We Olive and Wine Bar is coming to San Juan Capistrano on December 6. Kimberley Middleton, who is opening the store with her husband Christopher, said to the Examiner today, “We’re very excited to bring We Olive and Wine Bar to Downtown San Juan Capistrano. We have a perfect location that will marry well and be very synergistic with many of the other businesses in San Juan Capistrano. Most We Olives in California started as just retail locations, selling just premium extra-virgin olive oils, all California based COOC Certified, which is the California Olive Oil Council. They have strict standards that California olive oil has to abide by in order to have the seal. Some of the stores are remaining strictly retail but others like us are combining the retail with the wine bar concept. The idea of having both is to offer our customers two things that marry well together, like olive oil and wine, which in many ways are so much alike in terms of heating; cooking with wine, cooking with olive oil”.
Kim continued, saying that “One major difference between extra or first pressing virgin olive oil and wine though is that olive oil is definitely something you do not want to age, unlike wine. It’s at it’s peak, so to say. So those two areas marry well and the Wine Bar focus of our business is all small, artisan growers. So much of our business focus is on small artisan growers of olive oil as well as wine, small production wines, much less than 500 cases are produced in a year so we go to those growers and choose that particular wine. They are not wines that you can find in any typical grocery store or any Costco. So you really need to come to our store to taste those wines and get those wines. And take them home as well!”. Kim mentioned that they would be only California wines that they carry, following on with the idea of supporting small local growers. “It’s really important to me to support local growers. I grew up in the Midwest and my parents were small farmers, so supporting small local farmers is really important to me. And that’s what we do at We Olive, support those who make these amazing wines and amazing olive oils”, Kim said.
Kim talked about why people need to tastes wines and olive oils before they buy. “Everybody can like a different type of wine, and everyone can like a different type of extra-virgin olive oil, that’s why there are so many kinds. There is no real wrong answer, but what you want to make sure is that the product you are getting is a good quality product. Wine is very often used for cooking and when you think of eating a big pasta dish like Pasta Bolognese. I make my own Bolognese sauce from scratch and I’ll drink a big cab with it. Or else if I’m having steak, I’m drinking a cab with it. But with olive oil, it’s the same thing; you have your more mild olive oils and your more pungent and stronger olive oils. So then you may want to use those stronger oils because they can hold up to those hearty flavors. They’re so much alike in so many ways, but they key difference is that wine like cabs can age and become better, while olive oil does not. It’s such a pure, pure ingredient that doesn’t age well so once you’ve opened it up, you should try to consume it within a few months. If you haven’t opened it up, it can sit on your shelf for about a year”, she said.
We Olive will open the retail side December 6th for olive oils, gifts such as olive wood spoons and many other olive relate products such as skin care products. “That is the main reason we got into this, for the olive oil and retail side of the business, so that date is very important to use. We’ll get into the holiday spirit all over San Juan Capistrano, with Christmas at the Mission and also the Holiday Tree Lighting”, Kim said. In the latter part of January they will open the wine bar and cold food kitchen part of the business. She emphasized that anyone who comes into their store can try any product that they will be selling. Myself, my husband and all of our employees are all highly educated on what you can do with that olive oil, where you should be using the garlic-infused olive oil or where you should be using the arbequina olive oil. In addition, we will be having olive oil events starting in January”.
Kim emphasized that a key trend these days is educating the public about ‘fraudulent’ olive oils, ones that claim to be Extra Virgin Olive Oil but in reality are not, instead they are combined with other, less pure olive oils. She mentioned that even those are still better than the common ‘seed’ oils for use in the house. All the extra virgin olive oils have no additives, are extremely pure, they are strictly just made from the pressed fruit. She also mentioned that, “You can replace butter or any other seed oil in a dish and you are really not compromising the flavor of the dish. Instead, you are enhancing the flavor of all your foods. Beyond that, the benefits of extra virgin olive oil just for your general health are amazing. It lowers the risk or cardiovascular disease, it’s great for your skin, it’s a great beauty ingredient. You know you’re only what you put inside your body, so it’s a good ingredient to put inside your body regardless of what you want it for!!”, Kim said. They will be offering skin, bath and beauty care products that are olive oil based. Some are good for dry skin, for eczema, softening your cuticles, as a lip balm and much more. She also reiterated that “if you are not putting good things into your body, what you use on the outside won’t matter”.
Kim worked in the pharmaceutical and health care business for years and feels that the one they they really do good on is educating patients and the general public about starting out healthy. This has become her philosophy as well, which includes eating the right foods, trying to stay off medication and other steps people should take such as exercising, treating your body good, not smoking and not drinking to excess. She summed it up by saying, “All of these passions I have in my personal life, for being healthy and olive oil and wine, which is also healthy for you if you are not drinking it to excess, I’m marrying that with my passion for business, socializing with others and meeting new and interesting people and offering a great product and customer service to the people who will come into my store”.
The We Olive store will open its doors to the public on December 6th. Just in time for the holidays, they will also have a wide selection of kitchen goods made from olive wood such as fruit bowls, decorative pieces and gorgeous wood designed to enhance the look of your kitchen and house, kitchen accessories, plates and serving dishes and much more, all based around olive oil and the Wine Country. Other decorative items such as small paintings will also be for sale. Gourmet gift baskets should also be a popular item for the holidays. With artisan wines, balsamic vinegar and other items available, WE Olive will be the perfect place to do some holiday shopping. When the Wine Bar portion opens, Kim really feels that San Juan Capistrano, noted for having the first wine made in California back at the Mission, will once again with the other wine bars become a great wine destination.
For information about the We Olive Store and Wine Bar, please visit their website at www.WeOlive.com/San-Juan-Capistrano.