Halter Ranch Vineyard in Paso Robles has another reason to brag. Vineyard Manager Lucas Pope has been named to Wine Enthusiast’s 40 Under 40 List. Pope will be profiled in the upcoming October 2017 issue. Pope is first vineyard manager to ever make the list.
“I couldn’t be more pleased that the work that our entire team at Halter has quietly been doing for years is being recognized by the editors at Wine Enthusiast,” says Pope, 35.
The 40 Under 40 list is normally made up of winemakers, sommeliers, and wine media influencers. Pope was named to the list for his, and Winemaker Kevin Sass’s groundbreaking work in helping Halter Ranch beat back Red Blotch, a slow-progressing disease that over time can destroy grapevines. Red Blotch has been spreading in California. Pope has also helped other wineries throughout the state fight the threat to the state’s vineyards.
Halter Ranch Vineyard is located on the west side of Paso Robles, and specializes in estate-grown Bordeaux and Rhône Valley varietals and blends. It has been SIP certified (Sustainability in Practice) for its environmentally responsible viticulture and winemaking practices.
I’ll admit it. I’m having a little love affair on the side. Not on my man. My heart doesn’t wander when it comes to G-man. I’m talking about a little fling with a beach town I’ve known for most of my life, but that has somehow sparked a new flame inside me.
I’ve pretty much been smitten with Shell Beach since college. I call it home and love the beauty, sense of community and quirky mix of homes and people that exist here. My heart tells me I belong here. But hearts are fickle things aren’t they? Recently I’ve found myself crossing paths more with another funky beach community up the road a ways.
I have fond memories of Los Osos as one of my dad’s best friends lived there for years and we often paid weekend visits when living up in Northern California. I remember watching the fog lift over Morro Rock, treasure hunts Uncle Russ staged for me in the back bay and even a few stories involving uncle Russ and my dad at the Merrymaker. Recently, though, I’ve rediscovered this old friend in new, wonderful ways.
One of the things I had on my “when I quit this TV job and am no longer working nights bucket list” was to attend many of the free concerts offered throughout summer at communities up and down the central coast. I’ve been checking them off one by one, but hadn’t made it to the Beer at the Pier music gathering in Baywood Park until last week. It sealed the deal. My little flirtation with LosOsos/Baywood Park had evolved into something more serious. I love this community. I love the funky character of the neighborhoods. I love the beauty of the bay and the views. And I am smitten with some of the awesome new restaurants here.
If you haven’t been to LOBP since before the sewer project started being talked about, you need to pay a visit. And from now through fall Beer at the Pier offers a perfect excuse. It happens every Monday from 5 to 7 p.m and Is one of the few music events that doesn’t end Labor Day. (You can find their schedule here). And your chance of a fog-free evening increase with each week from here on out. I say cut out of work a little early and experience Happy Hour at America’s most prominent Dive Bars, the MerryMaker.
In reality it’s a casual neighborhood watering hole...low key, friendly and comfortable. There aren’t many true-blue neighborhood bars anymore, but this is one of them.
Then I suggest taking in the music, the views and the vibe at Beer at the Pier. Paul Irving has done a great job of putting this thing together. You can get our beverage of choice at Back Bay Café, kick back and forget all about the fact there are still four work-days left in the week. Grab a bit at the Café or check out some of the awesome newer restaurant in Los Osos. I paid a visit to the Blue Heron and it is probably kind of sealed the deal of my love for this beach community. Great food. Great atmosphere. Great patio and great fire pit to enjoy before or after your meal. In fact, little Los Osos has attracted a nice mix of restaurants/bars/hangouts that are worth paying a visit: Baywood Ale House, Noi’s if you love Thai food, Nardonne’s serves up classic great pizza, and I hear Kuma Sushi is awesome.
We have so many lovely communities on the central coast, its easy to just stay close to home. But it’s also a lot of fun to take a walk on the wild side now and then and drive a few miles to see what’s happening just a short trip from home. When it comes to favorite haunts, you really can have more than one love.
I love and hate this time of year. I love summertime and I love the weather that comes in mid-to-late August. The sun is starting to sink a little lower in the sky and it makes for gorgeous days at the beach. The water seems to be sprinkled with diamonds much of the day. The part I’m not so fond of is the fact it signals summer is beginning to wind down. But fear not. In wine county, there are plenty of opportunities to take advantage of the warmth of late summer and we can look forward to so many festivities surrounding early fall and harvest season.
I discovered a cool option for enjoying a few of the great wineries of the Santa Maria Valley recently. Check out the Wine Trolley! It runs every weekend every 75 minutes from Town Center West from 11 a.m. To 5 p.m. There is also a late one from 5-6 p.m with limited stops. It only costs $10 if you book in advance ($18.00 if you buy at the Trolley.). You can’t Uber anywhere for that.
The route takes you by Costa de Oro Winery, Riverbench Winery, Cottonwood Canyon Winery and couple of other stops. It’s one of those summertime fun things that will wind down come October, so check it out while you can. For more information, click here
To check out the schedule: https://santamariavalley.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/Santa-Maria-Wine-Trolley-Schedule.pdf
Dog days of summer. We are in them baby. The long, warm, lazy days of early August to me are the Dog Days and they just seem to come with the chill vibe, especially if you are in Northern San Luis Obispo Wine Country this time of year. You have likely wrapped up the big vacation of summer, and you know Back to School sales are around the corner, but thereis ple
My point is, it's time to make the list of all the summer activities you haven't done that you hoped you would and topping my list are some of the free concert series happening around the county. One of my favorite is Music in the Park in Paso Robles. Northern San Luis Obispo county has endured some blistering days the last couple of weeks, but the payoff is the wonderful warm evenings.
From 6:00-8:00 p.m every Thursday, you can pack your lawn chairs, blanket and a picnic, and chill in the beautiful downtown park in Paso. They have a great lineup of entertainment, and if you've worked all day, you can just pick up your food and beverages there from one of the booths at the edges of the park or check out one of the amazing restaurants surrounding the park. Paso has become quite the little Mecca of great cuisine in the last few years. Wine is available for purchase onsite from J. Lohr., and proceeds benefit the REC Foundation, but admission is FREE! Tonight, check out Rio Salinas. It's summertime relaxation at it's finest.
If you enjoy the experience, you can make it a double-header by checking out similar festivities just down the street in Templeton on Fridays.
You know how I love the beach, but it's hard to beat a warm north county evening. It's even better when you are chillin' to some good music and feeling the scorching summer heat give way to that perfectly pleasant temperature that comes when the sun starts to fade here during the Dog Days of Summer.
What everyone seems to be talking about in Central Coast Wine country today is the Mid-State Fair, and specifically what is happening there tonight! Garth Brooks sold out two shows in less than 30 seconds and Paso Robles will be bursting with fans for those shows. The Mid-State Fair expected 50-thousand people through the gates today (almost twice the population of Paso Robles.)
If you aren't one of those people with tickets in hand, and are dealing with a slight case of FOMO (Fear of Missing Out), worry not. There are some great things happening at the fair outside of Garthage. The free acts on this day are outstanding. I suggest checking out Bee and the Hive playing in Mission Square at 7. Great band with local roots on the rise quickly.
But wine-lovers can enjoy olive oil tastings, chef demonstrations or watch The Cork Dorks live at 7:00 as well. I still say a day of watching the ag competitions and exhibitions is worth the price of admission as well.
And if steering clear of the fair is your goal, but still want to enjoy wine country? Vina Robles is celebrating it's 10th anniversary with all kinds of events this weekend. Derby Wine Estates is hosting its Friday Music Series starting at 5:30 tomorrow, or you can enjoy Twilight hour at Jada Vineyards and Winery starting at 5:00.
To check out some of the events happening in WIne Country this weekend, visit https://pasowine.com/events/
Or, if you want to steer clear of Paso Robles until Garth madness and MId-state Fair crowds have left, spend your time in Edna Valley or Avila. http://www.slowine.com/.
Summer is in full tilt right now, and fall is around the corner, so don't miss out on wine-country fun while it's so abundant!
Put all the different wine regions of San Luis Obispo County into one tank and you get an award-winning blend. And the cream of the crop are being honored this month at the Mid-State Fair.
That’s when the SLO County Wine Industry Awards will be presented to this years honorees.
They were chosen by members off the Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance, the San Luis Obispo Wine County Association, the Independent Grape Growers of the Paso Robles Area, the Vineyard Team and past award recipients.
Here’s the early scoop on the awards recognizing dedication, stewardship, innovation and leadership:
Wine Industry Person of the Year: Jason Haas, Tablas Creek Vineyard
Jason Haas, the son of Tablas Creek Vineyard founder and renowned importer Robert Haas, learned the wine business at an early age, accompanying his family on yearly European wine-buying trips and spending two summers working at Château de Beaucastel.
Winemaker of the Year: Christian Roguenant, Niven Family Wine Estates
Winegrape Grower of the Year: Lino Bozzano, Laetitia Vineyard & Winery.
Upon nomination, each recipient was voted on by their peers for their leadership and accomplishments in San Luis Obispo County, California’s third largest wine region.
The San Luis Obispo County Wine Community will celebrate this year’s award winners at a special event on Friday, July 21 at the California Mid-State Fair within the Mission Square beginning at 6:30 p.m. The awards presentation is a free event with paid admission to the California Mid-State Fair. Preceding the awards presentation is a ticketed event featuring a walk-around tasting of the gold medal winners of the Central Coast Wine Competition.
My favorite season is upon us and this year we are eager to soak it up, for we have actually had a winter season. And Summer in central coast wine country means it’s music season too.
At least four days a week, you can head out to a local vineyard, take in spectacular scenery, then pair it with a great bottle of wine and music on a warm wine country afternoon or evening. And most of the time, it’s free! (except for any food or wine you buy.)
Music season ramps up Memorial Day weekend and continues through Labor Day or the end of harvest season. Vintners offer up free entertainment in the hopes you’ll stay awhile and purchase wine while your there. However, most have no requirements to do so. You can even pack your own picnic at some, but almost all offer food options of some sort.
Here’s a short sampling:
StillWaters Vineyards started the fun early this year by kicking off it’s “Picture Perfect Sundays” in April. You’ll find a picnic paradise even in the heat of the summer under the canopy of shade provided by the ancient olive grove. There is no charge and you can bring your own picnic, but Stein’s BBQ serves up some pretty awesome grub. So unless you are a master picnic packer, you may find yourself with a little food envy if you don’t just purchase your meal there. The owners also offer up great wine discounts for these events. They happen the second Sunday of each month from 1:00 – 4:00 p.m. through October.
Tooth and Nail jumped into the music offerings a bit early as well on Wine Festival Weekend with Dan Curcio and The Damon Castillo Band, but will continue the fun every Friday through summer starting at 6:00 p.m. T and N doesn't allow you to bring in your own food or wine, but does offer food for sale.
And with the arrival of June, you have options everywhere, especially heading into weekends. Claiborne and Churchill has its “Sips and Songs” series on Fridays from 5:30-7:30 and it too is free. Pomar Junction’s Train Wreck Fridays are going full steam. It will cost you $15.00 to get in if you aren't a club member, but they do have a great line-up of entertainment and put on a great party.
You’ll find free music at Kelsey Vineyard on both Saturday and Sunday afternoons, and Broken Earth Winery most Saturdays. Sculpterra winery hosts “Songwriters at Play” every Saturday as well. And enjoy music and the amazing view at Calcareous Vineyards for “Wine Down Wednesdays all summer long.
If you have a favorite place to kick back and enjoy some lazy days of summer, or are a winery blending music into the mix, share it with me. Just shoot me an email or post directly to the Ruby Shoes Wine Club facebook page. Just get out and enjoy, because only Central Coast Wine Country can offer up music venues like these!
Cheers my friends.
Love Cabs? Mark your calendars for Saturday April 26th. It's the CABs of Distinction Gala in Paso Robles, the very area named Wine Region of the World by Wine Enthusiast for 2013. Come taste the most sought-after collection of Cabernets and red Bordeauxs at this gathering of Paso Robles Cab Collective winemakers. The event happens at River Oaks Hot Springs in Paso Robles.
Love Cabs AND love to save money? Get your tickets now. The PRCC is having an early-bird special on tickets. You can get tickets to the grand tasting now for $67.50 ($90.00 regularly). The grand tasting includes a pairing of PRCC with cheeses from a local fromager, chocolate tastings, a barrel-making demonstration, complimentary lunch options from local restaurants, glass etching and live music.
You can get premium-reserve VIP tickets for $112.50 ($150 regularly) which includes early entry to the grand tasting as well as access to the VIP Lounge where desserts and drinks will be available throughout the day.
Luxury VIP tickets are available now on the early-bird special for $187.50 (regularly $250) which includes early access to the grand tasting event, an exclusive panel discussion, a multi-course gourmet lunch, and continuous access to the VIP lounge throughout the day.
Get 25% off all three ticket prices through the month of January by entering promo code CABERNET when you check out. Click here to learn more or buy tickets.
See you in April Ruby Shoers!
No one seemed to see it coming, including the man credited by many for putting Central Coast Wine Country on the map. But Gary Eberle says when he walked into his namesake winery at 9:30 yesterday morning, his world was rocked. "My sister-in-law and two of my best friends turned on me and basically kicked me out of my own winery." said a shaken and clearly emotional Gary Eberle last night. What does it mean? Even Gary isn't exactly sure. "I'm not in charge of my own winery anymore. I know that much." he says.
What is happening is a hostile takeover of the winery Eberle and a group of partners started in the 1970's. Yesterday he was effectively removed as general partner of the group that owns the Winery.
In conversations with at least a dozen people in the industry, and close to the Eberle history, family and operations, there was a sense of shock and disbelief from each and every one. Eberle started the winery in a partnership with his brother Jim Giacobine, and a group of other investors. In 1979 he produced his first bottle of Eberle Cabernet Sauvignon, and through the recognition of his Cabs on both the national and international level, he is credited by many in the industry as putting the Paso Robles wine region on the map. He is often referred to as the "Godfather of the Central Coast Wine Region."
Sources say over the years some of the early partners sold their shares to Eberle, his brother and other investors. Eberle says he and his brother owned nearly 80-percent of the winery. Giacobine has been in poor health and multiple sources say turned power-of-attorney over to his wife, Jeanne Giacobine. Eberle says it was Jeanne along with minority partners Abe and Rob Flory who launched the hostile takeover and today, the winery is being run by the trust, and a new manager.
Eberle does still own a significant percentage of the operation, but his future at the winery is very uncertain. Eberle says the winery had its best year ever last year and that all partners were making good money. Multiple other sources confirm 2013 was a very good year for Eberle winery, but a couple questioned whether returns on investments weren't as high as some partners had thought they should be.