Dinner with the Winemakers


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Join us at

Ember Restaurant
November 10, 2020 | 6:00 PM | $250

1200 E. Grand Ave., Suite 101
Arroyo Grande, CA 93420


About the Winemakers

Dinner with the Winemakers will feature one of the most respected wineries in California, Talley Vineyards. Joining us for the evening will be Talley Vineyards’ Owner and Winegrower Brian Talley and Talley Vineyards’ Winemaker Eric Johnson.

Talley Vineyards is located in the Arroyo Grande Valley, in Coastal San Luis Obispo County, one of the world’s great regions to grow Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, due to its cool marine-influenced climate and diverse soils. The resulting grapes have concentrated flavors and high levels of acidity–the building blocks of truly world-class wine.

Talley Vineyards wines are regarded as some of the most age-worthy Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs produced in California. Though enjoyable upon release, they will age gracefully for more than ten years after the vintage.

Brian Talley

Brian Talley is a third generation farmer and second generation winegrower, born and raised in Arroyo Grande. While attending UC Berkeley, where he earned degrees in History and Natural Resource Economics, he worked in a wine shop called Curds and Whey where he fell in love with wine.

Brian began his career in the family business at age twelve, when he started harvesting vegetables at Talley Farms. He became General Manager of Talley Vineyards in 1991 and now serves as President of Talley Vineyards and Talley Farms. Brian is recognized as a leader in the local wine industry and was cofounder of the World of Pinot Noir and past President of the San Luis Obispo Wine Country Association; he has been recognized by both Robert Parker and the local wine industry as a Wine Industry Person of the Year. Most recently he wrote a farm to table cookbook, Our California Table, Celebrating the Seasons with the Talley Family.

Brian loves cooking, wine and travel as well as fitness and golf. He lives at the edge of Talley Farms with his wife Johnine. Together they have two daughters, Elizabeth and Olivia.

Eric Johnson

Winemaker Eric Johnson was raised on a family farm in Los Banos, California. He is a graduate of Cal Poly San Luis Obispo where he studied Wine and Viticulture and Agricultural Business Management. He joined Talley Vineyards in 2007 to work in the Tasting Room, became a harvest intern later that year and served as Enologist until 2010, when he became Winemaker.

Given his background in farming, Eric has a unique understanding of the role that the land plays in determining wine quality. “I believe that the world’s greatest wines are defined by place, as opposed to winemaking manipulation.” In addition, Eric has a great work ethic and passion for excellence. “A great winemaker needs flair, imagination, and the inspiration of divine discontent.”

Eric is very active in the local wine scene and serves on the Board of Directors for the World of Pinot Noir and is a member of the Cal Poly Wine and Viticulture Advisory Council. He has traveled to France, Italy, New Zealand, Argentina and Chile to explore wine regions or work harvests. In his spare time, Eric enjoys outdoor sports, food and wine. He lives in San Luis Obispo with his wife, Cait.

Talley Vineyards

Meet the Chef

Brian Collins

As the Chef and Owner of Ember Restaurant, Brian Collins is known for his modern approach to regional Italian Cuisine on California’s Central Coast.

A native of Arroyo Grande, Brian was drawn to food and cooking at an early age. After taking his first cooking job at a local café he was immediately drawn to the restaurant industry. Shortly thereafter, Brian enrolled in the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco and the journey to becoming a chef had begun.

Prior to graduation, Brian obtained an intern position at Berkeley’s famous Chez Panisse Restaurant in 2000. Upon the completion of a three-month internship and graduation from culinary school, Brian was offered a full-time position which turned into a six-year stint cooking under the tutelage of Alice Waters. Brian credits much of his culinary philosophy and influence to Chez Panisse and its talented brigade of chefs.

In 2006 the time had come to return to the Central Coast with the determination to open a restaurant of his own. After cooking at Lido restaurant as both Sous Chef and Executive Chef, Brian found inspiration in the Santa Barbara Wine Country in a small town called Los Alamos. As the Chef of Full of Life Flatbread, Brian created weekly changing menus that gained the restaurant notoriety as one of the region’s top culinary destinations.

After scouting potential locations, Brian discovered a property in his hometown of Arroyo Grande and opened Ember. The restaurant was an immediate success and quickly became known as one of the top restaurants on the Central Coast.

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