NEWPORT BEACH — Local boutique winery owner Gus DeFalco's low-cost wines have something in common with the big-dollar bottles produced in California's established wine-making regions: the same grapes.
DeFalco owns Orange Coast Winery, which opened in April. He gets his grapes — about 4,000 pounds per vineyard harvest — from growers in Napa, Sonoma, Amador, Santa Barbara, Paso Robles, Mendocino, Santa Maria, Lodi and other swaths of California's wine country.
His varietals average $12 to $24 per bottle. He said he uses high-grade cork, stainless steel and oak barrels, and other materials similar to those used by recognized winemakers in his process.
"The most difficult part is to get great vine growers to sell their grapes to small boutiques like myself," DeFalco said.
"I've been graced with their grapes, you could say," he added with a laugh.
Some of the vineyards DeFalco buys from for his 2,500-square-foot winery on West 16th Street in Newport Beach are recorded as having produced grapes more than 110 years ago, he said.