Chamber award tops off good year for Pamo Valley Winery

Jennifer Jenkin, owner of Pamo Valley Winery, shows her Ramona Business of the Year award for 2012, presented by the Ramona Chamber of Commerce, and certificates of recognition from State Senator Joel Anderson.  Sentinel photo/Karen Brainard
Jennifer Jenkin, owner of Pamo Valley Winery, shows her Ramona Business of the Year award for 2012, presented by the Ramona Chamber of Commerce, and certificates of recognition from State Senator Joel Anderson. Sentinel photo/Karen Brainard

By Karen Brainard

After receiving the Ramona Business of the Year award, Pamo Valley Winery owner Jennifer Jenkin noted that 2012 was a good year for her winery.

In addition to the award, presented at the Jan. 13 Ramona Chamber of Commerce Installation and Awards Banquet, Pamo Valley Winery was voted Best Wine in the

Ramona Sentinel’s

Best Of Ramona readers’ poll, was voted best wine-tasting spot in the Patch.com readers’ poll, and her tasting room achieved a five-star rating on Yelp.com.

Jenkin said the chamber acknowledgement was a surprise and a bit overwhelming.

“I do a lot of donations, community events, and fundraisers,” she said. “It was nice to be recognized. It’s good for our business. It’s good for the wine industry.”

It is an industry where business owners support each other, said Jenkin.

“The information sharing is just incredible for this industry. The more of us there are, the better we’ll be,” she said.

Jenkin has the only tasting room in downtown Ramona, at 603 Main St., and said it is a central hub. Often those embarking on a wine tasting venture stop at her cozy tasting room first to sample her wines. Jenkin then directs them to other wineries in Ramona valley.

Customers say they appreciate the warm, friendly atmosphere of her tasting room and the fact that Jenkin is often behind the counter, pouring the wine, visiting, and sharing her expertise. Wine barrel furniture, white lights illuminating beneath a glass countertop, and a blackboard with colored chalk listing available wines contribute to the tasting room’s appeal.

As a visitor from Honolulu said on Yelp.com, “Pamo Valley Winery will charm you from the moment you walk in the door.”

Jenkin’s tasting room is also a popular gathering place for residents. She is open during the winter months from 2 to 6 p.m. Mondays and Fridays and from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays.

photo
Pamo Valley Winery owner Jennifer Jenkin pours a glass of wine for Denise Newman in her tasting room on a recent Friday evening. Sentinel photo/Karen Brainard

“I like it here. It’s nice and quiet and comfortable,” said Ramonan Rita Mireles as she sipped her favorite—Pamo Valley’s 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon—on a recent Friday with her sister, Ruby Delgado of Riverside. Mireles said she meets a lot of people and has become familiar with Ramona business owners during her visits to the tasting room.

Many of those business owners post their cards on a wall in Jenkin’s establishment. Ted Snoddy, owner of Old Julian Photography Gallery, looked for his business cards on the wall after introducing himself. He had stopped in on his way home from Vista.

“I stop by because it’s the place to come to,” Snoddy said. “It’s not just wine tasting, it’s the social setting. Jen is the ultimate of social hosts.”

During the holidays, Jenkin hosted a party for her wine club members, attracting about 90 people. Membership in her wine club is free; members commit to purchasing two bottles every three months. Benefits include discounts on wine, by glass or by bottle, advance purchase of new releases, and discounts on merchandise in her adjacent gift shop. The small shop sells wine-themed items, including T-shirts, hats, jewelry, aerators, electric corkscrews, stationery, magnets, bottle stoppers, and wine glasses.

Jenkin also offers her tasting room for private parties—Ramona Trails Association held its Christmas party there—and she has hosted fundraisers, such as the one held in 2011 for Liam Houck, the Ramona toddler who needed a kidney transplant. She has also supported various causes by donating gift certificates for silent auctions.

The tasting room has free Wi-Fi, and once a month Jenkin partners with Stallion Cigar Club for a cigar and wine pairing on her outdoor patio.

Jenkin opened her tasting room on June 10, 2011. She started making wine commercially in 2004, and since then has moved and expanded her business, which now includes family members. Jenkin has two vineyards on Black Canyon Road, with nearly four acres of grapes. In 2012, she doubled her wine production, generating 700 cases, or 8,400 bottles. But she’s not stopping there.

“The plan is to double our production every year until 2015 and be where we want to be as far as running a business that can support a family. We want to get around 3,000 cases of wine,” said Jenkin.

Her wines have included Tempranillo “Two,” Grenache, Petite Sirah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Zinfandel, and a Viognier and Orange Muscat blend. Among releases this year will be a 2011 Sangiovese, 2012 Sauvignon Blanc, 2012 Chardonnay, and her first port. Many of her wines have won awards.

Pamo Valley’s wine list changes frequently, Jenkin said, “because we make small batches, we run out, we bring in something new that’s ready.”

More about Pamo Valley Winery is at pamovalleywinery.com.

   
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