California's Catalina Island Gets Its First Winery
The couple plan to add a wine-tasting room with panoramic views and offering horse-drawn buggy rides to picnic areas in the Catalina backcountry, 17 miles from Avalon, the island's main town and a destination for daytrippers and weekend visitors. The pair have invested millions on the winery which so far has produced 3,600 cases of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Zinfandel. The 2009 and 2010 vintages are nearly ready, although the label remains a work in progress.
This isn't their first time as wine entrepreneurs, in 1995 they opened Rusack Vineyards Winery, a still thriving winery business in the Santa Ynez valley. The Rusack Vineyards website has images of the Catalina vineyards and details of the first harvest. Harvested grapes were airlifted from Catalina to the Rusack winery in Santa Ynez for processing, fermentation and bottling overseen by winemaker John Falcone. First vintages should be available as soon as the label is finalized and the price will be under $100 a bottle.