Pointing in the Wine Direction
In downtown Ojai, a new airy, light-filled space provides a thoughtful backdrop for a collection of wine and beer at Point de Chêne. Sleeping on their sides in cedar boxes connected by metal beams, bottles of wine are displayed in a way that demands scrutiny—and it’s all for a reason.
There’s a good chance visitors aren’t familiar with the labels at Point de Chêne. Owner Bob Huey knows that. In fact, it’s the reason the Ojai resident started the business, an undertaking that seeks to shed light on lesser-known, family-owned vineyards. (As for the beer collection, it’s small but growing.)
“For me, the best wines come from small, family producers,” he says. “They’re keenly aware of their vineyards, where they’re sourcing their fruit from. Generally, they make terroir-driven wines.” So when Huey picks his products, he looks for wines that taste like they represent a particular place.
Take the 2016 Grüner Veltliner from Habit Wine Company, for example, which speaks volumes about the loamy, clay soil of Santa Ynez. Or the 2015 Chinon Beaumont from Catherine & Pierre Breton, which makes its Chinon wines from grapes grown in clay and limestone hillside soils.
The vintners at Catherine & Pierre Breton are also pioneers of biodynamic farming—in other words, minimally invasive agriculture, another value Huey holds dear—first infusing the practice into their viticulture in 1994.
“All of the wines here are either sustainably farmed, organically certified or biodynamic,” Huey says. “It’s not a requirement, but I find that those families who take those extra steps tend to spend a lot of time in the vineyards caring for the vines and making sure the vineyards are very healthy.”
Point de Chêne Wine & Beer
108B N. Signal St., Ojai