Ted Gourvitz is the general manager at Fallbrook Winery. Since its inception in 1981, the winery has focused on creating wines from grapes that grow well in the local climate.
Q: How do you differentiate yourself from the other wineries in San Diego?
A: We're the largest regional producer of wines that still has a local community flair by being tucked away in the quaint town of Fallbrook. We operate similar to a large vineyard but on a smaller scale. For example, unlike other wineries, we offer tours and tastings by appointment only because we’re located on a private road. Most importantly, our wines are often compared to those of Napa and Sonoma, which is uncommon for the San Diego area and something we take great pride in.
Q: What marketing strategies have you found to be most effective?
A: We've found that hosting tastings at wine bars, restaurants and at public events has been extremely helpful. A lot of people aren’t familiar with our wines and have never heard of us before. That’s why it’s so important for us to get out in the community and provide opportunities for people to taste our wines.
Q: Do you think San Diego is gaining recognition as a wine destination?
A: We're slowly but surely gaining recognition. Napa and Sonoma are known as the powerhouses, but in reality, we believe that we’re able to produce wines that are on par with those regions. In 2010, we earned medals for each of our six entries at the second annual Winemaker Challenge. More importantly, our 2010 Reserve Sauvignon Blanc was voted best white wine, and the 2008 Sangiovese came close to capturing best red wine honors. As long as we’re able to continue to produce these award-winnings wines, we’ll gain recognition as a wine destination.
Q: Any plans to expand Fallbrook Winery?
A: We have plans to open a tasting room in the future, and our wines will continue to show up more and more in restaurants and wine shops. It's an exciting growth process that we don’t foresee slowing down any time soon.
Q: Why did you get into the winery business?
A: I was in the Bay Area when my dad, Ira Gourvitz, purchased the winery more than 15 years ago. He wanted to do things the way they should be, and it soon became a labor of love for him. He kept bugging me to join him. I must admit that the visits I would make down here were enticing. The land we're on is pristine, and the local community is warm and caring. So about 11 years ago, I took the plunge, quit my job and came down to run the day-to-day business operations. As I look back, I wonder why it took me so long. I absolutely love what I do and have a passion for adhering to our mission of producing quality wines that match other better known regions at affordable prices.
Q: What do you think makes you a successful business owner?
A: In this business, being a successful business owner means having a team in place that works together to achieve the same goal, making and selling high-caliber wines at affordable prices. Our talented winemakers, Duncan Williams and Vernon Kindred, have a combined experience that spans more than six decades, and they've done a tremendous job producing award-winning wines. Another important quality of a successful business owner is the ability to develop relationships. We’ve been able to get into numerous restaurants and wine shops due to our ability to build relationships with those managers, distributors and event coordinators. This has been instrumental to our growth.
Q: How much do social media play in your retail marketing strategy?
A: Social media play a big role in our retail marketing strategy. For example, platforms like Twitter and Facebook allow us to share accomplishments such as medals we've won at wine competitions, share photos and engage in conversation. Being on social media isn’t just about trying to sell a product, but it’s about building relationships and having fun. We do unique things like share tips on things people can do with used wine bottles, barrels and corks. We provide our fans with content that is interesting, and because of that, we’ve been able to build a solid following, which in turn draws people to our site.
Earlier this month during the blackout, Chef Chad White of Sea Rocket Bistro and his crew plowed through the inconvenience and served five beer-paired courses that evening by candlelight. They loved the concept so much that they have scheduled a Blackout Dinner for Oct. 9, to “recreate the magic.”
This time, White and his kitchen team will use light, but the kitchen will be blocked off, as well as the front windows, leaving the dining room dark but for candles. To reserve a spot, call 619-255-7049.
The Kebab Shop, a Euro-Turkish eatery with locations in downtown San Diego's East Village and Mira Mesa, is opening a third location in Encinitas next month.
Owned by AJ Akbar and Tony Farmand, the quick-service restaurant will be open for lunch and dinner seven days a week. Visit thekebabshop.com for more information.