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New wine-tasting room opens in Arroyo Grande, with another on the way

Timbre Winery has opened a tasting room in a bungalow at 225 E. Branch St. in the village of Arroyo Grande.
Timbre Winery has opened a tasting room in a bungalow at 225 E. Branch St. in the village of Arroyo Grande.

The Village of Arroyo Grande is starting to offer more wine-tasting opportunities with the recent opening of one tasting room and another in the works.

Qupé, Verdad Wines and Timbre Winery—all with ties to the Santa Maria Valley—will operate on opposite ends of Branch street, joining Phantom Rivers Wine, which has been pouring its wine in the village for over a decade.

“It’s becoming more of a destination for visitors,” with a new hotel opening and more diverse shopping and dining offerings, said Chiasa Klapper, whose husband Josh is winemaker and co-owner of Timbre.

Timbre’s tasting room debuted at 225 E. Branch St. in a bungalow just a couple doors down from Phantom Rivers earlier this summer. The space preserves many aspects of the 100-year old house, with a homey seating area surrounding a fireplace as well as the tasting bar and a small outdoor patio.

Timbre is open daily except Tuesday and Wednesday, which are by appointment only. Tasting fee is $12 or $18 for the reserve flight, waived with three bottle or $50 purchase.

“If the red umbrella is up, come on in,” Klapper said. “It’s a community place, bring the kids, or your laptop and have a glass of wine while you do some work.”

The Santa Maria-based winery has been making wine for over a decade under another name, La Fenêtre, producing mostly chardonnay and pinot noir with fruit sourced from top vineyards in the Santa Maria and Edna valleys.

The new name, referring to the “color of music,” is reflected in the label artwork depicting soundwaves as well as the names of the individual wines: Opening Act for lighter whites and the rosé, for example, Supergroup for a pinot combining grapes from three renowned vineyards, and Encore for a late harvest viognier.

Klapper’s goal is to make acid-driven wines that pair well with food, reflecting his background as a sommelier at five-star restaurants in New York and Los Angeles, his wife said.

Though the wines are made at Central Coast Wine Services in Santa Maria primarily from Santa Barbara County fruit, the Klappers chose Arroyo Grande, where they now live, to open the tasting room.

“There’s a strong, supportive community here,” Chaisa Klapper said. “In somewhere like Los Olivos, it’s too easy to get lost in the shuffle.”

Qupé, one of Santa Maria’s pioneering wineries, closed its Los Olivos tasting room over a year ago and will be opening at 134-A W. Branch St., closer to Highway 101, along with Verdad Wines.

Bob Lindquist, who Klapper mentored under, started Qupé over 30 years ago, earning acclaim for his cool-climate syrah and other Rhône varietals. Wife Louisa Sawyer Lindquist launched Verdad in 2000 to focus on Spanish varietals including albariño and tempranillo.

In 2005, they planted the Sawyer Lindquist in Edna Valley, which is certified both organic and Demeter biodynamic. So are some of Verdad’s wines.

Work on the tasting room is underway, with the opening date and hours yet to be determined.

Sally Buffalo writes about wine, beer and spirits. Reach her at sallybuffalo@gmail.com or on Twitter or Instagram @sallybuffalo.

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