Community Focus: Devon DeFazio

Devon Defazio, SAMsARA Wine Co. How did you arrive at SAMsARA Wine Co? “I’ve been working in the wine industry in Santa Barbara County for six years now, but I’ve really wanted to work at SAMsARA for a while. I actually interviewed with the owner Joan and her winemaker, Matt, back this last January. They were kind enough to offer me a position, but right after we had some awful mudslides around where I work – so, it was just not the right time to make a move. I still really wanted to work with them so I sent a follow-up email apologizing for not being able to take the position. To my great fortune, when I was on my honeymoon last May, Matt sent me an e-mail asking if I still wanted that job!! So I’m really grateful to be at SAMsARA.” What is your role with SAMsARA Wine Co? I always answer, ‘I do whatever they need me to do!’ but my primary responsibility is managing the wine club, keeping track of all the member requests and making sure that everyone’s custom order gets fulfilled.” What is your usual schedule? “My schedule bounces around a lot… I work in both of our tasting rooms, in Goleta on weekends and Los Olivos during the week. I also work out of our warehouse in Lompoc where we do the bulk of our club shipments from.” What is your favorite thing about Santa Barbara Wine Country? Santa Barbara is a phenomenal wine country. We have excellent wines here, but we’re not too well known. It  is never a circus in the tasting room like in other California wine regions. Even on the busiest days, there is still plenty of time when you are tasting to have a conversation with the person behind the counter. You don’t feel rushed or automated going through the service. It’s a very personal relationship. What is your favorite current release wine from SAMsARA? “Our ‘14 Turner Syrah has such wonderful pepper notes to it and its so sumptuous on the palate. It really has great spice – I don’t like a Syrah that’s too fruity, I’m a little more of a spice fan and I just really enjoy that one.” What are you most excited about at SAMsARA today? You know we’re really getting a lot of local south coast business from the new Goleta location. We’re increasingly becoming a bigger and bigger part of that community and business around there – hosting working lunches, and community get-togethers. And we’re hosting things like the UC Santa Barbara and Rotary Club events. We’re really kind of coming into an area that hasn’t had a winery before and we get to be THE winery, which is a lot of fun.