According to the pragmatic theory of truth, the truth of Pliny the Elder's statement "in vino veritas" can be confirmed by telling the truth every time we drink wine, and if a person were to tell the truth every time he or she drank wine, hundreds of people would drunkenly confess to dressing toasters in dog sweaters. Disprove Pliny with today's Groupon: for $10, you and a guest will attend a wine tasting (a $20 value) at Hamilton Oaks Vineyard, snuggled in the hillside of Trabuco Canyon.
March marks the beginning of spring at Hamilton Oaks, when fuzzy baby future-grapes break through the crust of dormant wine vines. Life is rumbling to life in the rolling green hills of Trabuco Canyon, and you'll have plenty of time to breathe it in while tasting locally fermented grapes. The proprietors spin a tale of the vineyard's history for visitors before breaking out four to five different wines as an aperitif. Some tasters may get a chance to tour the barrel room, a cool, dimly lit chamber of French oak barrels that are used to age the wines from 20 to 34 months. The tasting itself takes from 45 minutes to an hour. Pack a picnic in a French-looking basket, which is distinguished from other baskets by its jaunty beret and cigarette, and stay a little longer, lunching on one of the sun-dappled outdoor decks.
The wines produced at Hamilton Oaks collectively cohabitate Jumping Vines, the wine line produced by vintner and vineyard owner Ron Tamez. These are 100% Orange County wines, handcrafted from naturally grown and harvested grapes. No pesticides or herbicides are ever used in Hamilton Oaks' horticultural process. Instead, a variety of nature's creatures guard and protect the plant life. Ladybugs keep unwanted insects at bay, while snakes and red-tailed hawks gobble up gophers during the day. At night the guard shifts and barn owls stand sentinel, rotating their heads like periscopes on feathered submarines stalking grape-guzzling battleships. You must call ahead to make an appointment.
Ron Tamez, owner and proprietor of Hamilton Oaks Vineyard, has picked up a number of awards for his homegrown wines. He won silver at the 2010 Winemakers Challenge in San Diego and took Best of Class in the $30–$35 range for his Jumping Vines contribution at the 2010 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition. Wine blogger Roger Lee Paige reviewed the vineyard, and two Yelpers give it 4.5 stars:
- To simply state that his wines are good would honestly be an insult. His wines are featured out of country in Hong Kong, out of state in Virginia and Nevada, as well as over fifty establishments within California. – Roger Lee Paige, wine blogger
- This local Orange County vineyard and winery is a true 'hidden gem' that until now, only locals know about! … Nestled in the hills of Trabuco Canyon, Hamilton Oaks Vineyard and Winery makes some great 'award winning' wines! … Chardonnay, Symphony, Voigner, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Barbera, and some of the BEST Port you'll ever taste! Whether you enjoy white or red, they have it all! – Yvette P., Yelp
Hamilton Oaks Winery
Since the first vines began to climb across Hamilton Oaks Winery in 1989, Ron and Connie Tamez worked with a dedication to craft a selection of fine wines. Having sworn off pesticides and herbicides, the two collaborated with ladybugs and red-tailed hawks that thrive by devouring crop-threatening pests.
Visitors to the Hamilton Oaks Winery are welcome to sample varietals such as chardonnay, zinfandel, and cabernet sauvignon during tastings at the historic farmhouse, which has been on the land since the 1920s. Those fields also contain an orchard and mission and malbec grapevines. The space holds up to 400 people, and it's sometimes available for weddings and other events.
31111 Hamilton Trail
Trabuco Canyon, California 92679Get Directions