Winemaker Phil Gregory explores new methods to produce his line of high quality wines. Grapes are cultivated organically without the use of pesticides or artificial fertilizers. Phil and his wife Eileen also operate a boutique Mediterranean style bed and breakfast onsite. The luxurious six room villa is complete with a pool, lush gardens and expansive views of the valley. Phil and Eileen go the extra mile to make sure that guests enjoy an incredible experience at their special boutique getaway in the Valle.
The winery itself is a crazy assemblage of reclaimed materials. Architects Alejandro D’Acosta and Claudia Turrent used recycled boats to construct the sleek, modern Vena Cava tasting room that blends into the environment because it replicates the shapes and colors of the landscape.
Learn more about Vena Cava wines in the following interview with Phil.
JP: What are your top three wines and why?
PG: I don’t think I have a favorite one. I enjoy drinking my own or my friend’s wines of course, but every time I try a new one there are more and more options available here around the Valley. I like so many that I can’t name a favorite. I’m just open and happy to try different projects and wines all the time.
JP: What blends is Vena Cava known for?
PG: I have an unusual blend that I’ve been making since I graduated from ” La Escuelita.” It is my Big Blend which started as an experiment combining very different grapes. It became a signature wine and I keep making it every year with around the same proportions of the original blend. It’s a combination of 5 different grapes: 25 % Syrah, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon, 19% Petite Syrah, 17% Zinfandel and 14% Grenache.
My Sparkling wine, the Extra Brut Rosé, is a unique blend of Barbera, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc and Viognier.
JP: Please describe the personality of your winery.
PG: It’s a place where I like to let the wine make itself. I look after it carefully but I believe that wine has a story to tell and I try to let it do that. I try to obtain the bright fruity flavors of the new world vineyards with the elegance of the old world wines. The name of my winery, Vena Cava is that of the main vein that pumps blood into the heart because I feel that wine is the life blood of Valle de Guadalupe.
JP: What makes your wines unique and special?
PG: My fermentations are in small batches, each one of which might produce a slightly different flavour. Some fermentations are natural; others involve specific wine-making yeasts. Some of the grapes I use are from my own vineyards, others from neighbouring vineyards and valleys: different clones of various ages in different soils with different water and climate; all producing slightly different flavours. I have eleven brands of barrels: 80% French, 20% US oak, also producing subtly different flavours. I am able to choose which barrels to blend together to produce the complex wine I’m looking for.
JP: What do you like most about living and working in the Valle?
PG: The people.
JP: Is there anything that you would like to add?
PG: I enjoy being able to experiment with natural wines, amber wines and pretty much any other kind I want to make. There are many grape varietals to choose from in this part of the world and I enjoy the freedom to use them as I wish.