In May 2015, just a few weeks into our trip around and around the country, we found ourselves in the Santa Ynez Valley, on a hot tip from Belen and Sharon, two new friends we’d just made while hosting dinners in Phoenix.
In the teeny, charming town of Los Olivos, we popped into the “world’s smallest tasting room” at Carhartt Vineyards, and tasted some very tasty wines courtesy of Joe Ramos, Carhartt’s Wine Club Manager. We chatted about PlaceInvaders and Carhartt with Joe in their adorable backyard, upon the kind of repurposed wine barrel furniture that reminds you that repurposed wine barrel furniture can actually be stylish.
Joe liked that we were looking for a long-term partner, vs a one-time booze handout. We liked Joe and we really liked Joe’s wines. We decided to find a way to incorporate them into our upcoming series of Los Angeles events.
A simple email to the Carhartt Wine Club members immediately sold out one brunch, and overflowed to about half the seats at that night’s dinner. Evidently, we’d struck a chord.
Our first invasion with Carhartt was a hit, and we went on to bring them on board for our second LA invasion in September. We were charmed by their gracious equanimity when our kitchen was nearly -- well, actually -- yanked out from under us (another story, one best shared over several stiff cocktails). Winemaker, Chase Carhartt (pictured above), joined Joe this time for the trip, with several cases in tow. Twelve total cases were hauled off that day by guests who loved the rich Mourvedre and well-balanced Cab Franc (Katie’s favorite). A raging success all around, for our guests, the Carhartts, the LAFD, and even the Hondurans down the street.