Vineyards Update May 31, 2018


After visiting my agricultural roots in Yuma, AZ, last week, I returned home with a desire to visit vineyards. So Norm, Cooper and I walked five of the seven vineyards that we source from last Friday. Clouds playfully billowed across the sky while Cooper darted throughout the vineyards and Norm inspected the vines. Cooper and I are at Dierberg Vineyard in Santa Maria Valley, which we’ve been sourcing since 2001, in the photo above.

We have been experiencing cooler than normal temperatures along the Central Coast for the past month. The cooler temperatures have had a noticeable impact on the vineyards, slowing down vine growth and suggesting a longer growing season ahead. This could push harvest back by 2-3 weeks, depending on weather over the summer. “Once again, we find that ‘Mother Nature’ is in charge,” says Norm.

The overall vine health looks good, with bright green shoots and shiny leaves. Some of the vines were also undergoing the flowering stage. The small green bunches produce tiny white flowers. These white flower clusters appear on the tips of the young shoots looking like pinheads. Flowering occurs when average daily temperatures stay between 59-68 degrees, which typically takes about two weeks. Once this stage is done, the pollination and fertilization of the grapevine is complete. All of our grapes are sourced from hermaphrodite vines, with both male stamens and female ovaries. No bees are required for pollination. Watch a short video with Norm.

The Dierberg and Solomon Hills vineyards in Santa Maria Valley AVA were slightly ahead of the vineyards in the Sta. Rita Hills AVA (Rancho Santa Rosa, Rio Vista and Ampelos). The Santa Maria vineyards are further inland, compared to Sta. Rita Hills, with slightly elevated temperatures. The fog layer sits longer in the Sta. Rita Hills and contributes to the differences between the two appellations. The potential 5-10 degrees variation can influence the vine growth and flowering.

Grape vines are a far cry from the row crops and orchards that I knew during my elementary school years. Yet, all agriculture begins with earth. As terroir contributes to the various expressions of our wines, the roots of our formation contribute to who we evolve into as adults. Growing up with fertile Colorado River soil and arid desert sand in between my toes grounded me for life.


Irene Vejar Photographer Reception & Cypress Grove Cheese Tasting



Saturday, May 19, 3-5pm
Lompoc Wine Ghetto
Flying Goat Tasting Room
1520 E. Chestnut Court



Join Flying Goat Cellars at a photographer reception honoring Irene Vejar and her stunning photographs of Return to Freedom horse sanctuary. All are invited to attend the reception, which will include a Cypress Grove cheese tasting. Yummy cheeses from the famous Humboldt County creamery will be served to pair with our wines. Flights of Flying Goat Cellars Pinot and Goat Bubbles sparkling wine will be available for purchase.

Vejar says, “As a photographer, as in everyday life, I prefer to concentrate on what I find good in the world, and where better to find good than in nature? It is in the solitude of nature that I find peace and beauty.” When Vejar was introduced to the wild horses, she says her “heart filled with gratitude for having met them, but pain for what they have endured. I knew instantly that was where my focus would remain. I have come to understand their strong family bonds, their place in our world, and their desperate struggle for survival.”

Being an artist at heart, Vejar enjoys adding a bit of creativity to her photographs. Her primary goal is to use the gifts she has been given for a purpose. A purpose she hopes will stir the hearts of others. 100% of proceeds from the sale of her prints directly support the programs of Return to Freedom.

Headquartered a few miles outside of Lompoc on Jalama Road, Return to Freedom provides a safe haven to almost 400 wild horses, including 29 burros. RTF also provide a venue to educate the public about America’s wild horses and burros along with solutions to protect them in viable free ranging herds for future generations. Flying Goat Cellars is also a benefactor of Return for Freedom and invites others to learn more at


Join Us at Effervescence L.A.


“One epic Los Angeles weekend celebrating Champagne and Sparkling Wine!”

Flying Goat Cellars will be pouring Goat Bubbles at the More Bubbles Sparkling Wine Extravaganza on Friday, May 4, from 5-9pm at the historic Avalon Hollywood. This is America’s first epicurean event centered only on Champagne and sparkling wines.

“On Friday afternoon and evening, we lighten and loosen up a bit in a no-holds-barred Bacchanalia of everything bubbly. The historic Avalon Hollywood nightclub will be transformed into a drinker’s delight, with sparkling wines from every corner of the globe. This walk-around tasting is designed to be fun and informative, for both novices and experts alike. Come sample prosecco, moscato, Lambrusco, cava, sekt, crémants and delicious American bubbles sourced from the finest international producers. The evening will end with the first Best Sparkling Somm finals, where you will get to see today’s best sommeliers compete against each other. Come curious – this tasting will offer some fun and unusual wines.”

Effervescence L.A. is hosting a three day extravaganza of sparkling wines from all over the world and grower Champagne. Check out the full line up of events here.


Winemaker Dinner at La Purisima Mission


Friday, April 20, 2018
6:00pm – 9:30pm
La Purisima Mission
2295 Purisima Road
Lompoc, CA 93436

Reserve your seats here!

Join us for an extraordinary evening at La Purisima Mission hosted by Winemaker Norm Yost and Restauranteur Mitchell Sjerven. This will be the ninth year that the duo team up to bring an exceptional dining experience in the romantic, rustic setting of the mission. It’s our twelfth annual dinner at the mission and some guests attend every year.

Featured Chef Greg Murphy of bouchon Santa Barbara enjoys finding the essence of his cooking style in local and sustainable ingredients. Greg says, “As always, looking forward to my favorite offsite event of the year!” Norm will pour Goat Bubbles sparkling wine in the mission garden, followed by a flight of our finest wines in the nearby dining room seating 40 guests. There is an adjacent private dining room seating 10-12 guests each that is also available.

Chef Greg Murphy shared his menu and we are thrilled! After our recent trip to  Montana, I requested smoky bison tenderloin and he delivered. The trio plate also features anise braised pork belly and forest mushroom sauté. Goat Bubbles in the garden and library wine for the cheese course are a surprise! With advance notice, Chef Greg will accommodate dietary restrictions.

Tickets are $150 (plus tax) for Wine Club Members and guests. $175 (plus tax) for non-club members. Please reserve your seats here or call 805-736-9032 to make your reservations.


Sweetheart Deals for Your Sweetheart!


To honor St. Valentine’s Day, we’re
offering “Sweetheart Deals for your
Sweetheart” all February.

2012 Goat Bubbles Blanc de Blancs
25% off/bottle = $30
30% off/case = $336
Purchase now!

2011 Pinot Noir Rancho Santa Rosa
25% off/bottle = $36
30% off/case = $403.20
Purchase now!


Michelle Carlen Artist Reception &
Cypress Grove Cheese Tasting

Saturday, February 10, 2-4pm

Flying Goat Cellars Tasting Room
Lompoc Wine Ghetto
1520 East Chestnut Court
Lompoc, CA 

“On the Vine”

Join us for a lively afternoon with artist Michelle Carlen and a Cypress Grove cheese tasting. Enjoy the yummy aromas and flavors of Humboldt Fog, Truffle Tremor and Cypress Grove  to complement our Pinots and sparkling wines.

A Southern California native, Michelle Carlen was born and raised in Pasadena, Calif.  After spending nearly four decades in Southern California, from San Diego to the Los Angeles area, Carlen moved Santa Barbara  two years ago. She developed her passion for art from her grandmother on the paternal side of her family. As a child Carlen would travel to Whidbey Island, Washington, to visit her grandmother, who was a professional watercolorist there. During her childhood years, Carlen’s grandmother taught her much of what she knows about the medium. Her grandmother tells her that when she was about six years old, she asked her to “show me how to paint, Grandma”.  And thus begins Carlen’s story of a life-long pursuit and legacy that she carry on in her grandmother’s name.

“While developing other mediums through classes and instruction, she truly gave me the tools and guidance that have enabled me to be where I am today,” said Carlen.  You’ll find several of her paintings inspired by Whidbey Island, Washington, at the tasting room.

Watercolors speak to Carlen’s natural abilities to imitate what she see. “What inspires me is unique landscapes and scenery. Animals, still life and interesting buildings/architecture have also been a recent focus for me. A dramatic backdrop or sunset still remains the greatest motivation for me to put paint on paper,” said Carlen.

Her work is exhibited in various shops and stores on the California coastline from San Diego to Pismo Beach. She’s been a featured artist in Santa Barbara at the 1st Thursday event put on by the Downtown Santa Barbara organization.  She commented, “I’m eager to expand my exposure and am delighted to be a part of the Flying Goat Cellars Tasting Room exhibit.”

Carlen is available for commissioned work.  Her work is also available in prints of originals in various sizes and printed on canvas, poster, arcrylic or metal. Peruse her galleries or purchase high-quality archival prints and greeting cards of your choice here.


#Giving Tuesday – Donations Update


Today Flying Goat Cellars is donating $1,900 to Direct Relief for NorCal wildfire relief. With each bottle of 2011 Flying Goat Cellars Pinot Noir Salisbury Vineyard purchased between October 13-31, we agreed to donate $10. The response was overwhelming! One Auburn, CA -based customer, IKEDA’S California Country Market, purchased 12 cases to make gift packs that would include a donation to the wildfire relief. Thank you to all who supported this cause with a purchase of our tasty wine.

Flying Goat has a special connection with Direct Relief because our team member Megan McGinnis is the granddaughter of Direct Relief’s late co-founder Dezso Karczag. Megan’s grandmother, Sylvia Karczag, served as executive director of the organization for many years and continues as President Emeritus. Megan is proud that the organization has a 100% fundraising efficiency rating from Forbes and a longstanding partnership with the Santa Barbara Vintners Foundation. Direct Relief is a humanitarian aid organization, active in all 50 states and more than 80 countries, with a mission “to improve the health and lives of people affected by poverty or emergencies.” It was founded in Santa Barbara as the William Zimdin Foundation in 1948, and morphed into Direct Relief in 1957.

In October, Flying Goat gave back to our local community with a $2,000 donation to Return to Freedom for wild horse conservation. Lompoc-based Return to Freedom is “dedicated to preserving the freedom, diversity and habitat of America’s wide horses and burros through sanctuary, education, advocacy and conservation, while enriching the human spirit through direct experience with the natural world.” RTF holds a special place in our heart and we have a history of supporting its fundraisers with wine donations. We are excited to make our first cash donation this year.


Flying Goat Donates to Wildfire Fund


Paradise Ridge Winery sits destroyed in the foothills above Santa Rosa, California, in the wake of the Tubbs Fire. (Karl Mondon/Bay Area News Group)

The Direct Relief wildfire emergency response efforts in Northern California has reached $28,645.09 since the campaign was launched. Thanks to all of you who already made a donation. Flying Goat Cellars is helping the cause too. For purchases of our 2011 Pinot Noir Salisbury Vineyard ($38) through October 31, we will donate $10/bottle to Direct Relief’s wildfire emergency fund. To support the cause in this way, PURCHASE NOW or call 805-736-9032.

Although Santa Barbara County is out of reach from the fires that continue to ravage Northern California, Norm started his career in Napa and Sonoma and we have many friends and colleagues there. We consider them family and are disheartened to know that this ongoing tragedy will have devastating ramifications for their local wine industry for years to come.

The Santa Barbara Vintners Foundation has partnered with Direct Relief to create this special fund so that 100% of donations will go to support the wildfire emergency response efforts in Northern California. For updates, read Direct Relief Blog here.

Make a donation here!


Mario Rodriguez Photographer Reception and Exhibit




Veterans Day
November 11, 2-4pm
Flying Goat Tasting Room
1520 E. Chestnut Court
Lompoc Wine Ghetto




Flying Goat Cellars features Mario Rodriguez photography and a photographer reception on Veterans Day, November 11, from 2-4pm. Photographs will be available for viewing October 26 through the end of the year and are available for purchase at the gallery/tasting room, located in the Lompoc Wine Ghetto at 1520 East Chestnut Court.

“Photography, I believe, is something unique in all of us. It embodies our individual perspectives borne from our life experiences of what and how we see the world, static or moving, colorful, or monochrome? There is truly no right or wrong, rather how our eye interprets our experiences and that is what I find so fascinating and life affirming overall about it,” said Rodriguez.

Mario Rodriguez is the fifth of six children raised by two Hispanic parents in a middle class suburb of Houston, TX. His father was a chemical engineer; his mother a homemaker and part-time employee for the City of Houston. He remembers growing up doing lots of art projects instigated by his mother, who nurtured her children’s creativity in art and music. She often played LPs of his Tia Eva’s rancheros. Tia Eva was an international singing star and perhaps the first of many artists and musicians for which his family is well known.

Rodriguez began to play the violin at age 12. Mostly self-taught, he learned to blend in and become part of the ensemble. His junior high school orchestra teacher recognized his playing-by-ear skills early enough to tailor music curriculum for him to put in extra time sight-reading to prepare for greater challenges. He auditioned for and was accepted to the Houston Youth Symphony and at age 15, the High School for Performing and Visual Arts in Houston.

Age 15 was a watershed year for Rodriguez and his music, but also in family tragedy when his father died suddenly. Rodriguez notes that losing a parent is something you never recover from, just slowly come to accept over time. His mother worked hard to get him back on track and convinced him to do a summer youth exchange experience in Germany. His first visit out of state and out of the country was the beginning of seeing the world with a whole new perspective. He brought his camera along!

After high school, Rodriguez went to the University of Texas in Austin but eventually dropped out and enlisted in the US Air Force. He was now a family of three and looking for a respite from doctor’s bills. He knew the military service offered both technical training and good medical benefits. After he took the general aptitude test and aced it, followed by the language skills exam, Rodriguez was on track to become a Russian translator. His career was short lived because after suffering a minor injury at the end of his first overseas tour, he learned that he had a life-threatening illness.

Rodriguez survived cancer and for physical therapy he started to explore his father’s domain of sports. He swam competitively, played tennis and especially enjoyed fencing, which had been his college passion where he achieved many victories, countless medals, and the memories and stories to accompany almost twenty years of international competition. He has always had a passion for photography too, but he says that it became more than that. Attempting to change years of embracing his competitive spirit with the eye of the spectator and finding a new “happy place,” photography became a real game changer for him.

Flying Goat Cellars has been handcrafting vineyard designated Pinot Noir since 2000 and sparkling wine since 2005. Winemaker/Proprietor Norm Yost has thirty seven years in the industry. For more information contact Kate Griffith, Chief Philosopher/Proprietor, at or 805-737-GOAT.



Wine Enthusiast Loves Us!


Check out these scores from Matt Kettmann’s recent blind tastings.  Call 805-736-9032 to order or purchase here!

95 points – 2013 Pinot Noir Rio Vista Vineyard Dijon $46

94 points & Cellar Selection –  2014 Pinot Noir Bien Nacido Vineyard Rita’s Reserve ( a tribute to Norm’s mom!) $60

94 points – 2012 Pinot Noir Bassi Vineyard (formerly Salisbury Vineyard) $40

93 points – 2013 Pinot Noir Dierberg Vineyard $46

93 points – 2013 Pinot Noir Rio Vista Vineyard 2A $42

93 points – 2013 Pinot Noir Solomon Hills $44

see other scores below: