In every bottle of wine there is a story to be told. The wonderful fermented beverage inside every hand crafted bottle tells the story of a time, a place, a winemaker and the dirt that nourishes the vines. I can tell you from experience, every bottle of Story of Soil wine brings clarity to this age old story.
I recently had the chance to speak with Winemaker Jessica Gasca and her husband Brady about their aptly named project. Jessica and Brady, own and operate Story of Soil Wines and they have a tasting room in Los Olivos, California. Los Olivos is a popular hub for winery tasting rooms about two and a half hours north of Los Angeles. When I spoke with Jessica about her process, philosophy and passion, her dedication to telling a story through her wine was evident. Not only does Jessica make elegant, clean, balanced and delicious wines, but a primary focus of hers is being a good steward of the land. Jessica is passionate about leaving things better than she found them for future generations, as well as being a good representative for the Central Coast wine growing region of California. During our conversation, Jessica expressed the importance of playing the long game as it pertains to treatment of the land and her desire to express the unique qualities of each vineyard site through her wines. Jessica passionately approaches her process and craft with humility and gratitude. This is apparent by the mantra on the back label of every bottle of wine which states, "Wine Made in Gratitude."
Jessica and Brady are not afraid of the grind! On any given day, you’ll find them working the tasting room with their employees and sharing their passion with visitors. Jessica loves to be a part of every process in wine making, including the harvest. It is becoming a rarity to find very successful winemakers harvesting grapes in the vineyard along side the vineyard workers during the harvest, but Jessica refuses to miss an opportunity to be one with the entire process.
Let’s not forget Jessica the Philanthropist! Jessica helps run the Santa Barbara Vintners Foundation (S.B.V.F.), which is a Non-Profit 501(C)(3). The S.B.V.F. helps bring healthcare to wine industry workers as well as underserved communities worldwide. During the COVID-19 Pandemic, Jessica and the S.B.V.F. were able to vaccinate over 200 wine industry workers in Santa Barbara County. Jessica arranged for a mobile vaccine clinic to show up in the vineyards in order to vaccinate the workers. Combine hard work, desire, sustainable vineyard practices, minimal intervention wine making, philanthropy and motherhood and you get a true story of the soil…and Superwoman.
I personally enjoy all of their wines, however here are my top three for 2021 in no particular order: