Back Patio Cellars
The word “winery” can evoke images of oak barrels stacked against jewel-toned vineyards across sweeping vistas. But there are other, more hidden gems to be discovered in the most unlikely of places.
Disguised inside a Camarillo business park at 930 Flynn Road, Unit F, is Back Patio Cellars, where everyone can find terrific wine, not hype. Inside their tasting room is a meaningful array of wines to try. Comfortable furniture invites visitors to lean back, relax, sip, and really taste the wine – between spirited games of checkers, of course.
“Many customers visiting the winery leave as friends,” said Jen Hules, who along with her husband, Frank, owns Back Patio Cellars.
“Wine started as a hobby, but it really became my passion,” said Frank Hules. Years ago, Frank’s foray into wine began as a curious learner, college student, and then winery intern, roles in which he gained valuable knowledge in both vineyards and cellars. Finding just the right grapes was crucial.
“We traveled and tasted wines from all over the place,” said Frank of countless wine region visits together with his wife, Jen. “Stained Patio,” their Petite Sirah and Cabernet blend, is commemorates of their early days of de-stemming and crushing grapes by hand – all on their back patio.
Crafted in small batches, their wines can go fast. Back Patio sources only premium grapes from key sub-regions, including Lodi, Alexander Valley in Sonoma County, Paso Robles, Santa Rita Hills and Santa Maria in Santa Barbara County.
“Jen works the tasting room and I work in the back,” said Frank, who wisely maintains an uncomplicated approach to winemaking. “Our Patio Red is versatile, very popular and just a great wine that goes with everything,” said Frank.
Back Patio’s Rhône-style trio of Syrah, Grenache and Mourvèdre wines is a blend that makes a sure-fire pleaser for gift-giving. And the price point is right, too, well below $30.
Frank is especially fond of his 2014 Merlot, a spicy and fruit-forward vintage, and his sublime 2014 Idyllic red blend. Towards the end of the year, Frank and Jen will release their 2014 Petite Sirah, perfectly timed for the holidays.
One wine to anticipate in the warmer months is their Paw Prints Rosé, which always goes fast. “I was actually inspired by a winery in Paso Robles to make that one,” admitted Frank. “Everyone loved it – at least until there wasn’t anything left!”
Back Patio Cellars is open Friday (4 to 7 p.m.), Saturday (11 a.m. to 5p.m.), and Sunday (11 a.m. to 5 p.m.). Appointments requested for groups of eight or more.