Sign up for the Daily Sip

Your daily dose of wine knowledge.
Fun, short emails featuring wines, winemakers, regions, gadgets and more.

Email Address
Sign up to receive The Daily Sip for free
 Filed as : Celebrities

Hollywood & Vine

Oct 10, 2012
Hollywood & Vine
Acting and running family winery perfect combo for Challen Cates

tantarawineryWorking in a demanding place like Hollywood, you'd expect most actresses to spend their leisure time actually relaxing with family, working out or shopping for what to wear to the next premiere party.

But when Challen Cates isn't filming on her Nickolodeon show "Big Time Rush" — she plays mom Jennifer Knight — she's at her family's Tantara Winery in Santa Barbara.

Working as the vice president of the winery (which specializes in single-vineyard pinot noirs and chardonnay) is the best kind of relaxation.

"I love giving someone a glass of Tantara and seeing their face light up," says Cates, whose show just got picked up for a fourth season. "It makes me feel good."

Tantara, founded in 1997, makes 12 different single-vineyard pinot noirs like the Tantara “Bien Nacido Adobe” Pinot Noir 2010 (Central Coast, California) $55, plus some affordable blended wines, a chardonnay and a syrah.

Founded in 1997, the winery has grown since the early days, but they still keep production between 5,000 and 7,000 cases each year.

Cates said her dad experimented with making wines for years, dating back to her high school days when the family lived in Virginia.

"When he made wine in our bathtub—I was a teenager then-- I remember being horrified as a teenager that my dad always had purple fingers and our house smelled like fermentation. I didn't think that was cool until much later."

Read more of The Daily Sip's interview with Challen Cates below.

TDS: Why do you like pinot noir so much?
CC: I just think pinot is so sensual and feminine and well-rounded.

TDS: Why do you make so many single-vineyard wines?
CC: We like doing single vineyard wines because there are so many different microclimates just within the Central Coast. You get some really amazing and unique flavor profiles in one vineyard so it's nice to really focus on one little vineyard and really capture what that terroir has to offer.

TDS: What are some of your favorite vineyards?
CC: If what you like is more fruit-forward, we have Rio Vista from Santa Rita Hills. The most Burgundian is the Solomon Hills, which is a part of Bien Nacido.

TDS: What attracts you to the wine business?
CC: There is something so romantic about making wine and crafting something that comes from the earth and being out in nature, having this amazing sensory experience.

TDS: How is wine different from show business?
CC: In the entertainment business, there's so much rejection. In the wine business, one of the things I like is giving someone a glass of wine and having them accept it. It's very satisfying.


Previous Sip

Cookies Paired With Wine by Design
Shinn Estate Vineyards, A Quiet Farmhouse with Lots Inside

Which country is the only country to not be affected for the phylloxera louse?