Page 96 - San Luis Obispo Visitors Guide • Summer 2022
P. 96

Wine Tasting
Indulge in the Cab Challenge at Hansen Vineyards
 Cabernet enthusiasts gather in fun, inviting, and educational experience
Under the watchful eye of James the Winery Cat, cabernet afi- cionados gather at a quaint, rustic tasting room to sip, savor, and have a good time. At the helm – Bruce Hansen, owner and winemaker of Hansen Vineyards and Winery. Nicknamed the “King of Cabs,” he is at home in this place affection- ately known as the Cab House.
“Cabs were my first love, and they remain so,” Hansen said. “I made wine a long time ago with my dad, and this is what my wines have always revolved around. You cer- tainly are not going to kid anybody
in my wine club about a cab; they are cab lovers.”
The Cab Challenge is Born
In early 2016, the Hansen Cab Challenge was born. The concept took root when guests started bringing in cabs from other regions
and shared their finds with Hansen. He loves comparing cabernets
and, before long, started a monthly event attracting visitors from across the nation.
“It started with club members talking about how great a couple of other cabs were, and they wanted to
challenge Bruce,” General Manager Pat Stoddard said. “His response? ‘Bring it on!’ and we’ve been doing it ever since. Bruce teaches them about wine and ensures everyone participates, learns, and has fun.”
How it Works
Five or six couples – all Hansen Wine Club members – send or bring their cab of choice to the tasting room a few weeks ahead of time. This ensures all of the wines are stored at the same temperature. The production year is determined ahead of time for each challenge – 2015, 2018, and so on.
On challenge day, the wines are brought up to the Cab Challenge room at noon. Stoddard opens
the bottles, allowing the wines to breathe. Before the evening gets underway, she shuffles a set of cards – six if there are six bottles of wine, for example – and places them out in front of bottles one, two, three, and so on. The bottles
 James, the winery cat.
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