Carmel Magazine

Summer 2017

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Page 177 of 219

T he winery grave- yard is full of half- empty bottles and shattered dreams, a car- nage from wine-lovers who thought it would be fun to create their own label. But sometimes, those dreams exceed the winemakers' wildest expectations. Jim and Judy Schultze imagined Windy Oaks 21 years ago, not as a hobby or a conversation starter, but as an obsession. "We knew it was going to be live and breathe and sleep the winery," says Judy, who previously ran a man- agement consulting firm with Jim. This wasn't a whim from two weary executives who cashed in their chips with visions of an early retire- ment on an ocean-facing slope in Santa Cruz County. They calculated everything—including how much fun they would have. It started in 1996, when they spotted an abandoned apple orchard in Corralitos. Their research revealed the micro-climate as perfect for growing Pinot Noir. To learn the tenets of winemaking, Jim went back to school at UC Davis, and their combined experience with business marketing and strategic planning helped immensely. Now they farm almost 30 acres, includ- ing Chardonnay and Syrah. "We're very hands on," Judy says. "We didn't want to buy a winery to turn it over to someone else to run. It's very important this is a family venture." The couple's two sons are also involved in the business. Spencer is his father's assistant winemak- er, while James helped launch the Carmel tasting room on Dolores Street. Judy grew up in Carmel and wanted Windy Oaks to be part of the town. The downtown tasting room has become well known for its Friday Fun Times, a wine-and-cheese par ty from 4-7pm par tnering with The Cheese Shop. The Corralitos tasting room is open on Saturdays, noon to 5pm. Windy Oaks also makes wine from grapes including Pinot Gris, Sauvignon Blanc and Viognier purchased from unique terroirs in Monterey County, solidifying the winery as a major force in a crowded industry. "Truthfully, we never saw this coming," Judy says. "It's been amazing," Windy Oaks Tasting Room is located at Dolores and 6th, Carmel. 831/574- 3135 or Windy Oaks Succeeds with a Family's Clear Vision B Y L A R RY H A R L A N D 176 C A R M E L M A G A Z I N E • S P R I N G / S U M M E R 2 0 1 7 wine notes Jim and Judy Schultze run Windy Oaks Winery, which offers wine and cheese at Friday Fun Times, from 4-7pm in the Carmel tasting room. Photo: Patricia Hinz

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