Back Patio Cellars
930 Flynn Road, Unit F
Amusingly, there’s a front patio to Back Patio Cellars tasting room in Camarillo, though it’s not zoned for wine. But step inside the small, comfy winery and you may not want to step away.
Owners Frank and Jennifer Hules live in Moorpark and make the trek down Highway 118 to Camarillo each weekend to pour their passion. Frank was a home winemaker for nearly a decade at first.
“I got to a point where it was taking over the house, literally” he tells me as Jennifer rolls her eyes in agreement. But a small start up winery is never an easy endeavor. “Our business is doing well, especially when traffic is bad,” Frank jokes.
On weekends with stop-and-go traffic on the Conejo Grade, Frank tells me, frustrated drivers will Google the closest wine tasting. Since Back Patio is the closest off the Conejo Grade it’s easy to find because it is so close to the freeway in an uncrowded business park. These are truly small- production wines, less than 50 cases of each. They sell only direct to consumers, so you won’t find the wines at local restaurants or retail stores; you need to come here in part because at just 750-1,000 cases, there’s not much to go around. Frank makes the wine but he and Jennifer work together on the final blends.
They are open Saturday and Sunday, but also Friday from 4 to 7 p.m., ideal for a Friday night wine-down. They are pet-friendly, and though they don’t offer food, you can bring your own. Wines by the glass are $10 or $15 for a tasting of five of their wines. Frank buys grapes from Paso Robles, Lodi, Santa Barbara, even Sonoma and Napa.
“Come in as customers, leave as friends,” Jennifer says. After all, their back patio, is your back patio.
Tasting well currently:
2017 Paw Prints Rosé
Made from grenache out of Santa Ynez, this offers light strawberry, lemon-lime, rhubarb, Red delicious apple and great acidity.
2014 pinot noir
Made from grapes from two well-respected Santa Barbara vineyards (Riverbench and Babcock), it begins with a bright acidity — ideal with food — with notes of black cherry, strawberry, blackberry and a stony minerality.
An earthy blend of petite sirah, syrah, grenache and mourvèdre, it presents rhubarb, black cherry and black berry fruits, a more tannic structure but smooth and easy to drink.