A few days ago Fess Parker of Walt Disney’s Davey Crockett and NBC’s Daniel Boone fame passed away in Los Olivos, CA. Fess Parker was an icon to many baby boomers in the 50′s and a true Disney Legend who was so honored in 1991.
Growing up in the 1950′s one Christmas I wanted a coonskin cap, just like the King of the Wild Frontier. But Santa (my mother) bought my brother the cap as I received another doll. Yippee! That has always been one of my childhood disappointments.
In the 1960′s Fess Parker portrayed Daniel Boone, because he was a man, yes a big man. Again with the coonskin cap and he knew how to wear it well. Older now I watched Daniel Boone every week, not because of the hat or the action/adventure, I watched because of Fess Parker.
This week I had planned a trip for wine tasting in the Los Olivos/Santa Maria area. I had stopped at the winery a few years ago, but left as it was so crowded it was like walking down Main Street U.S.A. at Disneyland after the Electrical Parade.
On Monday while driving to visit another winery I saw Fess Parker’s Winery, put on the brakes and pulled into the parking lot. The winery with its sprawling grounds, huge shade trees and gardens was an inviting place. I was a little sentimental as I walked through the gardens feeling as if I was walking the same footsteps of a man many baby boomers adored. It’s the kind of feeling many can also feel when walking through Disneyland and imagining this is the only Disney Park where you can walk where Walt Disney walked.
Walking inside it was like walking into a large version of Daniel Boone’s cabin, a very large version. For $10.00 you can have 6 tastings, but be sure to arrive at the winery before 4:45pm as they stop selling tastings promptly. Along with the tasting is a complimentary tasting glass with just an etched coonskin cap. Most wineries with complimentary glasses have the name of the winery, with Fess Parker Winery; the etched coonskin cap says it all.
Inside you will find a huge photograph of Fess Parker, I think as Daniel Boone. As a souvenir you can purchase a small coonskin cap to put on your bottle of wine. I was so busy enjoying the wines I forgot to purchase one and will now have to go back soon. Darn!
I enjoyed all the tastings, especially appreciated the 2007 Chardonnay, “Ashley” and the 2006 Syrah, “Rodney’s Vineyard”. On the Syrah, your nose will savor the aromas of blackberry, plum and sage. Such a pleasant surprise on the palate of dark chocolate and vanilla. That flavor lingers in my mind still.
While talking with the wine tasting associate I noticed a litho of Davey Crockett signing autographs with several children, Mickey and Minnie Mouse looking up at Davey. There was something about the image didn’t look right. The associate seeing my interest told me a story how someone came in one day and mentioned that it’s very rare to see Mickey and Minnie look up at someone. That was it, the two Disney icons never look up at anyone, unless you’re Davey Crockett.
The associate further mentioned there was photograph of Fess Parker and Walt Disney together; signed by both men. Several years ago during tastings with many people wandering around the photograph was stolen. This angers me as I have two loves; one is wine the other is all things Disney. I’ve had an Annual Pass to Disneyland since 1986 and would go numerous times during the week. Supposedly true fans of Disney have gone to the park and stole items from the attraction. I’ve never understood, first you don’t steal, second if you truly love Disneyland you would not damage the park so loved by so many.
I left happy to have finally experienced the wines of a legend from my childhood. Thank you to his son and daughter for building a business and winery for all to enjoy for many years.
To find other wineries near Fess Parker Winery in California central valley wine region go to www.trailstowine.com/cca.html