Local winemaker helps inspire, create new shirt

Local winemaker Keith Saarloos shops for clothes only once a year, so he decided to collaborate with clothing designer Dan Dixxon to create a long-lasting shirt with a design inspired by wine.

By Raiza Giorgi

Winemaker Keith Saarloos likes to go shopping for himself only once a year.

He likes to ride motorcycles, smoke cigars on occasion, drink wine that he made in good company — but he doesn’t like to shop.

Saarloos says the flannel shirt is his new uniform for working in his vineyards.

“When I buy something I want to know it’s quality-made so I don’t have to keep buying it over and over. I want my boots to last me through the year, and I want my shirts to be able to take wear and tear because I am out in the vineyard some days before and after the sun goes down,” he said.

When he found the Dixxon Flannel Co., a clothing line based in Phoenix, he liked what he bought and contacted the owner, Dan Dixxon.

Dixxon’s philosophy is that his products are the stepchildren of a lost generation that is fueled by all things fast, with an addiction to adrenaline. Men and women follow the brand, including anyone who is into wrenches, skating, stage diving and circle pits.

“I seek quality and then I support the people who deserve the support,” Saarloos said.

The two formed a friendship and have just created a style of shirt inspired by wine.

“He’s a big guy like me, and I think of this as my uniform in a way. We created the shirt with wine in mind, with colored buttons and stripes and the unique lapel with our Saarloos + Sons logo,” he said.

Saarloos and Sons was created as a 17-acre farm in Los Olivos by Larry Saarloos and his family. They owned the Roasted Bean (now Valley Grind) coffee shop in Santa Ynez, which was their first entry to the valley more than 20 years ago. They planted syrah grapes and sold them to winemakers until they started making small batches of their own wines. Now their entire family, down to the littlest grandchild, participates in the operation. They now own real estate in downtown Los Olivos, with their wine tasting room at 2971 Grand Ave. open daily from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The shirts will go on sale in February and will retail for about $60 each, available on the Dixxon website at www.dixxonquality.com and Saarloos + Sons website at www.saarloosandsons.com.