You can reach us at 831-622-7652 or via email at [email protected].
Southern Latitudes Wines is a two woman operation, ably assisted by our two hardworking beagles Taz and Flinders.
WHAT IS A FLINDERS?
Matthew Flinders, the first European to circumnavigate Australia. His name can be found adorning many parks and bays in Australia. Beagles also do a great deal of wandering.
WHY ON EARTH DID YOU START A WINE SHOP THAT SELLS ONLY SOUTHERN HEMISPHERE WINES?
It all began over a bottle of wine one dark and stormy night ... Kidding ... Actually it all began when we took our first trip to Australia in the late 1990's. Up to that point, our wine experiences consisted primarily of Californian and Italian, with the occasional unaffordable French masterpiece courtesy of our generous Francophile brother.
Everything changed on our trip to Aus. We fell in love with Australia's wine and its people, and all of the old, family owned wineries such as Jim Barry, Henschke and Rockford. We spent two weeks happily filling the trunk of our rental car with a bottle or two or three of small treasures from nearly every winery we visited. Nary a thought was given for the next step.
HOW DID YOU GET ALL THAT WINE BACK HOME?
Excellent question, and one that ultimately occurred to us as well one evening as we stood in our Adelaide hotel room staring at our accumulated ten cases of wine and two small rollerbag suitcases. Hmmmm.
We eventually found a friendly wine shipper who sent the wine home to California, and after another three months in customs lockdown in L.A., we found a friendly importer to spring it. And it gets more magical. None of the bottles were cooked after their long, hot summer in customs jail. True, we weren't going to be able to cellar them for as long as we'd hoped, but the upside was, oh darn, we'll have to drink them sooner than planned. We did manage to prolong the pleasure for several years, surprising ourselves with how well the wine held up. Wine is a fairly durable, living thing after all!
WHAT AN ORDEAL! THERE MUST BE AN EASIER WAY.
We had a problem. We loved these wines, but couldn't find a good selection in the U.S. Suddenly, like the proverbial bolt of lightning, the solution became clear -- let's open a wine shop, assemble a collection, and sell them ourselves! What could be simpler? Right.
Nonetheless, as youthful albeit middle-aged professionals, we were ready for a change. So, despite the best efforts of our friends, who repeatedly advised us that we were insane, we opened Southern Latitudes Wines in May 2004. Much to our delight and immense relief, so far so good. And our friends are really happy now that we didn't listen to them.
BUT WHAT ABOUT THE OTHER COUNTRIES?
If the plan were to sell Southern Hemisphere Wine exclusively, we certainly needed to learn about all of our products, and we had never before had a South African wine. Our thirst for knowledge took us to Cape Town and the biannual Cape Wine show. Wow. If you ever get the chance to go, we highly recommend it. Nearly every wine producer in South Africa attends and pours at this convention, and we immersed ourselves in a week of tasting and seminars, learning everything we could about these incredible and unique wines.
We subsequently traveled to New Zealand, and interspersed outstanding hiking trips with tasting journeys through Hawkes Bay, Martinborough, Marlborough and Central Otago. What a gorgeous country!
We are longing to travel to South America, and know we will find the time someday. Sniff. In the meantime, we are doing our level best tasting through many choices to find the best Argentine and Chilean selections for our shop.
SPEAKING OF TASTING, HOW DO YOU CHOOSE YOUR WINES?
How do we choose? Oh, you know, just any old thing our distributors want us to put on the shelf, or whatever they happen to have on special any particular week.
Kidding, kidding, kidding, kidding.
Actually, we only stock wines that pass our own taste test, whether that be because it is a style we particularly enjoy, or a style others might particularly enjoy even if it's not our personal favorite. It doesn't necessarily make us popular with salespeople, but in a vast Southern Hemisphere of choices, we try to offer a hand-selected field in order to help make your shopping process successful.
We're big on wine and not so big on self promotion, so when a customer makes a kind remark, our first instinct is not to write it down and post it on our website. Nonetheless, here is a small representative sampling of some kind words ...
Click this link to read "The Fly South," an article about our shop published in the April 8, 2010 edition of the Monterey County Weekly
"Visited "Southern Latitudes" wine shop in Carmel, CA today. Deep selection at great prices. Don't let the location throw you. Visit them!" --DZ
"Many thanks for the great service, very efficient and friendly."--HM
"A poster recently inquired about this wine shop that sells/ ships via an online website as well. I said I would ck this place out, and I did today. I have only wonderful words to write about Southern Lattitudes Wines. The two women who run/own this wine shop are the most awesome, down to earth ladies... and they know their southerly wines. They are a wealth of knowledge, and very friendly and accommodating..." --NG
"Excellent! Thank you for the prompt reply! Now that’s service!" --EK
"The concept is anything from the Southern Hemisphere, and this allows the shop to showcase some superb and unique wines from places like Chile, Argentina, South Africa, New Zealand, and Australia. The two women who run the store are really friendly and always up for conversation and recommendations." -- NN
"This place is a must for wine drinkers. Great selection of wines, affordable tastings, super cool owners." --CR
"I have dealt with many online retailers and just used you for the first time on this order. Gotta say I am very impressed. You shipped my order the same day it was placed, I received it in 3 days, you offered a case discount and the wine was perfect temperature. Not to mention you even sent a personalized note on the back of a business card recommending a little ageing (which I def. will do). You are at the top of my long list for future purchases and will be highly recommended by me to my friends. Thank you very much for a pleasant wine purchasing experience."--BA
We have also been fortunate to have hosted some super-special wine tastings here, including evenings with Steven and Prue Henschke and Laura Catena.