UCSD alumni’s wine pays homage to La Jolla beach community
Taste WindanSea wines:5:30 p.m. May 12 at the Community Center, 6811 La Jolla Blvd.
Where to buy WindanSea wines:The Liquor Box, 6980 La Jolla Blvd. or
Great White:A white wine blend featuring Sauvignon Blanc, Muscat Canelli and Viognier grapes; pairs well with seafood or can be enjoyed on its own. (150 cases produced)
Sunset Red:A blend of Zinfandel, Syrah and Grenache grapes; pairs well with pasta, pizza and barbeques. (56 cases produced)
Cabernet Sauvignon:Barrel aged for 24 months, the wine’s ripe, dark fruit integrates a toasty, spicy oak flavor; pairs well with grilled meats. (75 cases produced)
By Pat ShermanFormer UC San Diego students Steve Haskins and Bob Fuller have paired up to produce three wines bearing the name and spirit of La Jolla’s famed beach community, WindanSea.
The moderately priced wines, which include a 2011 Great White, 2009 Sunset Red, and a 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon, are produced at Starr Ranch in Paso Robles, where the duo also produces its line of Deodoro wines.
Haskins, a La Jolla attorney and real estate broker who ran an auto repair and restoration business with Fuller during their days at UCSD, hadn’t seen Fuller for 20 years, until a chance encounter in San Luis Obispo eight years ago.
“He told me he was the winemaker at some old winery up there,” said Haskins, a La Jolla Town Council trustee. “I said I always wanted to get into winemaking.”
Those discussions led to a business partnership and the founding of Deodoro Cellars, which currently offers a Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and three other blends.
“We’ve built it up and now we have a large reserve of wine aging in barrels,” Haskins said. “Because we both went to school in La Jolla and I grew up in La Jolla, we wanted to get a name on one of our wines that La Jollans and people in San Diego would recognize.”
The process isn’t as easy as coming up with a catchy name. Haskins said the federal government must first approve the name and aesthetics of the label. The government previously rejected the name “Antidote” for one of their wines.
Fuller said he and Haskins also toyed with the name “Black’s Beach Sunburn Red,” though the duo decided it was “too edgy.”
Following his time as an engineering student at UCSD, Fuller went on to become a tour guide, specializing in Mexico, Alaska and Canada.
Eventually, his travels took him to New Zealand, where he fell in love with its Sauvignon Blanc, and to Australia, where he fell in love with its Shiraz.
“It was quite an eye-opener,” he said. “I had never tasted wines like those before. I decided to go back to school to study viticulture (grape growing) and oenology (winemaking) and get off the road.”
After studying the art of winemaking at Lincoln University in New Zealand, Fuller eventually made his way back to California, establishing himself as a winemaker at Starr Ranch in Paso Robles.
Though he never lived in WindanSea himself, Fuller said he dated a girl who lived there during his time at UCSD, with whom he is still in touch and pays some homage to with WindanSea wines.
“Our aim with WindanSea wines is to provide refreshment, pleasure and inspiration to the community in return for having received the same in our youth,” he said.
Haskins said he had no prior wine-making experience and wasn’t much of a wine aficionado before running into his old pal again.
Today, Haskins makes regular trips to Paso Robles and is fully involved in wine-making procedures.
“It’s a whole process of timing, waiting, chemistry, weather, temperature, and … being ready to press the grapes and then blend the wine and get it in the barrel,” he said. “Then, it’s a waiting game.
Red wines must be at least one year in the barrel before you can bottle them.
“It’s something to get you out of the office, right?”