Longevity Wines Featured Winery

It was Valentines Day a little more than a year ago that Carl and I were referred to what would soon become our favorite winery.  That day we tasted at another winery when a couple came in gushing over a little place just down the way that they had discovered, called Longevity.  They only had wonderful things to say so we did the only thing logical.  We ditched the other winery and went right over.  We are sure glad we did.  Since that day we have fallen in love with the entire enterprise that is Longevity.  Not just the wines, but the couple that owns this little gem.

Recently, we had the pleasure of meeting up with Phil and Debra Long of Longevity for a short interview so that we could give our readers an up close and personal look into who they are.

Walking into Longevity is always a pleasure.  You have little PressTon the dog to greet you, tail wagging, eager to love and be loved.  The cozy quaint tasting room with fire glowing.  The friendly warm smiles from Phil and Debra, always welcoming and happy.  This particular Sunday was no different.  Debra was pouring wine for another couple as we walked in.  We tasted a couple of wines and decided to go out and meet up with Phil for the first part of the interview.  We made our way through the winery and into the back where Phil was working on a future release.  He was deep into the heart of this process, but didn’t mind taking the time to talk to us.

Phil began to tell us of his and Debra’s first experiences with wine.  They were living in Cambria when a friend asked them to come with him to Paso Robles, about a ½ hour away.  The first winery they ever visited was J.Lohr.  The first wine that Phil and Debra became intrigued with was Syrah.  They started going to other wineries and were intrigued.  Their love for wine was growing and they soon realized that this was something they were becoming passionate about.  A couple of years after this, a job relocation sent them up to the Bay Area where they settled.  They realized they were in the heart of the wine country here.  They began venturing out to Napa and other regions.  One day they noticed an ad in the Sunday paper that boasted “bottle your own wine.”  This day included bottling 3 wines and then enjoying a BBQ.  It was at a winery called Charles Mitchell in the town of Fair Play.  They so enjoyed this day and the wine that they became club members.  Phil was hooked and decided that wine making was something he wanted to explore. He decided that he might start by making vinegar first and ran into a man named Shay from a company called Beer, Beer and More Beer.  Phil told Shay of his plan to make vinegar instead of wine and Shay insisted that he ditch that plan and make wine.  He told him of books to check out in the library on wine making and told him to do research and take notes and then check back in with him.  Phil did his homework and brought his work back to his instructor.  Shay guided him with tough love on the process, emphasizing the fact that there is not just one method or way to make wine and that the process of wine is actually subjective.  Phil learned a great deal from Shay.  One day as Debra and Phil were out wine tasting they came across a sign at a farm that said, “Syrah grapes for sale.”  They bought the grapes and along with a 30 gallon barrel, made their first barrel of wine.  On first taste they realized that they hadn’t gotten it just right.  So the next harvest they were at it again, this time aging the wine in two 60 gallon barrels.  The wine was better this time.  The following year, they increased their efforts with 8 additional barrels, totaling 12 barrels in their garage.  They were on to something.

While all this was taking place, the Longs began a wine club.  Each weekend they would venture out and find wines and wineries that they would like to offer their wine club members. They developed quite a following and this quest gave further intrigue to their pursuit of making the best wines.  While they were in the thick of their wine club business they continued making wine, now making it at hosted wineries.  Due to the sheer volume, a garage was not going to be big enough anymore.  They began to integrate their own new name and label “Longevity Wines” into their wine club and had some great feedback.  In 2007, the Longs began to look for a place they could call home for their wines.  A place where they could make wine and have a small tasting room.  It took a long time searching until Debra discovered a small location in an industrial area in Livermore.  It was a perfect choice because in July 2007 Longevity Winery opened its doors for the first time.

As I learned the history of Longevity, I realized how much passion Phil and Debra have put into all that they do.  It has not come easily.  We thanked Phil for the wonderful history of how this winery got started and then decided to talk to Debra next.

One of the things we wanted to know was what she thought set Longevity apart.  Debra answered and we whole heartedly agree that it is the personal touch that sets them apart.  It’s the experience and how the customers are treated.  It’s being small enough that they can connect with their customers on a personal basis.  The Longs have gone to enough wineries to know that many places are not open and welcome.  The places they enjoyed visiting the most were the ones that provided a personal touch and that’s just what they have done with Longevity.

With that we wanted to know what she thought was their “specialty” wine or what did she think was the wine that they were the most proud of.  Her emphatic answer was their 2005 Rhone Blend.  This is since sold out.  What exciting wines should we look forward to in the future?  Among the new ones will be a new Rhone Blend, a Bordeaux Blend, a Pinot Grigio, a Chardonnay, a Grenache, a Paso Zin, a Lodi Zin, and finally……….a Zin Port, which I hear is going to be absolutely AMAZING!!!

As we wrapped up our interview, said our thank yous, and goodbyes I was so thankful for the chance to get to know this wonderful couple a little bit more.  You don’t find great wine like this every day, but more importantly, it’s rare to find such a great couple.  Thank you Debra and Phil for letting us get to know you a little bit more!


Location:

35 Rickenbacker Circle

Livermore, California 94550


Contact:

TheLongFamily@longevitywines.com

For tastings by appointment call: 888-325-WINE


Tasting Room Hours:

Saturday and Sunday- Noon to 5:00 pm

Closed- Easter Sunday, Fourth of July Weekend

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