Meet Chris Taranto, the Communications Director for Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance. He is incredibly knowledgeable about the history of Paso Robles Wine Country and its wonderful community of growers.
While sitting and chatting a bit with Taranto, you learn why this part of the state is so special for wines– the topography and multiple microclimates help make for optimum growing conditions.
The wine growing season in Paso Robles is long and consistent because of the microclimate temperatures. On the eastern side of the hills, the air is warm and dry or arid. On the western side of the hills, the temperatures are a bit milder because of overnight coastal fog and occasional light drizzles. This kind of California diversity helps to create amazing grapes for wine making. Wines from this region are not quite like the French or European varieties that tend to be more austere or tannic– sommeliers claim that California wines are a bit more fruity, with a richer flavor.
Generations ago the area was known for cattle, cowboys, oak trees, and small farms. Today wine and distilled spirits and a unique cider house is king here. In the early 1980’s there were only a couple dozen or so wineries in the area, but now the community has close to 200 ranches or farms raising high quality grapes. Viticulturists are making world class and award-winning vino, brandy, vodka, and premium natural apple cider. Paso Robles is also home to a rapidly expanding IPA Brewery, their most notable brew being Firestone 805.
Members of this wine-growing community seem to be very close and cooperative. Alliance members often get together for barbecues and to share their brands of wines with one another. These gatherings are far from the often-stodgy ‘let’s talk shop/networking/business meetings.’ Instead, the events are held in a clearing near a vineyard. Everyone is relaxed, and the food is awesome. The members even compare notes about what’s being grown where in Paso Robles and how everyone can best market their greatest commodities– wine, spirits and tourism.
Paso Robles wine country– Just one tank away from LA. Cheers!