The work of my entire adult life has been in the business of wine. I began my lifelong career in wine starting with cellar work at Long Island wineries when I turned 21. I created a college internship with Hargrave Wine Cellars (the first winery on Long Island) in Cutchogue, NY followed by working at Scuttlehole Vineyard, which is now Channing Daughters Winery. I moved on to working in fine wine retail shops and restaurants, then sales with wine distributers and importers and then winery direct sales. It’s been a great journey.
I started Verdad Wine Cellars in 2000. My goal has always been to make pure, balanced wines from the great vineyards of the Central Coast of California. My focus is on the cool, coastal vineyard sites of California’s Central Coast. I also love and am inspired by the wines of Spain. Living in California with it’s Spanish/Mexican heritage was my inspiration to make wine from Spanish wine grapes. In 2014, I started to work with Cabernet Sauvignon after a client requested a Cabernet Sauvignon based wine. That led me to try my hand at making Cabernet for Verdad, as it’s an incredible grape and its wines are some of the most age-worthy wines of the world.
In addition to Verdad Wine Cellars, my husband Bob and I collaborate together and make a lovely Demeter Certified Pinot Noir and a balanced coastal Chardonnay under the Sawyer Lindquist label.
I hope you will visit us at our shop in Arroyo Grande, California or buy some of our outstanding wines right here on our website. Cheers!
I love drinking balanced wines that capture the flavors of the soils and sites from the vineyards where they are grown. We are fortunate to make wine on California’s Central Coast and make wine from vineyards in Edna Valley and Santa Maria Valley . These sites have a direct moderating Pacific influence and soils that contain sandstone, limestone, marine fossils, slate as well as underlying volcanic soils and give the wines incredible complexity. These coastal valleys have the longest growing seasons in the world. During the long, cool springs and summers the grapes develop slowly while retaining great structure and acidity.
In addition up the road from the coast and inland I source Cabernet from Paso Robles. The vineyards offer steep hillsides and limestone and marine fossil rich soils that able to grow stellar Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot along with many other varieties. Los Alamos Canyon (Martian Vineyard) and Santa Ynez Valley (Ibarra-Young Vineyard) are exceptional AVA’s that combine both coastal and continental influences.
I love biodynamic farming. These principles and practice of BD farming helps create balanced growing systems and adds organic life to the soil and sites. I do my best to grow and source grapes that been farmed using these principles, as well as vineyards farmed organically as well as rigorous sustainable farming practices that retain the integrity of the land.
In addition to making Verdad, I am one of the winemakers on the wine making team at Vara, an exciting, visionary winery and distillery in Albuquerque, New Mexico producing outstanding New Mexican, Californian and Spanish wines and spirits.
I was born in the Midwest (Columbia, Missouri), and moved to Southern California in 1964 at age 11. This was a heady time in America, and it seemed like California was the place to be…The Beatles had just taken over, along with The Beach Boys, Byrds, Bob Dylan, Motown, and the British Invasion was a big deal, especially for what would become a touchstone band for me, The Kinks (more on that later!).
I’ve also been a long time baseball fan, and in 1965, the first baseball season after I moved to SoCal, the Los Angeles Dodgers won a World Championship. I became an instant and lifetime Dodger fan.
In 1974, and already a young father, I dropped out of college at UC Irvine to support my family. My first job was with a small advertising agency based in Orange County and one of our clients was a fine wine shop, called The Wine Shoppe. I did some work for them, and afterward, the proprietor offered to pay me in wine…I took him up on his offer. I liked wine, wines like Lancers, Mateus and Blue Nun, but this afforded me a chance to try wines out of my price range. That night, a bottle of Simi 1970 Cabernet Sauvignon became my “light bulb moment”, I couldn’t believe that wine could be that good! The following night, a bottle of Heitz 1968 Cabernet was just as revealing…and from that moment on, wine was what I wanted to do.
One of the best wine shops in America happens to be in Orange County, Hi Time Wine Cellars in Costa Mesa, and I became a regular. Hi Time had a very knowledgeable staff and I started picking their brains, buying wines and books on wine, and attending some of their tastings. And in 1975, at the age of 22, I decided to take the leap and find a job in the wine business.
My uncle Bud Granger lived in Hollister, CA, in fact he still does. I asked Uncle Bud if I could crash on his couch while I looked for a job and an apartment to rent. And in late September, during the 1975 Harvest, I landed a temporary Harvest job at Fortino Winery in the Hecker Pass region near Gilroy. I picked grapes, pumped over fermenters, shoveled out fermenters and did all the basic jobs associated with a rustic approach to winemaking.
After the Harvest, I landed a job with San Martin Winery in their Gilroy Tasting Room. San Martin was an established Santa Clara Valley winery that had a number of Tasting Rooms throughout California, and they made some pretty good wines. I quickly worked my way up to assistant manager and then was offered a managers position at a new Tasting Room in Camarillo, CA, (Ventura County) about 75 miles north of Los Angeles, and 40 miles south of Santa Barbara. In June 1976, I moved back to Southern California to start my next chapter.
Santa Barbara County in 1976 was just getting started as a new wine growing area that already showed tremendous promise. I spent many of my days off, exploring this new region, and getting to know some of the owners and winemakers of Santa Barbara. I also got involved with a terrific wine and food group in Ventura County called Wine Investigation for Novices and Oenophiles, or W.I.N.O., honing my skills at blind tasting.
Bob Lindquist, January 12, 2021
The San Martin Tasting Room in Camarillo didn’t work out, but through friends that I had met there, I got involved in an upstart, small wine distribution company called Wine Works. I worked in sales in the Central Coast territory, which included Ventura, Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo Counties. During this time, I fell in love with the Santa Ynez Valley, and the potential of this Central Coast wine area.
One of my accounts was a new wine shop in the town of Los Olivos (which was way ahead of its time) that was owned and run by John Ream, the son of the President and principal owner of Zaca Mesa Winery, Marshall Ream. John didn’t know a lot about wine, and was looking for a store manager…I jumped at the chance! And on January 1st, 1979, just short of my 26th birthday, and now a single father, I moved to Santa Ynez with my young son Ethan to work for John Ream.
As manager and buyer for Los Olivos Wine and Gifts, I got to know and become friends with the people who were making wine in Santa Barbara County and putting it on the map…Ken Brown, Jim Clendenen and Adam Tolmach at Zaca Mesa…Tony Austin and Alison Green at Firestone…Michael Benedict and Richard Sanford at Sanford & Benedict…Fred Brander and Bill Davidge at Santa Ynez Valley Winery and Fred’s own Brander Vineyard to name a few.
My friendship with Jim Clendenen, the assistant winemaker at Zaca Mesa, became my most important alliance. Jim and I are the same age, and in fact we’re born 13 days apart from each other in January 1953. This is where The Kinks come back into the picture…
On Sunday September 2nd, 1979, The Kinks were coming to the Santa Barbara Bowl. Jim and I planned to get tickets and go. Being in retail, I always had to work on the weekends, so a couple months in advance I asked John for that Sunday off and we put it on the calendar. The Friday before that weekend, I reminded John that I needed Sunday off because John would need to cover the store that day. John replied that it was the opening of dove hunting season, and he was going dove hunting! Bob replied that he was going to the Kinks concert, to which John then replied, that if the store didn’t open, I would be fired! John went dove hunting, I went to The Kinks, and on Monday morning John fired me.
Hearing about this, Jim interceded with Marshall Ream, John’s father. On Monday afternoon, Marshall called and offered me a job at Zaca Mesa as their first full time tour guide…fired by the son in the morning, hired by the father in the afternoon!
Zaca Mesa didn’t get many tourists back then, so most of my time was spent as a cellar rat, working directly for Jim in the Zaca Mesa cellar. Shortly after i was hired, the 1979 Harvest was under way and I got immersed in that, while taking the occasional break to show tourists around the winery…besides the brief stint at Fortino four years earlier, this was my first real hands on Harvest and introduction to real winemaking.
I was hooked. And in 1982, while still working for Zaca Mesa, and with a little financial help from friends and family, I bought some barrels and grapes and launched my own winery brand Qupé. I utilized the Zaca Mesa equipment and winery bond to make my first wines, Chardonnay, Syrah and a dry rosé from Pinot Noir. I made my first two vintages of Qupé at Zaca Mesa before going out on my own to grow the brand.
In 1989, Jim Clendenen, who had started his own winery brand, Au Bon Climat, and I, entered into an agreement with the Miller family that own Bien Nacido Vineyard to build a winery facility at the vineyard. We still share this facility to make the wines today, sharing a highly trained winemaking team at the Clendenen Lindquist Vintners’ winery.
From 1982 to 2018 I grew the Qupé Winery brand from 900 cases to 35,000 cases annual production, adding single vineyard Syrahs, Grenache, Marsanne, Roussanne, a red GSM blend and a white blend based on Viognier and Chardonnay.
In 2018, Qupé was sold and I walked away from the winery brand that I had created 36 years earlier. I used this opportunity to launch a new brand called Lindquist Family, which released our first wines in 2019. I still share the winery with Jim, and also my wife Louisa Sawyer Lindquist, who makes her own wine there as well under the Verdad Winery brand. Louisa and I are also making wine for a new exciting winery/distillery project in Albuquerque, New Mexico called VARA.
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