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Hello from Paso Robles, Wine's ePicenter!


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Greetings, everyone. I've recently joined eGullet and I'm enjoying the wine and food forums very much. I'd like to introduce myself--I am co-owner and marketing mistress of a small, family-owned winery, Dover Canyon, in Paso Robles. I'm also on the Board of Directors of the Paso Robles Vintners & Growers Association. If you have questions about our up-and-coming wine area, or any of the wineries here, please feel free to ask! I love talking about our area, wine in general, and food pretty much anytime.

Mary Baker

Dover Canyon Winery

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Mary Baker

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Mary,

Welcome to eGullet and the Wine Forum. Thank you for picking this forum for your maiden post. :smile:

I'm not alone has one who has enjoyed the Paso Robles area, and the diversity of wines it produces. And since you asked, I do have a question about another small producer from the region.

A while back a friend of mine returned from California and gave me a bottle of 2000 Maloy O'Neill Syrah. Only 20 cases were produced, so I'm one of the very few that will get to try the wine. I've visted their web site, and got myself boned up on some of the history. Is there anything else you can share to enlighten me?

Once again, welcome.

Brad

We cannot employ the mind to advantage when we are filled with excessive food and drink - Cicero

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Welcome, Mary!

When I lived in LA, heading to Paso Robles was an easy wine fix for me and I made friends with the Beckmens' whose winery is in the Los Olivos area.

I would be curious if you guys have had any more scare about the Pierce's disease. I remember when it wiped out the San Diego wineries and there was scare about it moving north. Now that I am in Napa, I haven't heard much about it and wonder if it is still a worry in the Central Coast.

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Greetings, everyone. I've recently joined eGullet and I'm enjoying the wine and food forums very much. I'd like to introduce myself--I am co-owner and marketing mistress of a small, family-owned winery, Dover Canyon, in Paso Robles. I'm also on the Board of Directors of the Paso Robles Vintners & Growers Association. If you have questions about our up-and-coming wine area, or any of the wineries here, please feel free to ask! I love talking about our area, wine in general, and food pretty much anytime.

Mary Baker

Dover Canyon Winery

Then you've come to the right place! Look forward to your participation.

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Carolyn: Thanks for your response! We haven't had any problems with Pierce's Disease in the last decade, but we have very proactive grower groups here who are constantly watchful. Glassy-winged sharpshooter is our biggest threat in recent years, as the little buggers sneak in on nursery items, like hostas and other landscaping plants, shipped into our area from outside the county. Neil Roberts of Mondavi and Jerry Lohr (J. Lohr) spend an incredible amount of time and money on pre-emptive education and research.

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Mary Baker

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Mary,

Welcome to eGullet and the Wine Forum. Thank you for picking this forum for your maiden post. :smile:

I'm not alone has one who has enjoyed the Paso Robles area, and the diversity of wines it produces. And since you asked, I do have a question about another small producer from the region.

A while back a friend of mine returned from California and gave me a bottle of 2000 Maloy O'Neill Syrah. Only 20 cases were produced, so I'm one of the very few that will get to try the wine. I've visted their web site, and got myself boned up on some of the history. Is there anything else you can share to enlighten me?

Once again, welcome.

Brad

Brad: Thank you for the warm welcome! We've had a lot of new wineries and tasting rooms open up here in the past decade, but in Paso there's a lot of respect for artisan productions, and Shannon O'Neill has made quite a splash here with some very nicely crafted wines, in spite of burgeoning competition and the difficulty of being a new kid on the block. He's also a genuinely nice guy with an irresistable smile--one of my favorite new wineries.

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Mary Baker

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Welcome to eGullet Mary. Why don't you give a us a little more background about your winery and more about the Paso Robles zone, with which I am not very familiar. I couldn't find your wines in my local store (actually the only foreign wines in the store are a really terrible Beaujolais and Cotes du Rhone from some co-op) and would like to know more about what you do. I noticed on your website that your production is indeed small. Also I can't remember - is Paso Robles an AVA?

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Paso Robles is indeed an AVA, and geographically the third largest in California. We don't have as many acres planted as Napa or Sonoma however, so much of Paso Robles is still open ranchland, populated by black bear, deer, wild turkeys, and badgers. And wild boar—we get lots of really fresh boar sausage around here.

Although we have no formally declared sub-appellations, those in the know have favorite microclimates: Adelaida Hills, Willow Creek, Templeton Gap and Estrella Bench to name a few. Writers refer to us as the "new Napa," but we prefer "the Rhone Zone." The AVA is divided vertically in half by Hwy 101. To the west are the green foothills of the Santa Lucias and the deep gorge of Estero Bay—lots of dryfarmed vineyards here due to 22" of rain a year, limestone Linne Calodo and Santa Lucia soils, and strong afternoon breezes redolent of bay and surf. To the east are the riverbed terraces of the ancient (and mostly underground) Estrella River, looser soils and long warm days with cool nights.

Dover Canyon is on a northwest strip near the Adelaida Hills called Vineyard Drive. Larry Turley recently purchased the 80-year-old Pesenti Vineyard one mile south of us, and Turley has a tasting room there. To the north, the Perrin family of Chateau de Beaucastel purchased land and established their American winery, Tablas Creek, where they also propagate CdB vines. And about eight miles north is Justin Winery, long a darling of the Wine Spectator.

Dan and I spent over a decade working for larger wineries here, and while our bosses were indescribably fun, and the perks were insane, we're not macro-managers at heart. Soft-spoken Dan is particularly shell-shocked from monthly formal winemaker dinners where he had to wear a tux and actually speak. He's become highly allergic to them, although we do donate private luncheons or dinners to auctions. We love our little vineyard and farm and prefer to actually make the wine ourselves, and we each have our own quad.

Did you really post these questions at 12:20 am? :blink:

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Hi Mary, this is a timely post.

My parents live near Paso Robles (in Hanford, very hot, so more raisin country). I live in the UK, and am planning a visit in the next few weeks. I have a cousin that lives in Paso Robles, and remembered driving through some glorious vineyards on previous visits.

So, I had been looking for a vineyard that I could visit for a pleasant day out with family. Wine tasting and good food (if possible to combine the 2) are what I'm looking for.

We are all very amatuerish, but very keen wine consumers.

Could you reccommend a suitable winery. Oh, and no need to be shy if you think yours would be ideal, it sounds as though it could be perfect.

thank you,

Lee

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Lee:

I'll look forward to meeting you soon, and although I'm always about good food, I'm afraid all we offer on most weekends are homemade bread and locally produced olive oil.

Justin Winery has a fabulous selection of cheeses and as they are at the far end of Vineyard Drive, many visitors start there and wend their way back toward town, stop for lunch at a favorite winemaker hangout like McPhee's or Alloro, and then continue their afternoon on the east side of Paso.

Odyssey Cafe, in town next to the historic Park that is our main square, makes incredible rotisserie chicken picnic boxes, but they sell out well before noon, so if you're staying town, stop by early for a cappucino and get your picnic box.

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thank you very much for your help. I thinkI may have eaten in the Odyssey cafe last time I visited. I do remember very good chicken.

I need to speak to the family to get things organised, I will be in touch.

thank you again,

Lee

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Mary,

Some years back, I used to head down to Paso Robles for the area wine festival in May and always had a fabulous and educational experience. I haven't been in years, though -- does it still take place, and if so, when is it scheduled this year?

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I'm a huge fan of Central Coast wines. I have never tried Dover, but I will look for it. Are you off of 46?

I used to buy sherry from York Mountain, but they stopped producing it. Do you know if there are any other wineries in San Luis Obispo county that now make sherry?

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I used to head down to Paso Robles for the area wine festival in May . . . does it still take place, and if so, when is it scheduled this year?

Jaz, this year the 22nd annual Paso Robles Wine Festival will be held on the third weekend of May, the 14th through 16th. The grand tasting in our historic park is attended by about 12,000 people. There are also a round of winemaker dinners, a a pretty competitive golf tournament, and of course, open house at the wineries all weekend.

You can find maps, lodging info and winery event descriptions at our area website, Paso Robles Wines:cool:

As you can see by the attendance, the event is popular, so accomodations can be hard to come by. I recommend the Cavalier in San Simeon. It's a pleasant 30 minute drive away, but it's right on the ocean and far removed from the madding crowd. Very restful. Otherwise, our local Chamber keeps tabs on last minute hotel cancellations.

If you come for the festival, I hope you will stop by and say hello. I've just discovered eGullet and am enjoying the forums very much. I just read Lucy's entire food blog from France on Sunday morning after skipping dinner and bfast. I nearly expired from vicarious ecstasy.

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Mary Baker

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I'm a huge fan of Central Coast wines. I have never tried Dover, but I will look for it. Are you off of 46?

I used to buy sherry from York Mountain, but they stopped producing it. Do you know if there are any other wineries in San Luis Obispo county that now make sherry?

I'm so glad you enjoy Central Coast wines. I'm partial to the handsome winemakers as well. We are on Vineyard Drive, one mile north of 46 West. The junction is just a few miles before the York Mountain turn.

Unfortunately,Twin Hills, which produced a flor sherry from their Palomino grapes, is for sale, and York Mountain now belongs to Martin & Weyrich Winery. I just checked with them and they are not producing a sherry. They said Max and Steve Goldman purchased the grapes from another vineyard.

Sorry! :sad:

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Mary Baker

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Howdy, Mary, and welcome to eGullet.

I've had several good Paso Robles wines: the best wine store in Santa Cruz county carries many of them. I've had Adelaida, Castoro Cellars, J. Lohr, Justin Vineyards, Wild Horse and a bunch of others. And Tablas Creek provided the wine for one of the Outstanding in the Field farm dinners. Catherine Farris (formerly of this neck of the woods here in Santa Cruz) attended. She's a lovely woman.

I can't wait to travel down your way. Maybe in May. Maybe for the wine festival!

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Thank you, Tana!

I've heard about the Outstanding in the Field dinners. They sound marvelous!! We don't have an organized focus on our local produce, although chefs often like to highlight locally grown meats, dairy and produce at the winemaker dinners.

A lady in Atascadero makes wonderful creme fraiche.

I'll look forward to meeting you when you visit!

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Mary Baker

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