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.
Paso Robles Wine Country is getting some international attention again. We told you how WIne Enthusiast named it Wine Region of the World for 2013. Well, the big competitor to that publication, Wine Spectator has named Turley Wine Cellars Dusi Vineyard Zinfandel to it's top 100 wines of the world for 2013. In fact, it comes in at #12!
Wine spectator calls the Turley Dusi Vineyard 2011 Zinfandel "Rich and powerful, but focused like a lazer, with with wild berry and toasty briar aromas that lead to ripe but complex flavors of black cherry, licorice and spicy orange peel. The tannins are big but fleshy."
Wine Spectator says it will remain wonderful through 2022. Good luck finding any, though. There were only 900 cases made and Turley's tasting manager says they only had about 20 cases left when the list came out.
Every day. It happens every single day. The only question is whether I take the time to witness it.
I live near the beach and love heading down there first thing in the morning and at sunset. There's a different energy to both times of day but something special in both. What I am amazed at, is that no matter how many times I make the trek, mother nature puts on a show of some sort for me. Every single time. And particularly, it seems, in the morning when all the creatures stir and come to life for the day.
I am well aware of this phenomenon but was reminded just how much so this past week. Like most of us, my mornings can get rushed. So, sometimes I just make a fly-by past the beach on my way to yoga, a run, work, or wherever. On those days, I feel I don't have the time to go just sit with my cup of coffee and take it all in.
I'm talking about the show mother nature inevitably puts on. Even still, even on those days, the way the sun sits on the water....or how the cloud formations frame it's ascent into the sky can stop me in my tracks long enough to find a heart full or gratitude that I am getting to witness it. However, to really witness the show I think you have to sit...still enough...to let it unfold before you. I'm not talking long, but a matter of minutes and just observe.
Last week I was hurrying to get out the door and on the road for a meeting. I thought "I don't have time for beach coffee today." What I did feel I needed was to stretch my legs before I spent a couple of hours in the car and hours throughout the day, sitting. So, I thought, I'll just take the tiniest of walks...down along the bluffs by my house over the Pacific. It really isn't far...less than a quarter mile probably for the short loop to the beach and back. Hardly worth putting the sweats on for, but my legs needed something before they spent the rest of the day in a sitting position so off I went. And boy did Mother Nature teach me a lesson.
As I neared the water's edge, the way the sun was changing the sky and reflecting on the water made me smile immediately. The Pacific hadn't seemed to awaken yet. It seemed it was still sleeping, being rocked in the arms of the universe with only the slightest movement, and almost silent splashes on the shore. This magnificent body of water which I have seen appear downright angry during storms seemed simply to be resting. And the creatures it supports were playing in that serenity.
First a pool of seals, maybe 30 or 40 of them traveling as a group, splashed and surfaced and dove together. They seemed to be showing off for each other, each leaping completely out of the water at some point and diving back under. They looked like they were having a blast, and I wondered what prompted the party. The grin on my face spread through my body more as I felt lucky to have been here to witness the antics.
I continued on my mini loop, keeping my eye on the pod when right behind them, stage right...the dolphins joined the performance. Their movements were more majestic as they cruised above and below the water one right after another. They seemed more like graceful ballet dancers following the clowns up ahead in the parade. The smile grew wider on my face and down deeper into my heart. And then as I turned to head back for home, another group joined the performance: two humpbacks spouting first and surfacing moments after. I couldn't believe it. A beautiful trifeca in a 10-minute stroll. My smile was now an opened mouth laugh at the wonder of the show before me. "Thank you" I said out loud. To God. To the universe. To the beautiful creatures below.
The shows aren't always so spectacular. Sometimes it's a single otter cruising on it's back with a sea-crustacean of some sort on its belly. It's breakfast time for the otter and it's amusing to watch a seagull or two floating very nearby hoping for some "table scraps" or an opportunity to take the meal away completely. Sometimes it's a formation of birds flying by in formation, or a group of them scattered haphazardly simply playing in the wind currents. Or it can be the seals beached on a rock a little before or after the perfect tide conditions for a nap. It's amusing to me to see them arch their backs and work to hold their balance as the waves sweep over their "beds" and threaten to take them along for the ride.
The scenarios are endless. But they happen every single day and all I have to do is take the time to let the performance unfold before me.
It's been a good week of perfect conditions for these performances friends. I've seen whales every day for five days in a row. The water has been so calm and the sun is sparkling on it's surface. We are forecast to get some rain, which we desperately need on Thursday. So if you can get down to the water and take in the show.
It's true, and it's pretty darned exciting. The award will be handed out in New York in January, but Wine Enthusiast spilled the beans today. The powerhouse wine industry trade magazine has chosen Paso Robles as Wine Region of the World for 2013.
Yeah, you read that right. The world. This is a big deal. For the last six years this honor has gone to wine regions in Spain, Argentina, Italy and France. (Rioja-Spain, Mendoza-Argentina, Valpolicella-Italy, Rhone-France, Prosecco-Italy, and Ribera del Douro-Spain.) This year the finalists for this honor were: Stellenboch-South Africa, Walla Walla-WA, Duoro-Portugal, Rias Baixas-Spain, and Paso Robles, California.
In considering Paso Robles for the honor, Wine Enthusiast said: "Paso Robles is having a moment in the sun, attracting truckloads of dynamic young talent unafraid to experiment with grape varieties and winemaking techniques. Consistently high-quality wines, a vibrant food culture, and diverse travel experiences for adventurous wine lovers add to the package." Sound familiar Ruby Shoers?
What does this mean? It means the wine region that reflects the personality of its location--humble, happy and amazingly beautiful-is being discovered...big time. " When you consider the reach of Wine Enthusiast magazine, not just nationally but internationally, and the audience beyond the consumer but also the trade, this award brings a whole new awareness of Paso Robles as a wine grape growing region to the world", says Chris Taranto, Communications Director of the Paso Wine Alliance.
Ruby Shoes Wine Club couldn't be prouder. I started work to launch Ruby Shoes Wine Club two years ago because in my travels across the country, I was amazed how few knew about the wine treasures to be found along the Central Coast. Part of that has had to do with distribution limitations that are being sorted out slowly but surely, and largely through direct to consumer options like Ruby Shoes Wine Club. But when I traveled to wine regions in other parts of the world, I was amazed how many people DID know about Paso Robles and the amazing terrain that is perfect to grow wonderful wine grapes. It seems the discovery of our local wine country continues every day with new attention like this.
I'm so damn proud to call the Central Coast home and see the wine regions that exist here get the nods they deserve. I'm not just talking about Paso Robles, but Edna Valley, Santa Ynez and Santa Maria Valley as well. California earned the Wine Enthusiast spotlight in 2006 when Alexander Valley was recognized, which is really cool for California. But to see Paso Robles make a list like this, you know it's not just hometown favoritism. The Ruby Shoes tasting board has been picking one Paso Winery after another to feature in our club, and those picks have been among the best on the Central Coast, and now the world.
To that, and to the winemakers making the magic from the field to the foil around each cork, I say a resounding “CHEERS! “. You did us proud and I'm proud as can be to call you all friends and partners.
***If you aren't a member yet of Ruby Shoes Wine Club, it's not to late to be a part of our next featured Paso Robles Winery, Tobin James Cellars. Our shipment goes out next week, which means you can be pouring lovely wines from the Wine Region of the World at your holiday celebrations. To sign up, click here.
And to purchase some of the wines we feel are among Paso Robles' finest, visit our shop and order up. Our supplies won't last long once this news gets out to the masses! (Remember, members enjoy 15-25% discounts!) Questions? We'd love to hear from you!