Doug Minnick, left, and Scott Page-Pagter display their wines, Hoi Polloi Winery and Pagter Brothers Winery at the Double Trouble Wine Room in Newhall on Friday, December 14, 2018. Dan Watson/The Signal

It’s wine o’clock in the SCV

Enjoying a glass of wine is much more than a companion for a good meal.

The tradition that stretches back thousands of years can now be celebrated at a number of wine-tasting spots in the Santa Clarita Valley.

Some of the local tasting rooms even offer the same wine-sampling experience as a winery — a chance to meet the vintner, learn about the wine and, of course, taste the goods — without ever having to leave the SCV. 

Double Trouble Wine Room

Double Trouble Wine Room, which opened in May 2017, is unique in that it is a blend of two wineries, Hoi Polloi and Pagter Brothers Wines, coming together to join forces. 

“We like to say the two wineries are trouble and more trouble, so that’s where Double Trouble comes from,” said co-owner and winemaker Scott Page-Pagter, chuckling.

He and co-owner Doug Minnick, winemaker for Hoi Polloi, first met at the Garagiste Wine Festival, which is a meeting place for the underground, small production winemaker of which Minnick is also co-founder.

“We make our wines independently of each other, but we collaborate on this space,” Minnick added.

Double Trouble is a twist on the traditional winery tasting room that’s more like a wine bar as it’s open at night with indoor and outdoor seating, and live music most weekends, including a band that Page-Pagter and his wife are both in. 

Though the winery doesn’t have a kitchen, customers are welcome to bring food in and can get it from one of the many restaurants nearby, including Eighth & Rail, which has a partnership with Double Trouble so that Eighth & Rail customers can take their food and plates to the neighboring tasting room. There’s also food trucks on the weekends that frequently park right outside the wine room. 

“The Santa Clarita Valley is full of chain (stores), so one of the great things about Main Street is it’s not that — it’s all mom-and-pop stores,” Minnick said. 

Doug Minnick, left, and Scott Page-Pagter display their wines, Hoi Polloi Winery and Pagter Brothers Winery at the Double Trouble Wine Room in Newhall. Emily Alvarenga/The Signal

Minnick and Page-Pagter built the wine room from scratch and did all the work themselves to make it unique. 

“We just want it to be a comfortable place where people can hang out,” Minnick added. “It’s a fun place to be whether you’re working or drinking.” 

Both wineries produce their wines locally at Pulchella Winery’s production facility in Valencia. 

“By not having our own vineyards, we are free to source from the best vineyards in the state,” Minnick added. “We spend a lot of energy and care getting the best fruit we can.”

Both wineries also source their grapes from the central coast regions of California; Pagter Brothers Wines started making wine in Valencia in 2007, and Hoi Polloi started in 2010. 

Double Trouble is a great place for wine aficionados who want to learn more about wine, according to both Minnick and Page-Pagter. Both wineries have their own wine clubs — but they also offer a Double Trouble club.

“We’re trying to give people the experience of being in two clubs without having to pay for two full clubs, so people get to enjoy both clubs and don’t have to choose,” Page-Pagter said.

Double Trouble Wine Room is located at 24338 Main St., in Newhall. For more information, call 661-476-5627 or visit doubletroublewineroom.com.

Sommelier Laura Raden pours a carafe of wine at Newhall Press Room Monday. Emily Alvarenga/The Signal

Newhall Press Room

Newhall Press Room, which has been open since October 2017, is known for its extensive wine list, offering more than 100 wines on the menu with an inventory of more than 1,000 bottles. 

“We’re not like a typical wine bar that’s just about tasting wine,” co-owner Charles Potter said. “From the start, we knew we wanted to have really good food to be paired with the wine. “Wine was originally meant to be enjoyed with food, hence why we wanted to have different food options.” 

Newhall Press has a full kitchen, and serves not only cheese and charcuterie boards, but also pastas, salads and flatbreads, all of which are made from scratch. 

In terms of wine, they focus on different varietals from different countries, and are constantly hand-picking new wines for the menu to keep it fresh. 

“There are so many really good wines, so we are on the constant search for wines that are good examples of that particular region or varietal,” Potter said. 

In addition to live music and special events, Newhall Press offers a wine education class twice a month taught by one of seven sommeliers on staff. 

“The idea is to really expand people’s knowledge of wine, but also give them an opportunity to taste wine they haven’t before,” Potter said. 

The class gives participants blind wine tastings from various regions and varietals, so they can learn how to pick out different flavor profiles and understand what makes each varietal or region unique. 

They also recently received an Award of Excellence for featuring “a well-chosen assortment of quality producers along with a thematic match to the menu in both price and style,” according to a news release by Wine Spectator.

“We are the first restaurant in Santa Clarita to be recognized by Wine Spectator for the work we’re doing with wine, which we’re really excited about,” Potter said.

Newhall Press offers a loyalty program with an app and is getting ready to launch a wine club, as well. 

Newhall Press Room is located at 24257 Main St., in Newhall. For more information, call 661-753-3454 or visit newhallpressroom.com.

The Newhall Press Room has a full kitchen and makes all of their dishes from scratch. Emily Alvarenga/The Signal

Pulchella Winery

Pulchella Winery was started in Paso Robles in 2006 by Newhall residents Steve Lemley and Nate Hasper.

The pair continued to source their grapes from Paso Robles, and it in 2010, they opened their tasting room in Newhall.

“We quickly realized to do our own thing we needed to move the facility down here, and it started off fairly small,” Lemley said. 

When opening their location on Main Street in Newhall, Lemley said it was a “ghost town” on weekends, yet they knew the city’s plans to revive the area and decided to take a chance. 

“Since then, there’s probably 10 to 12 more wine locations that have come to the area,” Lemley added.

In 2012, they then opened SCV’s first “crush facility” in Valencia, which allowed them to begin producing their wine locally. 

“There’s a huge wine presence in Santa Clarita, they’re very passionate about it, and we just wanted to live our dream and start producing our wine here,” Lemley said.

Now, Pulchella is consulting with winemakers and producing wine for more than 20 wineries at the facility, while their winery is kept small as it’s “purely a passion thing,” Lemley added. 

The recently remodeled tasting room has a comfortable and relaxed atmosphere with a heated patio, and customers are welcome to bring food in or order from nearby restaurants. 

They’ve got a variety of hand-crafted wines from each vintage they’ve produced over the years, several of which have been awarded top scores from Wine Enthusiast. 

Pulchella also offers various events throughout the year, including wine education classes, blind tastings, food and wine pairings and blending parties. 

Most of the wine produced goes to their wine club members, or the “Cult” as they like to call it, which gives members exclusive benefits including complimentary tastings, pick up parties and more. 

Pulchella Winery is located at 24261 Main St., in Newhall. For more information, call 661-799-9463 or visit pulchellawinery.com.

Wine 661 in Valencia offers more than 125 different bottled wines from different wineries. Courtesy of Tanya Green

Wine 661

Tanya Green opened Wine 661 in August 2008 after deciding she wanted to transition away from the television business.

“Wine for me was a hobby — I was obsessed with wine, but didn’t know how to go about it,” she said. “But it was kismet; everything just fell into place very easily, which means that’s what you’re supposed to do, I think. It’s the hardest thing, but most rewarding thing I’ve ever done.” 

Wine 661 offers more than 125 different bottled wines from different wineries across the world and about 25 wines by the glass, which rotate frequently. 

“In this area, people primarily ask for California wines, so I’d say that I’m California wine-heavy because that’s what people want the most, but I try to cover all the countries,” Green said.

Most of the wines by the glass have at least two of each varietal to “satisfy everybody’s taste.” 

“I also have some funny varietals that people aren’t necessarily aware of, but I do that to educate people on something they have never heard of,” she added.

Most of the wines offered are 90 points or higher, which means that the majority have gotten an A rating. 

“There’s also a cool happy hour menu, so people can get really nice wines for almost half sometimes,” Green said, adding that happy hour lasts all day on Sundays and until 6 p.m. on most other days.

In addition, Wine 661 offers a limited menu of primarily flatbreads and charcuterie boards, as well as a mini wine store to buy wine by the bottle.

“The music is probably the coolest thing people don’t know about Wine 661,” she added. “We have all these killer famous musicians play because they like to play here.” 

Live music is played Friday and Saturdays starting at 8 p.m., including performances by the bassist from Neil Diamond every Friday night accompanied by a different celebrity musician friend each week. 

Wine 661 is located at 24268 Valencia Blvd., in Valencia. For more information, call 661-288-2980 or visit wine661.com.

Reyes Winery

Reyes Winery, the 16-acre vineyard in Agua Dulce, has broken ground on a new rooftop tasting room, expected to open by the summer of next year. 

The three-story property is expected to be a mixed-use building, with the first floor becoming a restaurant and third becoming the tasting room, according to owner Robert Reyes.

“We will pretty much be offering the same wines that we have now on our menu and have produced over the years at the winery,” Reyes said. “In addition to that, we will be offering other products that are now in the research and development process.”

Though still in the very early planning stages, Reyes said the restaurant space is still up for grabs, and whatever that restaurant may be, will also be serving some food items, such as hors d’oeuvres and tapas, to the tasting room. 

“A lot of people don’t know that some of us exist, so it’s exciting to be a part of the growing community that is Old Town Newhall,” Reyes added. 

Reyes Winery’s new tasting room will be located at 24329 Main St., in Newhall. For more information, call 661-268-1865 or visit reyeswinery.com.

Wine 661 in Valencia offers more than 125 different bottled wines from different wineries. Courtesy of Tanya Green

Lee’s Wine Bistro

Lee’s Wine Bistro, which was opened in 2008, is a place where friends and wine come together, according to owner Yoon Lee. 

Lee’s Wine is a wine bar with a limited menu, including cheese plates and salads, on weekdays, with the addition of paninis, tacos, pasta and other hot dishes served on Fridays and Saturdays.

The bar has a constantly changing wine list from current wines to a 1911 vintage, ranging from $25 to $10,000 per bottle.  

Lee, who has been in the wine business since 1994, said he picks the wine himself. 

“We have about 30 to 50 wines by the glass and 5 to 10 cases,” he added. “We try to have every kind of wine, so people can try different kinds of wine from different countries, and they can try wine before they buy a whole bottle.” 

Lee’s Wine staff are well-versed in wine, so they can tell you all about the wine they offer and help you choose the best varietal for you. 

Lee’s Wine Bistro is located at 24510 Town Center Drive, Suite 110, in Valencia. For more information, call 661-259-7754 or visit facebook.com/leeswine.

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