We had the good fortune of connecting with Patrick Kelley and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Patrick, Let’s talk about principles and values – what matters to you most?
Authenticity is about being honest in what you do and why you do it. As a winery we are focused on producing world-class wines from our local region. We make classically styled wines that are farmed by real people, right here in our community. That principle means that we often have to take the hard path of doing all the work ourselves from taking over struggling vineyards, to harvesting with our teams by hand. It would be a lot easier to simply order fruit to be delivered from vineyards in other places, but that means that we aren’t hiring college kids and helping them earn money to pay tuition. It means that a vineyard in the area doesn’t have a buyer for their fruit. It means that our customers don’t have their eyes opened to another locally sourced and sustainable product. It also means that we spend a lot of time educating our customers on what we do and why they should care.
What should our readers know about your business?
Cavaletti Vineyards was founded in 2016 to make wines of personality and place from local vineyards. Wineries take five years to break even, so it is a challenging business to start. It is doubly hard if you are making wine from a region that doesn’t have an established reputation. We started by first taking over farming a vineyard in order to produce the quality of fruit we needed. It was expensive and time-consuming but it ultimately paid off with producing grapes at the level we needed to earn our first 90 point score. That was an important recognition that demonstrated that great wines could be produced from this region. We began pouring the wines for restaurants and wine bars who were initially very resistant to the idea of local wines. We earned their business one bottle at a time. It was slow, but we sold out of the wine and repeated that for five straight vintages until we established our reputation for producing quality wines. We also partnered with other wineries in our area to spread the message.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Start off by having a late Saturday breakfast at the Cactus Patch in the historic section of Moorpark. Walk from there to the Cavaletti Vineyards tasting room for a five wine flight at noon. Drive out to Ojai for a long hike on Matillija Creek or tasting some other great wines at Topa Mountain, Majestic Oak, and Ojai Vineyards. Like pizza? Continue to Boccali’s Pizza in Ojai for the best pizza in Southern California served on red checkerboard tablecloths underneath ancient oak trees. You can also hit the Ojai Beverage Company for the best kept secret in gastropub food. Continue your drive back to Moorpark through the mountains past citrus groves, avocodo orchards, and vegetable farms. End at Carrarra’s Pastries for dessert of their Italian pastries and their artisan gelato.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Mark Blatty – Byron Blatty Wines Jasper Dickson and Amy Luftig-Viste – Angeleno Wine Company
Ben Sposato – Acri Wine Company
Lee and Helen Williams – Golden Star
Kristen Fione – Adorato Wines
Amanda Greenbaum – AJA Vineyard