Get the Dirt about Bevela Wines from winemaker/owner Marisa Beverly

4 Feb

bevelapeople1. What was your first vintage year? 2010

2. How many cases do you make per vintage? In 2010 we produced just 24 cases, one barrel worth. In 2011 our case production doubled to 48 cases. In 2012 our case production increased to 84 cases. 2013 we started making Syrah as well as Teroldego, and our total case production went up to 324 cases. In 2014 it increased again to 348 cases. And last year we made 384 cases.

3. Do you have a Tasting Room? No, we do not have a tasting room. But we have an allocation list, and whoever is on the list can make an appointment.

4. Who is your winemaker? My husband Kris and I are the owners and winemakers.

5. How did you get your start in the winemaking business? I (Marisa) knew at 15 years old that I wanted to be a winemaker. With the guidance and knowledge my uncle, Jim Clendenen of Au Bon Climat provided, I was able to make my first vintage by the time I was 25. I’ve also been working at Au Bon Climat, Qupé and Verdad since 2008 and was promoted to Assistant Winemaker in July 2015. Kris and I both worked at Tastes of the Valleys wine bar in Solvang (though at different times before we were married) and he is currently working at Wandering Dog wine bar. Having a full grasp of both the production and retail sides of the wine industry makes us a great team.

6. What wine made you want to become a winemaker/start your own winery? There wasn’t a specific bottle of wine that made us want to start our own winery, per se. But it was a bottle of ’98 Buena Vista that got Kris into wine. And for myself, I place full blame on Jim Clendenen and Bob Lindquist for planting the “wine bug” seed in my brain at a young age.



7. What grape varieties do you work with? Currently we are working with Syrah and Teroldego. But we are hoping to expand and work with more varieties in the Central Coast.

8. What vineyards do you source from? Why? We source our Syrah from the Tierra Alta Vineyard in Ballard Canyon. This mixed climate AVA, which is known for producing amazing Syrah, gives us the option to really express that site through each vintage. We also have a small lot from the cool climate Presqu’ile Vineyard in Santa Maria Valley. The Teroldego was planted in 2007 for Marisa by Jim Clendenen at his estate vineyard Le Bon Climat, located in the Santa Maria Valley.

9. What type of oak treatment do you use? Why? With my 7+ years of working for Au Bon Climat and Qupé, I learned the importance of good barrels. Because of this background, we only use François Freres barrels. The majority of our barrels are puncheons, 500L. We use this size barrel for both the Syrah and Teroldego, and they range from new wood to neutral.

10. What do you love about your winemaking region?  The Central Coast of California is a special place. It has a perfect climate for growing many different grape varieties. Not being restricted to only Pinot Noir and Chardonnay (which we both want to make someday), allows for creativity and expression of its mesoclimate. We love the variety and complexity that comes from this area.

bevelabottle11. What’s the story behind your name/label? Bevela wines is a combination of our last names Beverly and Matela. Under our brand, you will find fanciful names that we use to represent specific varieties or styles of wine.

12. What’s the one thing you wish someone had told you about the wine business before you started your own winery? Drinking wine can be a very romantic experience, making wine is not. Unless you find body odor, sticky juice and bee stings romantic!

13. Most importantly, what’s so great about being small? What can you do as a small winemaker, that wouldn’t be possible for larger wineries? Being a boutique winery provides the consumer a direct connection to the winemaker and to the vineyard. The majority of Garagiste winemakers are being represented by the person that did the majority of physical labor, in order to bring you this beautiful piece of art in a glass.

14. How do you view the future in the wine industry for small-lot winemakers? I see a group of people connecting and supporting each other through the passion projects we have. Small-lot wineries are normally people that have to work another job in order to fund their passion. That makes us all a very busy group of people.

15 Have you noticed any changes in the market for small-production wineries? We are just entering the market, so that’s a great new change!

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