Dinner with the Winemakers at
February 4, 2019 | 6:00 PM | $250
1200 E. Grand Ave., Suite 101
Arroyo Grande, CA 93420
Enjoy an extraordinary dining experience featuring winemakers Bob Lindquist of Qupé and Louisa Sawyer Lindquist of Verdad Wines and Chef Brian Collins of Ember Restaurant.
Born in the Midwestern U.S., Robert Neil "Bob" Lindquist moved to Southern California with his family in 1964. Bob had caught baseball fever while living with his family in Germany and listening to the radio as the Pirates upset the mighty Yankees in the 1960 World Series. In 1965, during his first Southern California baseball season, the Los Angeles Dodgers won their third World Series since moving west. The event galvanized Bob into an instant, avid Dodger fan who often sports their logo wear.
While attending U.C. Irvine in the early 1970s, Bob sipped quality wine for the first time and instantly was hooked. In 1975, Bob moved his young family north to pursue a career in the wine business. His first job found him working harvest at Fortino Winery, near Gilroy. When harvest ended, he landed a position in the tasting room at the venerable San Martin Winery, a key player in the growing Central Coast wine industry. Bob's contagious enthusiasm and ever-expanding knowledge of wine soon earned him a promotion to assistant manager.
When an opportunity to manage San Martin Winery's new Ventura County tasting room came up in 1976, Bob seized it. While working there, he often drove north to explore the wineries of the Santa Ynez Valley. Bob frequented Firestone Vineyards, Santa Ynez Valley Winery, and Rancho Sisquoc Winery, admired the fruit of the famed Sanford and Benedict Vineyard, and decided his destiny lay in the wine country of Santa Barbara County. In 1979, Bob moved to the Santa Ynez Valley to manage an innovative wine shop. The shop's proprietor was the son of Marshall Ream, who co-owned the nearby Zaca Mesa Winery. Through this connection, Bob became friends with Jim Clendenen, Zaca Mesa's assistant winemaker at the time.
Tourists were few and far between in 1979, so Bob spent most of his time in the cellar, learning to make wine under Jim's tutelage. Also on staff were winemaker Ken Brown and Adam Tolmach, who served as the winery's enologist, both of whom have gone on to win international acclaim for their winemaking skills. Qupé is born. In 1982, he founded Qupé and produced Chardonnay, Syrah and a dry rosé of Pinot Noir, for a total of 900 cases. Bob struck out on his own and left Zaca Mesa Winery following the 1983 harvest, renting space in other area wineries to make wine for Qupé.
In 2002, Bob and Louisa purchased an 80-acre ranch in the Edna Valley near the city of San Luis Obispo. The following year they moved to San Luis Obispo with their then two-year-old son, Theo. In 2005, the couple installed the 40-acre Sawyer Lindquist Vineyard, which is planted to Pinot Noir, Marsanne, Syrah, Grenache, Tempranillo, and Albariño, and farmed according to strict biodynamic standards.
Louisa Sawyer Lindquist started out in the wine business on Long Island while attending Long Island University in Southampton. She did an internship at Hargrave Vineyards while attending LIU and also worked worked at Bridgehampton Cellars and Scuttlehole Vineyard in Bridgehampton which is now Channing Daughters Winery.
While attending LIU, Louisa worked at the Ships Galley restaurant in Sag Harbor and Sapporo di Mare in East Hampton. She thoroughly enjoyed the work and it gave her valuable insight into the restaurant business.
For retail experience Louisa worked at Sutton Place Gourmet's wine department in Washington DC then onto Watermill Wines & Spirits where she managed and bought for the store, as well as two years at Amagansett Wines & Spirits. This was great experience for understanding the retail wine business and also for educating her wine tasting palate.
Louisa got an overview of the wholesale importer side of the business starting off at Lauber Imports as a sales rep covering Long Island with a special focus on the Hamptons. From there she worked with Jalco Wines & Spirits based in San Francisco as an Imported Wine Manager where I sold the imported wine portfolio for Northern California. This was followed by two years at American Wines & Spirits as a Key Account Specialist in San Francisco.
Louisa worked for Chateau Routas doing national sales and at the same time started working with Qupé Wine Cellars in 1996 doing sales and marketing strategy. In 2000 she started Verdad Wine Cellars where she makes Iberian grape varietal wines mostly from organic and biodynamic grapes grown on the Central Coast. She keeps the production small and focus on quality and balanced wines that reflect the coastal vineyards in which they are grown.
"Every day brings unique challenges, whether producing or selling or creating interest for the wonderful wines I'm so lucky to work with and create. This is a dynamic business filled with interesting people and situations that I continue to learn from and enjoy."
Meet the Chef
As the Chef and Owner of Ember Restaurant, Brian Collins is known for his modern approach to regional Italian Cuisine on California’s Central Coast.
A native of Arroyo Grande, Brian was drawn to food and cooking at an early age. After taking his first cooking job at a local café he was immediately drawn to the restaurant industry. Shortly thereafter, Brian enrolled in the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco and the journey to become a chef had begun.
Prior to graduation, Brian obtained an intern position at Berkeley’s famous Chez Panisse Restaurant in 2000. Upon the completion of a three month internship and graduation from culinary school, Brian was offered a full-time position which turned into a six-year stint cooking under the tutelage of Alice Waters. Brian credits much of his culinary philosophy and influence to Chez Panisse and its talented brigade of chefs.
In 2006 the time had come to return to the Central Coast with the determination to open a restaurant of his own. After cooking at Lido restaurant as both Sous Chef and Executive Chef, Brian found inspiration in the Santa Barbara Wine Country in a small town called Los Alamos. As the Chef of Full of Life Flatbread, Brian created weekly changing menus that gained the restaurant notoriety as one of the region’s top culinary destinations.
After scouting potential locations, Brian discovered a property in his hometown of Arroyo Grande and opened Ember. The restaurant was an immediate success and quickly became known as one of the top restaurants on the Central Coast.