Tercero Wines – Small Production, Big Taste

Tercero Outlier and Grenache Blanc

We met and interviewed Larry Schaffer late this past summer at a tasting of Santa Barbara Vintners and not only liked what he had, we liked him.

But the problem with these kinds of situations is that you’re doing interviews on the fly, so you don’t get the chance to dig and really learn something about the winemaker – and Larry seems really interesting.

He’s worked on the finance and sales side in the music, toy and publishing industries. So naturally, Anne had to ask him what made him decide wine was his passion.

“I lost a bet,” he replied. “It was time to do something different. I had achieved all I wanted to do and I needed challenges in my life and I felt my mind wasn’t being used anymore and science scared me. So I decided to take it on.”

We still don’t know what that bet was. But Schaffer took an interesting route to get to winemaking – he left his career and went back to school at none other than University of California, Davis, which has the oldest and probably most prestigious winemaking program in the state, if not the country. Going back to school to a graduate program is scary enough, but Schaffer had an added challenge – that ol’ demon science.

“Science scared the crap out of my as an undergrad. I wanted nothing to do with it,” Schaffer said. But he found a way to get on top of it before actually getting to Davis. “I took all my general chem, organic chem at junior colleges in Orange County with kids who could have literally been my kids.”

And he said he aced it, too.

Schaffer only makes about 1500 cases of 13 different varieties of wine, and has a tasting room in Los Olivos, at 2445 Alamo Pintado Ave., Suite 104 (. He also shares one of our favorite philosophies – that the same wine can taste totally different depending on who’s drinking it and no person has a better “palate” than anyone else. How do we know? Check out Schaffer’s blog post, from his website www.tercerowines.com.

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