found that the winemaking lifestyle in the Napa Valley was too hectic. Which, if you’ve ever been up to the bucolic Napa Valley, speaks volumes about this man. He chose, instead, to take a job at a little place down near Santa Barbara, which was, in the late 70s, not really known as a winemaking region. He stayed there, at the J. Carey Cellars, for a few years, then moved over to the Gainey Vineyards for a bit, always making his own Longoria Wines as a side project.

When, in 1997, he felt that his side project was strong enough, Longoria let it take center stage in his life. Now, as Santa Barbara wines have become known, Rick Longoria is a part of how that happened. His is a story of having found the particular path his life should take. He did it by whittling away the more obvious choices, by choosing less glamour and more patience, and, in the end, that way started winning him awards. If these are the lessons to be had from Berkeley in the 60s, well, they look pretty good on Rick Longoria.

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