By Cambria Winery

The vineyards are where it all happens – and here at Cambria, ours are rather unique.

Located in the Pacific coast’s only transverse mountain range, the unique east-west orientation of the Santa Maria Valley and unobstructed access to coastal wind and fog creates one of coolest and longest growing seasons in the world. We’re just 15 miles from the Pacific Ocean! This cool air and fog helps create an ideal atmosphere for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.

Katherine’s Vineyard is planted in exceptionally well-draining soils that restrict vine vigor, forcing the vine to focus on fruit development. This vineyard produces world class Chardonnay.

Julia’s Vineyard was planted in 1991 in the heart of the Santa Maria bench. It produces excellent Pinot Noir.

Tepusquet Vineyard is located at the eastern-most portion of the Cambria estate on a downward slope that shelters the vines from wind. Our Tepusquet Syrah is made out of grapes from this vineyard.

Bench Break Vineyard sits on the highest point of the estate. The soils are the shallowest on the estate, restricting vine vigor and promoting fruit growth with smaller berries and more concentrated flavors. This vineyard produces Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.

Check out a map of the Cambria vineyards on our website.

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It’s a peaceful time of year around here – with the vines asleep for the season. Here’s a peek at what winter looks like in Santa Maria:

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Throughout the month of December, members of the Cambria Winery family are sharing their favorite holiday traditions here on the blog. For the last entry, we wanted to share our team’s tradition of gathering to celebrate another successful year:

Every year, the Cambria employees get together for a holiday party. This year we held it at a local restaurant, where we noshed on coconut beer shrimp and “cowboy cut” steak.

We also held a raffle, done Hunger Games style. Everyone got one raffle ticket for each year they’ve worked at the winery – some had more than 25 tickets! We started drawing the raffle prizes from lowest value (a $20 gift card) to highest value (a Kindle Fire). If your name got drawn, you could either take the prize, or stay in the running – but you could only win once! It was very entertaining.

This is where our 12 Days of Tradition comes to a close. We’d like to thank all of you for your continued support of Cambria Winery, and from our family to yours – we wish you the very best in 2013. Cheers!

More 12 Days of Tradition:
Day 1: Cookies, Cocoa and French Toast

Day 2: Griswold’s? Nope – the Mahoney’s!
Day 3: A Big Family Celebration
Day 4: Christmas from England
Day 5: Snow? Not for this Santa Barbara girl
Day 6: A Fuss-free holiday
Day 7: A very Disney Holiday
Day 8: Bake ’til you drop
Day 9: Character cut-outs spread Christmas cheer
Day 10: A special Christmas Eve treat
Day 11: A bountiful harvest

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Throughout the month of December, members of the Cambria Winery family are sharing their favorite holiday traditions here on the blog. Winemaker Denise Shurtleff always looks forward to sharing her winter garden bounty with friends and neighbors:

Well, it is that time of year when the wine grape harvest has just been completed at the winery and the second harvest has been started at home! We harvest multiple varieties of persimmons, apples, pomegranates, passion fruit, quince, feijoas, lemons, limes, and oranges all of which are grown organically. With an abundance of Fall produce from our small family farm, we are able to supply family and friends with edible gifts during the holidays.

Do you also look forward to your winter fruit crop? Please share your favorite traditions (or recipes!) below.

More 12 Days of Tradition:
Day 1: Cookies, Cocoa and French Toast

Day 2: Griswold’s? Nope – the Mahoney’s!
Day 3: A Big Family Celebration
Day 4: Christmas from England
Day 5: Snow? Not for this Santa Barbara girl
Day 6: A Fuss-free holiday
Day 7: A very Disney Holiday
Day 8: Bake ’til you drop
Day 9: Character cut-outs spread Christmas cheer
Day 10: A special Christmas Eve treat

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Photo courtesy of Waltzing Matilda.

Throughout the month of December, members of the Cambria Winery family are sharing their favorite holiday traditions here on the blog. For Assistant Winemaker Dave Frazier, it’s not Christmas Eve without one special yuletide treat. Here’s more from Dave:

One of my family traditions is to have Bûche de Noël for dessert on Christmas Eve. This is essentially a cake shaped and decorated to look like a log. It usually has decorative mushrooms (made of icing of course) growing out of it. This is a typical French dessert which caught on in that country when the traditional “Yule Log” fell out of fashion.

Well we know what Dave will be eating tonight! Does your family have any special holiday food traditions? Please share below.

More 12 Days of Tradition:
Day 1: Cookies, Cocoa and French Toast

Day 2: Griswold’s? Nope – the Mahoney’s!
Day 3: A Big Family Celebration
Day 4: Christmas from England
Day 5: Snow? Not for this Santa Barbara girl
Day 6: A Fuss-free holiday
Day 7: A very Disney Holiday
Day 8: Bake ’til you drop
Day 9: Character cut-outs spread Christmas cheer

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Throughout the month of December, members of the Cambria Winery family are sharing their favorite holiday traditions here on the blog. Human Resources Business Partner Arthur Montelongo starts his decorating early – for Halloween! Here’s more from Arthur:

The Montelongo Family tradition of recreating popular movie icons and putting them on display goes for both Halloween and Christmas. The past couple of years, I’ve been busy constructing characters from the popular Nightmare before Christmas film. I’ve also built giant replicas of Oogie Boogie, Jack Skellington, and a 4-foot Zero dog that floats in the front yard and has a light-up nose. I’m on the hunt for a thrift store manikin so I can build a Sally for Jack next year.

People from the neighborhood try to sneak into our yard and take pictures all the time, especially on their night walks. Some have confessed to using them as their Christmas postcards which always puts a smile on our faces.

How far do you go with holiday decorations? Please share your favorite traditions below.

More 12 Days of Tradition:
Day 1: Cookies, Cocoa and French Toast

Day 2: Griswold’s? Nope – the Mahoney’s!
Day 3: A Big Family Celebration
Day 4: Christmas from England
Day 5: Snow? Not for this Santa Barbara girl
Day 6: A Fuss-free holiday
Day 7: A very Disney Holiday
Day 8: Bake ’til you drop

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Throughout the month of December, members of the Cambria Winery family are sharing their favorite holiday traditions here on the blog. Lab Analyst Samantha Aguilar likes to celebrate by baking cookies and drinking “snugglers.” Here’s more from Samantha:

This time of year usually finds me in a baking frenzy. With friends’ Christmas parties, gift baskets for far away loved ones, and cookie plates for all of our neighbors (which my husband good-naturedly delivers for me), I probably bake about 8-10 dozen or so cookies and muffins between the day after Thanksgiving and Christmas. I love to bake and am glad to give away the treats so I don’t have them lying around the house!

I always have to watch the movie Elf while drinking “snugglers” (hot cocoa with peppermint schnapps) to really put me in the Christmas mood. We go to Mass on Christmas Eve and watch the children’s play, followed by dinner at one of our fabulous local restaurants. That night we open a few gifts (no more than three!) before it’s off to bed. Christmas morning is spent with my family, where my mom puts on a lovely spread of breakfast food and COFFEE! My dad always wears his “Fruitcake” shirt, and I wear a big fluffy Santa Hat to pass out the gifts. Calls from out of town family and friends round out the day.

Do you go crazy for holiday baking, too? Please share your favorite traditions below.

More 12 Days of Tradition:
Day 1: Cookies, Cocoa and French Toast

Day 2: Griswold’s? Nope – the Mahoney’s!
Day 3: A Big Family Celebration
Day 4: Christmas from England
Day 5: Snow? Not for this Santa Barbara girl
Day 6: A Fuss-free holiday
Day 7: A very Disney Holiday

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Throughout the month of December, members of the Cambria Winery family are sharing their favorite holiday traditions here on the blog. Laboratory Supervisor Tara Machin always kicks off the season by paying a visit to Mickey and company at “the happiest place on earth:”

Every year I take my family for a weekend trip to Disneyland to celebrate the end to another successful grape harvest at Cambria Winery. I like to treat my family to lots of fun, food and quality family time since I sometimes don’t see them for days during harvest. It is my way of saying “thank you” to my family and to make up for lost time. It’s an added bonus that the theme park is all decorated for the holidays – such fun!

Do you take an annual trip during the holiday season? Please share your favorite traditions in the “comments” section below.

More 12 Days of Tradition:
Day 1: Cookies, Cocoa and French Toast

Day 2: Griswold’s? Nope – the Mahoney’s!
Day 3: A Big Family Celebration
Day 4: Christmas from England
Day 5: Snow? Not for this Santa Barbara girl
Day 6: A Fuss-free holiday

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Throughout the month of December, members of the Cambria Winery family are sharing their favorite holiday traditions here on the blog. Hospitality Coordinator Jan Zilli prefers a low-key holiday with family. No muss, no fuss!

Ever since my boys were past the “Santa” stage, we have started our Christmas celebration on Christmas Eve. We have our “Christmas Dinner” that night –sometimes the traditional ham, but sometimes delicious Santa Maria tri-tip from the grill, followed by a late church service.

On Christmas morning, we leisurely open our presents with coffee and Danish and maybe a Bloody Mary. We stay in our pjs and take our time, oohing and ahhing over each others’ gifts. Then we look forward to pulling out all the delicious leftovers and having Christmas dinner all over again – without all the fuss!

Do you prefer a low-key holiday, too? Please share your favorite traditions below.

More 12 Days of Tradition:
Day 1: Cookies, Cocoa and French Toast

Day 2: Griswold’s? Nope – the Mahoney’s!
Day 3: A Big Family Celebration
Day 4: Christmas from England
Day 5: Snow? Not for this Santa Barbara girl

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Throughout the month of December, members of the Cambria Winery family are sharing their favorite holiday traditions here on the blog. Direct to Consumer Marketing Manager Katy Westgaard shares some memories from holidays spent in warm Santa Barbara, and around the world.

Living in Santa Barbara my whole life, I have almost always had a warm holiday season. My family is full of hunters, fishers, and gatherers, so when most are eating soups and stews, we’re eating fresh caught lobster or fish! We often travel to Mexico in December, again surrounded by warm weather and a sea full of yummy catches.

In my family, December is also full of birthday parties. My sister’s birthday is on December 9th, mine is the 10th and my dad’s is the 28th. My poor mom has to start her holiday shopping way ahead of schedule! Last year, we had a big birthday bash to celebrate my sister’s 21st, my 25th and my dad’s 55th.

One holiday tradition we never miss is going out to a pub the day after Christmas to celebrate Boxing Day with an Irish brew. In June of 2009 we went to Dublin, Ireland where we got to drink Guinness at the actual factory. Can’t beat that!

Are you used to warm weather holidays, too – or is it always a “White Christmas?” Please share some of your favorite traditions below.

More 12 Days of Tradition:
Day 1: Cookies, Cocoa and French Toast

Day 2: Griswold’s? Nope – the Mahoney’s!
Day 3: A Big Family Celebration
Day 4: Christmas from England

Read More