I was attracted right away to Silver Horse by the pleasant open smile of the cowboy pouring the wines. Turns out it was Jim Kroener, one of the owners. He and his wife Susanne are delightful. His son Stephen runs the place and makes the wines that sealed the deal for me wanting to partner with Silver Horse. I like family owned and operated wineries because their hearts are in the business. They CARE about every bottle that leaves the place. They’re also out there pouring and meeting the people who drink it, getting feedback and constantly trying to improve each vintage. So Silver Horse nailed the first criteria to be a Ruby Shoes partner. Nice people.
The second thing I noticed, quite frankly, were the beautiful bottles. I loved the etched horse inspired logo, and I loved even more the explanation of the names of each wine on the back. The first wine I tried was “Sage”. Winemaker Stephen Kroener wrote this inscription like all the rest, “Sage: Eminent in Wisdom, especially gained through experience and reflection. This wine is in honor of my wonderful parents. Through their sageness, I have become the person I am today. “ They all seem to be special like that. Some more serious than others, though.
Finally, it was the taste of the wine, of course, that sealed the deal. I love their dark, rich, food-friendly reds. And this summer I’ve been alternating between Still Waters Sauvignon Blanc and the Silver Horse Albarino for my whites. Summertime is happy in my world with those beautiful whites to choose from.
Silver Horse Wines are produced in small quantities so they are offered to their club members first. Except, you are club members in this case through Ruby Shoes.
The winery itself sits on a hilltop overlooking hundreds of acres of vineyards in the Pleasant Valley. It’s one of the more scenic wineries in the area with a hacienda-style tasting room perfect for the Spanish varietal and French Bordeaux blends Silver Horse makes. Stephen likes to describe his hand-crafted wines as “100-percent food friendly” because his family loves gatherings over good wine, good food and definitely in his family’s case, lots of good laughs.
Jim and Susanne took over Silver Horse in 1996. Stephen made his first official stand alone vintage in 2002. He used his architectural design and management degree from Colorado State to start putting his dream of a new tasting room and facility on the hill to paper around 2000. Those dreams came true when the new tasting room (it’s a beauty!) opened in 2005.
Stephen and his wife Jane have one little girl Tori, who you may see bouncing around the property when you stop in to taste. The truth is the “Lazy J” white some of you will get in your shipment (white only members) is named after Jane but Steve has a lot of J’s in his life (Jane his wife, of course first, Jim his dad, Jamie his sister, Julia his grandmother, Jackie his sister-in-law, Jen his sister-in-law, and of course Jeanette, the wine-lover who likes to drink his wines with the rest of the J’s). Thankfully, Jane is cool enough to let all of us claim a little ownership of the inspiration for that wine. (My family’s brand is the Lazy 2 T, …for Ted Trompeter, so the Lazy J allows me a perfect opportunity to spin the tale that it’s named after me)
Aside from good wine, and a great location, the whole Silver Horse family is wonderful. You will feel like a member the minute you walk in the door.
“We want people to come out here and enjoy being here. We don’t want to shuffle them though like Disneyland, we want them to soak in all that is Silver Horse.” says Stephen. “We’ll steer you to the kind of wines you might like depending on what your experience tasting is.” No snob factor here. They’ll help you plan the rest of your day and offer up ideas on where to stay, where to eat, where else to play.
It all adds up to another Central Coast Wine Experience I’m proud to share!