The bewitching grace of the colorful fish called koi has long attracted mortals. In the folklore of many eastern countries, koi is considered to be a symbol of strength, endurance, courage and abundance. It was also believed that the larger the koi one owned, the more prosperous one would become. As I was entering the Carhartt Tasting Room, I was immediately taken with the colossal fish sculpture acting as guardian to the establishment. The intricate metalwork of the delicate fins and scales is a truly beautiful thing to behold. I am honestly not certain what kind of fish it is, but it reminded me of the stately koi. Also known as “swimming flowers,” koi are available in a wide variety of colors, usually white, yellow, orange, red, black, or any combination thereof. If we can judge by the grandiose size of this fish, then Carhartt must be thriving in its prosperity.
Located in the wine hamlet of Los Olivos, Carhartt is perhaps one of the smallest tasting rooms I’ve ever visited. Photographs, mostly of the winemakers and nearby landscapes, adorn the walls of the matchbook-sized room. But what really captured my attention was the heavenly garden in back. Guests are invited to have their tastings out here when the weather is fine, as well as to just come and enjoy a glass or bottle at their leisure. From a feng shui perspective, this tranquil oasis has all of the five elements represented, blending together in perfect unity:
- Wood – The trees and lush plants in the garden.
- Fire-The colors of the flowers and flower pots, as well as the wine in our glasses.
- Metal -Parts of the fountain and patio furniture, and the metal signage
- Earth – The stone of the fountain, the terra cotta flower pots, and brick tile on the ground.
- Water – The elegant fountain, part of which is made from a wine barrel (pictured below)
Notice the little stone frog perched in the fountain. Frogs, in feng shui folklore, attract luck and wealth, especially when paired with other items such as water and flowers. Also, this specific frog is placed diagonally from the main entrance to the garden, which can help to attract wealth to the environment. I think the frog is cute, and adds a healthy energy to the fountain and surroundings. And I think I spot some real living fish in the pond, too.
And now on to the wine. All six of the intricate wines we tried were intoxicating and lovely. The two that really impressed me were the 2010 Sangiovese and the 2009 Syrah. The Sangiovese had a deep, silky sheen in color and tasted divine, with hints of strawberry and oak.
The Syrah won my heart, however. A deep, blood red wine with suggestions of chocolate, pepper, and blackberry. It was love at first taste. A bottle of this fine liquid gem accompanied me back home. I will most assuredly be purchasing this again.
Another aspect I love about Carhartt wines are the labels on the bottle. Each varietal has a different animal on it. The Syrah has a pig, the Merlot a pheasant, the Sangiovese a rooster. All of these animals have different meanings and symbolism, both in feng shui and other historical avenues.
The rustic class and simplicity of Carhartt made for a wonderful wine savoring experience. They also played amazing music during the tasting, including some selections from the Oh Brother, Where Art Thou? soundtrack, most of it being a fusion of mellow bluegrass and jazz. For a truly excellent outdoor wine tasting experience, visit the fine people at Carhartt. And, don’t forget to pay homage to the giant metal fish in front.
Carhartt Tasting Room and Winery
2990A Grand Avenue, Los Olivos, CA 93441
Hours: Tasting room open daily 11:00 to 5:00.