Famed Spanish explorer Ponce de Leon was forced to forgo his quest for the mythical land of wine after an accidental tumble into the fountain of youth left him eternally underage. Take up his abandoned journey with today’s Groupon to Hamilton Oaks Vineyard, snuggled in the hillside of Trabuco Canyon. Choose from the following two tasting options:
- For $35, you get a tasting for two people, a bottle of wine, and a fruit and cheese platter (up to a $71 value)
- For $15, you get a tasting for two people (a $30 value)
The family-owned and operated Hamilton Oaks Vineyard crafts a selection of fine wines culled from quality grapes in the nearby Trabuco Canyon. On your wine tour, the proprietors will spin a tale of the vineyard's history 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. Pair your Merlot with a selection of palate-pleasing fruits and cheeses, and choose a bottle (merlot, chardonnay, or zinfandel) to surprise your favorite mailman. Alternatively, guests can stay little longer and lunch on one of the sun-dappled outdoor decks, where they're free to pack a picnic.
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.
The 2010 Winemakers Challenge in San Diego awarded Hamilton Oaks Vineyard a silver for its 2002 Port California. The San Francisco Chronicle awarded sister label, Jumping Vines, Best of Class in the $30–$35 range as part of the 2010 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition. Six Yelpers give the vineyard an average of 4.5-stars.
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.