The Tehachapi Wine and Cattle Company premiered its first bottling under the new Tehachapi Mountains American Viticultural Area status during a Saturday event at its tasting room in Cummings Valley.
Among the nearly 200 guests were Bob and Patty Souza, the original owners of the vineyard. Despite being told by local agricultural experts that grapes would not grow — let alone flourish — in the Tehachapi area, the Souzas on a hot summer day in June 2003, along with their family and a cadre of friends and neighbors, planted 4,000 flowering root stock vines.
That gave birth to more vineyards and tasting rooms in the Tehachapi region.
The Souzas sold the business to current owners Michael Van Atta and Beth Hamilton.
The grapes used in Saturday's featured Primitivo bottling came from the last Souza harvest prior to selling, and the first bottling to be done under the new AVA region designation under the Tehachapi Mountains.