It all started over a round of beers. Odd, considering this is a story about wine.
But it was the moment four close friends took a leap of faith and bought a winery together. It’s the crux of the story of how Soaring Hawk Vineyards came to be, but there’s a lot more to it than beers.
It started with – and if you really think about, continues to be about – friends enjoying life together. Good wine, yes, absolutely. Finding just the right piece of land, yes, there may have been some luck there. Throw that all together and mix in a little cosmic influence, and there you have it – the best kept wine secret on the Central Coast.
Let’s start from the beginning.
Joe Fariss had been making wine with his wife Jill in the Los Angeles area for years, and they started Soaring Hawk with a small vineyard and his good wine that quickly was being enjoyed by more than just a handful of acquaintances.
One pair of particular close friends, Richard and Ann Gayou, became such big fans they all decided to go into business together and start a winery in the middle of what was fast emerging as the crown jewel of California wine country, the Central Coast and specifically San Luis Obispo County.
They began traveling to the area from LA to look at property, frequently. They looked at hundreds of places, and nothing was right.
After years of that routine, they got a call from their optimistic real estate agent talking up a beautiful spot in the hills outside of the quaint town of Santa Margarita next to the lake – a little off the beaten path, yes, but beautiful, the agent said.
“We really liked the property, and we hiked up to the top of the hill overlooking the lake and started thinking, ‘This is really cool,’” Joe said. “All of a sudden, these four hawks flew over and were flying around. Nobody said anything.”
Fate, it seemed. But Richard felt there was more to it, and he was the first one to say so.
The group finished looking at a handful more properties that day and convened back at the RV park where they were staying.
“We sat down and cracked a beer, and Richard says, ‘Is anyone going to say anything because that first property we looked at, I think we should buy it, and if you have any questions those four hawks up there for Soaring Hawk, those are our parents up there saying buy the property,’” Joe said recalling the moment.
“So we did.”
And if you believe Soaring Hawk was born by fate or a message from beyond, they probably wouldn’t argue with you. What’s kept it going since is the passion the four friends had that drove them through years of searching for the right place to build their dream.
It’s a passion easily felt at the tasting room they built themselves, where at least one of the four proprietors are sure to be there whenever you decide to visit. It’s a passion easily felt as you hear Joe speak about the art of making wine or Jill’s pride in the food pairings she creates for special events or RIchard and Anne talking about good times and close friends – no matter if you’re a longtime club member or first-time taster – as the reason they did it all.
It’s a story that may represent a group of friends who actually did the thing and because of it are now living the dream – and they’re all eager to share it with you around a glass of amazing wine.
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