MARCH / APRIL 2019
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In This Issue
Brian Williams email@example.com
Courtesy of 1122 Cocktail Lounge & Speakeasy
Adriana Novack Sheri Potruch Glo Rivera Tina Chavez Cynthia Jimenez
935 Riverside Ave, 8A | Paso Robles, CA 93446 805-237-6060 | Vinopasorobles.com
Elizabeth Enriquez-Phillips Camas Frank Allyson Wooley
VINO is published by the Paso Robles Press. All rights reserved, material may not be reprinted without written consent from the publisher. The Paso Robles Press made every effort to maintain the accuracy of information presented in the magazine, but assumes no responsibility for errors, changes or omissions.
MARCH / APRIL
FIELD RECORDINGS WINE
Unusual path taken
Interview by Camas Frank
inemaker Andrew Jones started out Cal Poly San Luis Obispo on an unusual path to one of the region’s trademark professions. Known for his prowess at collegiate football, he worked his way through school as well with a vineyard nursery making him one of the few people to work in all of the region’s microclimates, forming personal and professional relationships along the way. His label, Field Recordings is known in part for its labels, which emphasize geography of the plot of land the grapes come from, as well as for being the first from the Central Coast to sell red wines in a can. Located in Paso Robles’ burgeoning hub of viticulture, the Tin City development, their tasting room has recently upgraded into new digs, with the Tin Canteen restaurant opening as their new neighbors. Tasting room manager Hugo Puga says the unique atmosphere of Tin City attracts younger oenophiles, but it doesn’t hurt that, “we’re the dopest winery around.”
VINO Central Coast Edition
Q: We usually start with a, “what makes your brand unique,” question, your bio mentions several notable differences from our recent interviews. Jones: Field Recordings isn’t about an artistic expression. It’s just about telling stories. Stories of the great places and amazing people that grow grapes around the Central Coast. All we do is try and treat the grapes right and get them safely into bottle for people to enjoy. Q: Would you say you’re in on the ground floor of canned reds? How did that line come about? Jones: [That] started out as a joke back in 2014 and it took off on me. We put a little of our 2013 Fiction Red into cans and it sold out in about 30 days. We then tried it again with the 2014 and add white and rose; tripled production and sold out in about 10 days. In the end, I thought it was a great way to get more people to choose wine
over beer or spirits. Even though the cans get presented in a different fashion than our bottles, each of the wines has its own story for how it got there. Q: Anything you’d tell a fellow Millennial about wine that is left unsaid or taken for granted by an older generation? Jones: I think we need to listen to the older generation. The older folks don’t take anything for granted in my opinion. We just aren’t that great at learning from their example. Q: Does having notes and experiences with vineyards throughout the regions before starting your own label increase or diminish the desire for your own land? Do you keep in touch with folks at every vineyard you’ve worked on? Jones: I keep in touch with most. So many things to take in out there. Successes and Published by the PASO ROBLES PRESS
failures. Will make the move on land when things are right. Just haven’t come across the right opportunity yet. Q: Aside from people and place what are the inspirations you draw on? Jones: Old world stuff for sure. Trying to make something timeless. Q: Field Recordings seems to be referring to notes from the field, but we might also be led to wonder what you listen to while you work. Anything there? Jones: Field Recordings are recordings of natural occurrences. People, place and time captured in a bottle. I get the question a lot from people thinking I came from a music background. Far from it. Still listening to the same stuff I did in high school for the most part. Been on a Descendents and Lagwagon kick lately. If anyone has trouble finding the place
on Google Maps, Field Recordings’ address is 3070 Limestone Way, Paso Robles, or call 805-503-9660 for hours or reservations. INDEPENDENT MERCEDES BENZ & BMW SPECIALIST
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Central Coast Edition
Bushong Vintage offers 10 select wines on the current tasting menu and will soon release a special sparkling wine in the spring Photos Contributed by Bushong Vintage Company.
FEATURED TASTING ROOM
Bushong Vintage Company
For the love of wine and vinyl Downtown location offers more than a pour By Allyson Woolley FOR VINO MAGAZINE
igh fidelity vinyl and wines made with style, care and respect for the fruit can be enjoyed at Bushong Vintage
Company. The tasting room at 565 12th St. in Downtown Paso Robles opened about a year ago and owner and winemaker, Jason Bushong, has really taken the time to make the space a place to relax and enjoy his small-batch wines. “I really wanted the space to be unpretentious, comfortable and more like I was inviting people into my living room to drink some wine and listen to records,” said Bushong with a smile. “I really want wine to be approachable and talk people through the wines that we make and hope they enjoy the experience as much as we do.” When walking into the tasting room, 8
VINO Central Coast Edition
a visitor can’t help but get excited by the vintage Star Wars pinball machine made in 1989 — the year Bushong fell in love with wine — and the bookshelf with about 1,000 records to choose from. Then there is the diverse tasting menu at Bushong Vintage. There is a wonderful variety of wines to taste including Spanish Castle Queen, a 2017 Albarino, at the time of writing they were out of the Holocene, a 2017 Viognier and Rose Pretty in Pink, but were expecting to bottle and have the new batch out in March with a very special batch of bubbles made with Gewurztraminer. “We are about to go to bottle with our Rose that has sold out and some of our whites and a very special batch of sparkling wine made with a Gewurztraminer that I have had my eye on for years trying to get some from the grower and this year they called,” Bushong said. “We are very excited about it and everyone is loving bubbles, so it will go fast. We also make some unique wines like our 2015 Tannat, our Sweet Illusion that
is a triple cream sherry that is solera aged, and the Fire Spirit that is Petite Sirah that is aged in a bourbon barrel giving it a beautiful heady, smoky, vanilla cream, and tart cherry flavor profile.” Also on the menu to taste and purchase by the bottle are Institutionalized a 50/50 blend of Petite Sirah and Grenache, Spanish Castle Magic, a 2015 Tempranillo, and Unknown Pleasure, a blend that is 83 percent Petite Sirah and 17 percent Syrah. All of the wines made by Bushong are limited-release, small-batch wines ranging from 70 to 140 cases bottled at the top end of production. They also host vinyl nights and offer wine and cheese pairings as well as operate three wine hideaways for visitors to stay in locally.
Bushong Vintage Company is open Thursday, Friday, and Saturday from 2 to 8 p.m. And Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m. To learn more about Bushong Vintage or to book a stay in a hideaway visit, www.bushongvintagecompany.com. Published by the PASO ROBLES PRESS
Jason Bushong, owner and winemaker at Bushong Vintage Company offers his small-batch wines in style at the Downtown tasting room in Paso Robles where wine and music are the perfect pairing.
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Fossil Wine Bar
Trendy new addition to Entrada’s evolution Paul Zuniga, co-owner of Fossil Wine Bar is ready to share his knowledge and pour some hand-selected wines, beers, meads, and sake for visitors to enjoy.
By Allyson Woolley FOR VINO MAGAZINE
he Jurassic period inspired wine bar, Fossil is the newest addition to an evolution of downtown Atascadero’s Entrada Avenue. Owners, Paul and Anita Zuniga, opened in November of 2018 at 5992 Entrada and saw the potential of the location as well as an opportunity to share their passion for great wine and beer. Fossil offers a large selection of wines including reds, pinks, whites, bubbles, and dessert wines; as well as beer on tap, cider, mead, and sake. Each selection made by the Zunigas is tasted and chosen with care providing a unique menu of wines that will intrigue and engage the palate with its diversity. “We carry wines and beers that we have tasted and enjoyed and in many cases handselected while tasting with the winery or brewery,” Zuniga explained while kicking back in a plush gray high-backed love seat. “We carry local wines from ONX, LXV, and many other local boutique wineries and tend to stick to small-lot producers that are little known to offer something special to our customers. We also carry international wines from Greece, Spain, France, and Chile and will continue to carry a diverse selection of international 10 VINO Central Coast Edition
wines to taste and compare.” The wine list is vast and revolving offering something new every visit. The beers, meads, cider and sake have also been a hot commodity at Fossil. Zuniga said that the kegs go fast with local brews from Dead Oak, Earth and Fire, and Firestone rotating through the taps. “Opening this business has been a great experience and we have met a lot of wonderful people since we moved here three years ago that really helped us get to this point,” he said. “All the connections I have made in the industry working in tasting rooms and tasting around really influenced our offerings and our knowledge base. It was really the owners of LXV, Neeta and Kunal, and Tommy Booth over at The Wine Boss in Paso that gave us the push to go for it and it is going great.” Zuniga went on to explain the theme for Fossil was born out of a dual interest in wine and beer and a childhood love of dinosaurs and with the logo of T-Rex encircled in a wine glass splatter, a visitor can’t help but be intrigued. “T-Rex was always one of my favorites as a kid, so we went with that and the ring around the image is actually a wine splatter that the base of a wine glass would make,” Zuniga said explaining that it took a long time to settle on an iconic dinosaur. “We really had fun with it and the name Fossil really falls in line with the philosophy of terroir and its impact on
the flavor profile of wines. With that in mind, we inspired our amazing contractor and my wonderful wife really brought it all together and created a space that looks amazing and is very inviting.” The bar is industrial chic and was designed with a great deal of attention to detail — from the succulents hanging on the walls in built-in boxes to the section of wall made of wine barrel bisections from the winery where Zuniga got his start pouring — the space is made to be enjoyed. According to Zuniga, Fossil has become a popular hangout for locals and visitors from millennials to baby boomers. “We have been busy since we opened and are really enjoying the experience,” he said. “We are so grateful for the support and friendship of our patrons. People really seem to enjoy the space and tasting through our diverse menu of wines. We had a group in the other day that was enjoying the lounge area and talking about the wines and another at the bar enjoying beer and mead that were in there late 20’s.” Fossil Wine Bar is open Sunday, Monday, and Thursday from 3 to 9 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 3 p.m. to 11 p.m. and host winemaker pop-ups, wine tasting education nights, and participate in Atascadero Wine Walks and events. To find out about new additions to the tasting menu, events, and more, visit facebook.com/fossilwinebar. Published by the PASO ROBLES PRESS
Wine History Project Director Libbie Agran with a cardboard representation of founder Archie McLaren
Artist John Paul Brown points to examples of his label work
SLO’s Wine History Project starts 2019 Story and Photos By Camas Frank OF VINO MAGAZINE
he San Luis Obispo-based Wine History Project invited benefactors and industry leaders to a celebration with several facets Feb. 9, hosting an open house of their offices and a book launch of their first oral history publication. “Archie McLaren: The Journey from Memphis Blues to the Central Coast Wine Revolution,” was published just shy of a year since McLaren’s death and almost exactly a year since a draft was completed for his review. One of the founders of the Wine History Project, LLC in 2015, he’d made quite the name for himself in California viticulture circles over the last 40 years with the Central Coast Wine Classic events and tireless support of local arts. Speakers at the Saturday event included owners of some of the regions most recognizable labels, sipping favorite vintages, including a healthy sprinkling of Pinot Noir in McLaren’s honor, 12 VINO Central Coast Edition
Archie McLaren's assistant Beverly Aho holds the book written in his memory
and spoke about their friend. Brian Talley mused on the special language of wine as well, noting the meaning conveyed by the gift of a particularly rare bottle McLaren gave him before cancer took McClarin’s mobility. Talley said he saved it for a wedding anniversary toast. A tour of the San Luis Obispo offices at 3592 Broad St. (behind Black Horse Coffee on the way to Edna Valley) gave the Wine History Project’s collections manager, Cindy Lambert, a chance to display some interesting artifacts of the region’s agricultural and viticulture history, including a display case with a dizzying assortment of antique corkscrews and openers, some of which are recognizable to a modern gaze and many which weren’t. Larger floor displays include a salesman’s model press and a crush hopper probably used during the Prohibition-era. A wall of artistic sculpted, etched and painted magnums and other bottles from 30 years of events also take up a wall. Painter and designer James Paul Brown, who also did the portrait work displayed on the McLaren biography book jacket, was happy to point to examples of his work from days past. Local artist Colleen Gnos noted that she met McLaren in 2013 while attending an event in Avila Beach, a period during which she was herself undergoing chemotherapy. He saw her on crutches and having lost her hair and responded by focusing on her vitality, helping propel her artistic career to the next level, even though, she said, she didn’t feel ready, “he gave me a lot of support in a terrible time of my life and put me into another league with amazing artists. I’ll always be so thankful to him for that.” Wine History Project director Libbie Agran explained that much of the work the project is doing is not readily visible
Exhibits presently in the Wine History Project's San Luis Obispo Office
at the office, although it was the first time some supporters were seeing their facilities because their displays and projects are spread throughout SLO County. There are currently five main exhibits, with plans to rotate collections through locations, a mix of wineries and established museums, “In January we installed an exhibit at the Paso Robles Historical Society called Seeking Gold, Finding Grapes. In February we opened an exhibit at the Farm Bureau called Zin/ SLO — the story of the Zinfandel Grape and early growers and winemakers. In March we open a major exhibit at the SLOMA called Wine Becomes Art and an exhibition on Gary Eberle, celebrating the Winery’s 40th Anniversary,” she listed for clarification. California Wine Museum proprietor Jim McCormick, from Petaluma, noted that many of the items in the Gold Rush display housed in Paso Robles had passed through his collection. Emphasizing artifacts from the 1850-70s he noted there was a strong local connection between San Luis Obispo County and the San Francisco Region as many European immigrants who failed to strike it rich in the gold fields drifted south, bringing their own brands of viticulture and other traditions. The Wine History Project is currently staffed by five people, historians and museum professionals in collaboration with advisors and founding members. Originally tasked with, “studying the land, microclimates, grape varietals, growers and winemakers who have shaped the wine history of San Luis Obispo County” they collect and archive historical photographs, documents, videography and recordings as a preservation resource. For book copy information and other questions, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Published by the PASO ROBLES PRESS
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Central Coast Edition
Edward Ruiz Executive Chef
Sycamore Mineral Springs Resort and Spa
Gardens of Avila revamped Story and Photos By Camas Frank OF VINO MAGAZINE
harles Crellin, general manager of Sycamore Mineral Springs Resort and Spa, notes that one of the most frequently asked questions he gets isn’t about the sulfur springs themselves or the many hiking and recreational opportunities available to visitors and guests alike at the resort, but what about what’s going on in a stretch of flood plain along the Bob Jones Trail. The trail meanders along an old railroad right of way abutting San Luis Obispo Creek all the way to the community of Avila Beach proper. And even in winter months, perhaps 14 VINO Central Coast Edition
especially in winter months after a brisk rain, it takes hikers past lush green fields. Approaching the connection to the Sycamore property from the east, a collection of rustcolored steel pylons jut skyward out of fertile soil. “I wish we could say it was some kind of advanced agricultural technique [as some people assume],” Crellin said with a chuckle, but explained that the area was originally prepared for hotel rooms just before the economic crisis of 2009, and ownership thought better of finishing construction. “That makes us really fortunate, and really unique in the area that we’ve had that land and been able to have an entire acre dedicated to a Chef’s Garden right in the
Avila Valley.” The Chef’s Garden has taken several forms over the years, and while it’s never failed to produce an abundance of seasonal vegetables of the Garden of Avila Restaurant and partner businesses Apple Farm in San Luis Obispo and Sea Venture in Pismo Beach, the plots have taken a beating from weather since the last two growing seasons. Now the time has come for a new look at the gardens to go with a new executive chef (since September), a farming consultant, and a new full-time staff position to tend to the facility. “We [kitchen staff] had been out there doing what we could to get something special out of it,” said Edward Ruiz, executive Published by the PASO ROBLES PRESS
chef at the Restaurant, who had been on staff for a year before being promoted. “But it’s hard to split your time, especially with a popular place when you need everyone in the kitchen.” Nevertheless, he said the Garden’s contributions are invaluable, “At a resort people are on vacation so of course, some will want steak and potatoes, but we have people coming right out of the yoga dome to the restaurant and they want something light.” House salads of whatever is fresh at the moment are a specialty — the restaurant launched a new menu on Feb. 2 — with edible flowers one of the more interesting additions to come from the field. Those pair well with pasta and fish dishes especially, he notes. Growing up around the strawberry fields of Nipomo, Ruiz added, he appreciates the work that goes into growing the foods he prepares, and, as an adult, even has a soft spot for all the healthy food his grandmother made which he didn’t like as a youth. At the resort, his kitchen can go full vegan, although the chickpeas, quinoa, black beans and sweet potatoes that make up that signature dish are not currently coming from
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the garden. He added they’re still sourced as Garden is not currently open to the public, much as possible from as close to home as but Ruiz said he hopes to add more of an possible. outdoor cooking area for events in the Whereas plots kept by individual chefs future and there is an established space for and grounds crews has worked in the past, some sort of beer garden as well. In season, with sustainable gardening techniques soil Crellin suggests June or the colors of the is amendment guided by a consultant using Fall harvest, the area can be reserved for fertilizers from Paso Robles, Crellin noted private banquets, events, and weddings. It they’re ready for a new full-time employee, is located just over the Sycamore bridge, a Atascadero-native Haley Trengove, to start three-minute walk from our main building. whipping the acre into shape for this spring. For coordination, email email@example.com. “I’ve lived in a lot of places and been a professional farmer since college but this is definitely one of the most community oriented,” she said, noting that she wasn’t at liberty to Nothing changes say much about any your body like Offering group and private changes planned classes utilizing the PILATES! at the site, at least Pilates Reformer, Chair and Trap Table. not in her first week OVER We are all highly on the job, but she certiﬁed, trained Pilates classes noted the location’s professionals with years of teaching experience. each week! potential, “I’m so excited to be able Established studio (11 years!) with Pilates apparatus & mat classes to spend my time shaping this space.” 5815 Traffic Way, Atascadero | 805.466.9642 | NorthCountyPilates.com The Chef’s
Central Coast Edition
1122 Cocktail Lounge and Speakeasy
A superior drinking experience
Spirit Society geared toward locals
By Brian Williams OF VINO MAGAZINE
ore and more people are looking for a place that rekindles the romanticism of a night out and brings them into the experience. Places like 1122 Cocktail Lounge and Speakeasy in Paso Robles are seemingly transporting patrons back in time and offering a level of service and mixed drinks unmatched in the region. “People want a comfortable lounge to step into and they want an atmosphere that makes them feel like they have been transported outside of Paso Robles,” says General Manager Tony Bennett. “I feel like we’ve done an excellent job providing that.” Eleven Twenty Two is the brainchild of cousins Donovan Schmit and Troy Larkin, who also own and operate Pappy McGregor’s and Fish Gaucho in Paso Robles. “Because of the level of the culinary scene and now the craft cocktails, we just thought it was the right time to do this and so far it has been amazing,” Schmit says. Usually, it takes years for places like this to gain a following and with it national notoriety. Eleven Twenty Two opened June 8, 2018, and in November was placed on a list of “All of the Speakeasies & Hidden Bars You Need to Visit ASAP.” The list of 46 reads like a who’s who of the speakeasy world and literally includes locations from around the globe. “It was a pretty cool list to be on, one that we are proud of,” Schmit says. “Put us on the map. That was really awesome. We had a five-year goal and it happened in less than 6 months.” The Internet and social media have made it impossible for speakeasies of 16 VINO Central Coast Edition
today to enjoy the same level of intrigue as the OGs from the 1920 and 1930s. Pictures of their decor and of their drinks are readily available even if cell phone usage is curbed as they enter the door off of Railroad Street. Speakeasies, though illegal, were numerous and popular during the Prohibition years. Some were operated by people who were part of organized crime. Even though police and agents of the Bureau of Prohibition would often raid them and arrest their owners and patrons, they were so profitable that they continued to flourish. The speakeasy soon became one of the biggest parts of American culture during this time. From the beginning, the speakeasy was relatively small with little or no entertainment involved, but through gradual growth, it popularized and expanded to many different areas with new additions of entertainment and eventually made the speakeasy one of the biggest businesses during Prohibition. The establishments died with the end of Prohibition. Shortly before the turn of the century, speakeasy-style bars experienced a successful rebirth in larger cities, and over the past 10-15 years, they have begun popping up more and more up in smaller, touristy cities like Paso Robles. The storage garage at the back of Pappy McGregor’s Irish Pub, at 1122 Pine St., was transformed into 1122 Cocktail Lounge and Speakeasy. Yes, the name comes from the address. “It was really an eyesore,” Schmit recalled. “We didn’t realize how little space we needed to pull it off and the garage space was perfect.” Much like the other two ventures, the cousins did not go into 1122 without first doing three years of homework, which included visits to iconic speakeasies New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and New Orleans. Much of the decor for Published by the PASO ROBLES PRESS
Lounge Manager Tony Bennett and his team of bartenders are always ready to create a cocktail masterpiece.
1122 was inspired by these visits. “A smashup of about 10 or 15 of our favorite places,” Schmit says. “Usually when we open a business we do a lot of research and a lot of travel…searching out these and constantly taking photos and notes. The padded walls were something we saw in Las Vegas, the lights are a play off of something we saw in New Orleans, so everything little thing, the chandelier and the heavy wood ceiling was at another place, so it was just all of our favorite elements. “It turned out amazing,” Schmit says of the finished space. The 1,000-square-foot establishment fits about 30 people and is technically located on the back patio of Pappy McGregor’s. The easiest way to find 1122 is by entering Pappy’s McGregor’s, walking through the back patio and then out to the door on Railroad Street. The only way in is through the door on Railroad Street. It’s a dark brown nondescript door that does not have a doorknob. There is no flashy signage, just a square doorbell off to the right of the door below a larger square area with an unusual pattern of 11 dots and 22 dots. Unlike their predecessors in the 20s and 30s, no password is necessary to enter, though customers must ring the doorbell, just once, to initiate entrance. After ringing the bell, the host greets the visitors through Published by the PASO ROBLES PRESS
a small opening in the door, and if space permits the door opens and people step into a curtained staging area where they are met with jazz music playing in the background and suggestions from the host, such as turning off your cell phone, to make the evening memorable. “We are really trying to stress conversation and meeting the person next to you even though it might be a stranger,” Schmit says, “and just enjoy the vibe and atmosphere.” Once the curtain is pulled back, people get their first look at the expansive, elegant bar complete with a chandelier overhead and nine barstools in front of them. A slight turn of their head reveals two intimate seating areas in each corner of the room featuring plush high-backed booths and marbletopped cocktail tables. “People have fallen in love with the entry,” Schmit says. “They think it is really cool. Most people come in and they just stare around on their first visit for like the first 5 minutes, just looking at all of the detail.” “Yeah, it’s hard to get them to order a cocktail because they are just taking it all in,” Tony Bennett said. “It’s cool to see peoples’ reactions.” During the week drinks are finished tableside from the drink cart for those enjoying the cozy corner booths. Elven Twenty Two boasts 150 bottles of
spirits including a selection of rare highly allocated whiskey, cognac, scotch, brandy, local and imported. The cocktail menu changes seasonally and includes not only the classics but also original drinks from the minds of the staff. Drinks start at $10. On the weekends, there is usually a line outside the door to get into 1122. Through the week, however, it’s a different story and is prime time for locals and 1122 Spirit Society members. The members-only Society includes 10 percent off cocktails and spirits, and invitations to member-only society nights, theme parties as well as access to ultralimited labels. “A lot of people are making this their place to go after work and are coming in a couple of nights a week now,” Bennett says of the Society’s impact. “Our community is seeing that we are making an effort to really make this something that could be a great spot for locals as well as a great spot for people coming through town.”
The lounge doesn’t serve food; the business is open from Tuesday through Thursday from 7 p.m. to midnight; Sunday from 7 p.m. to midnight and from 5 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. Friday and Saturday. Central Coast Edition
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‘Sustainably brewed’ By Connor Allen OF VINO MAGAZINE The “Seven Sisters” are a symbol for those that live in and around San Luis Obispo. Part of nine peaks that were formed as welled up magma plugs, they are our skyscrapers and highlight our city just as the Space Needle does in Seattle or the Sears Tower in Chicago. Our landmarks are natural, sprung from the earth, covered in greens and yellows and beautiful, shimmering flower blooms during the spring. Rather than pay a toll and take an elevator to get to the top of the seven sisters for your scenic view you must hike, outside, in the sunlight amidst the trees, wilding life, and other people because San Luis has long been known as one of the happiest, fittest and healthiest cities. 7Sisters Brewing Company is quickly becoming a Central Coast landmark in its own right and is quite aptly named as it has to be the most environmentally friendly bar that you will ever step foot in. Owner and 20 VINO Central Coast Edition
brewmaster Steve Van Middlesworth spends his days as an environmental engineer and has a passion for good times and good beer. He opened the brewery and taproom in 2017. “After having spent most of my younger life growing up drinking Miller Genuine Draft or Coor Lite,” Van Middlesworth reminisced. “MGD was my beer for a really long time. I was then exposed to Guinness and I realized, at that point, that beer can actually taste good. It can be something you enjoy.” At 26 or 27 years of age, Guinness is not cheap, so Van Middlesworth began home brewing and a passion was born. Now years later, he is using his expertise in environmental engineering to change the brewing process and has built a brewery that echos the same environmental conscious message with a cool rustic style. “I basically redesigned the brewing process with the intent that it use less water, less chemicals, and less energy,” Van Middlesworth said. “Those are the three big consumable items in the brewing industry.
So the system that I have now, I developed over three or four years as a home brewer with the intent to scale it up and it does, it uses significantly less water, energy and chemicals.” While the beer is made with fewer chemicals and less energy it sacrifices no taste. They have of course seven flagship beers after the seven sisters and undoubtedly have something for everyone. They have a Kolsch, a regular stout and a pepper stout that is a staple and is rich with flavor like the beers he grew up wanting to purchase. They also have a lemon Gose, a hazy double IPA, Belgian ale and even specialties like a Kombeercha. And from time to time, Van Middlesworth will have a guest beer on tap. “We like to keep the taps as full as possible with our own beers but we also really like to highlight other local tiny breweries like us,” he said. 7Sisters also caters to the vegan community as they have several vegan beers and food options on their menu that are clearly labeled. Published by the PASO ROBLES PRESS
“There are two products that will make a product not vegan,” Van Middlesworth said. “.... So we don’t use those things, and consciously don’t use them, and kind of really at the request of the vegan community here, which is growing, we stopped using gelatin and have started things that are vegan and marked as vegan so they don’t have to guess.” From the brewing process to the beer selection, to even the lights that only add up to about 150 watts when all turned on, there is no part of 7Sisters that isn’t green. The brewery is tucked away on the south side of San Luis Obispo off of Tank Farm Road and much like how the first thing you notice when you enter SLO is the large green mountains that outline the city, when you enter 7Sisters you can’t help but marvel over the artfully spray-painted mural of the mountain range, with a modern style, on the wall spanning around 30 feet high. As your eyes move through the brewery you will notice the tables are recycled lab tables that have been repurposed. The base of the bar top is made from old lockers with small knicks in their paint and a worn silence that seems to suggest they have secrets within them. The wall opposite of the mural has metal
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doors that raise to reveal a back patio with succulents and picnic benches to enjoy on those warm summer evenings. It feels like you are in an after-school shop class with Van Middlesworth as your laid back shop professor but instead giving tests, he is pouring beer. If you build up an appetite or get a case of the munchies 7Sisters also has a kitchen. The menu is limited but also stays environmentally friendly. “You are never in a bad mood when you are drinking beer,” Van Middlesworth said. “People are always happy when they are drinking beer and being apart of that happiness really appealed to me. I had all these parties and I thought it would be cool to have a constant party where people are always happy and drinking beer and talking to each other.” Not just entertainment, but the diversity of entertainment is a big part of what makes 7Sisters so unique. In one week they can feature any number of different options ranging from Irish music, a local indy artist, rock music, Cabaret, improv, comedy and open mic nights. It isn’t the biggest brewery and it’s not a place that you will be able to sample 20
7Sisters owner and brewmaster
Steve Van Middlesworth different beers from all across the world but it is a brewery that will give you a taste of what San Luis Obispo is all about. 7Sisters Brewing located at 181 Tank Farm Rd., Ste. 110, San Luis Obispo. For more information, visit www.7sistersbrewing.com.
Central Coast Edition
Central Coast Distillery
Worth a stop on Traffic Way Story and Photos By Camas Frank OF VINO MAGAZINE
Eric Olson opened The Central Coast Distillery on Jan. 19.
Sherry and Tommy Gong with Eric Olson 22 VINO Central Coast Edition
he Central Coast Distillery, a new boutique distillery serving handcrafted and small batch spirits opened just in time for the Tamale Festival in Downtown Atascadero, on Jan. 19. Eric Olson, a chef by trade, whose recent business ventures include the Allegretto Vineyard Resort in Paso Robles with his wife Anna, was putting the final touches on the Distillery tasting room right up to the last minute. Anticipating some interest from passersby as the doors finally opened after a year of effort, he offered visitors Margaritas with honey vodka, fresh pair mojitos and organic Gin and Tonic, along with a salsa bar during the Tamale Fest. San Luis Obispo County Clerk Recorder, and Atascadero Resident Tommy Gong was among the early birds, taking home gift wrapped bottles of the locally produced spirits. With a street side view in the corner of the El Paseo, center on Traffic Way, the tasting room and production facility also feature an upstairs classroom where educational courses on the industry and culinary arts are planned. The first course after the opening focused on best practices for servers and bartenders with Darin Biamonte, veteran law enforcement officer bringing hands-on experience and sharing hard won knowledge from participation in Alcohol and Beverage Control sting operations. Olson noted the classes even before describing the fine craftsmanship of his cocktails,
sayings, “we’re big believers in safety and responsible indulgence,” and adding that he’ll be paying just as much attention to serving good food. With the product already on the wholesale market under the brand Forager, Olson was busy on a Tuesday afternoon taking samples from the latest batch to be sent to a lab for tests. “You know I’ve always been driven to [offer] the highest quality, as a chef... that was my passion to give the best,” he said, adding that for his newest craft he spent two years learning from distilleries in Kentucky, Utah, Tennessee, Washington, and Texas. Utah particularly he noted has a fine tradition of making agave products, although that’s not the state’s most well-known reputation. On the centralcoastdistillery.net website, he gets more specific about a mission statement: We hold to our belief and contribute to sustainable practices starting only with natural ingredients, utilizing organics when possible. Our Central California location affords us an abundance of resources within a region of various microclimates making it easy to work in harmony with our local beekeepers, farmers, and viticulturists to source our honey, grains, and fruits. In addition, we forage the land and sea hand gathering botanical and ingredients to use in our cocktails, menus and garnishments. Regular hours are still subject to change as the fine tuning of the establishment is in progress, but flight tastings of vodka distilled from raw honey, organic gin, bourbon whiskey, and rum aged in bourbon barrels will be available at their location at 5804 Traffic Way. (805) 901-6094 for information. Published by the PASO ROBLES PRESS
Riboli Family of San Antonio Winery is ‘American Winery of the Year’ California’s Riboli family, of the historic San January 2019. to be invaluable to the winery. Another Antonio Winery in downtown Los Angeles, “It’s an evolution story,” said Anthony Italian immigrant by the name of Maddalena received Wine Enthusiast’s prestigious Wine Riboli, a fourth-generation vintner and Satragni caught his eye one day while she Star Award for “American Winery of the great-grandnephew of Santo Cambianica. was out riding a tractor east of Los Angeles Year” at the Nobu Eden Roc in Miami Beach. “It’s what my grandparents [Stefano and farming the fields. They married shortly after The black-tie gala honors innovators and Maddalena Riboli] taught us: reinventing in 1946. When Santo passed, his wish of stalwarts who are shaping the present and what you’re doing and never sitting back and the couple inheriting the winery came true, future of the wine, spirits and beer industry. saying, ‘It’s good enough.’” allowing San Antonio Winery to stay within The 102-year-old San Antonio Winery has Tradition, expertise and family values the family and grow beyond its roots as L.A.’s been a beloved fixture in the Los Angeles have been the core foundation upon which original urban winery. “In the 1980s, being community bringing the taste of California the Riboli family has built its legacy. Their a winery in Los Angeles was not cool,” said and Italy’s finest wines to the greater area wines are not only held at the highest Steve Riboli, Anthony’s uncle and a thirdand across the country. generation vintner. “But Known for revolutionizing today, we talk about the the wine industry by creating word ‘urban,’ and every a broad range of wines millennial thinks that’s including the ultra-successful where it’s at.” Stella Rosa collection, and Four generations San Simeon and Maddalena later, both Stefano and wines, among others, Maddalena, respectively Riboli Family of San Antonio 97 and 95 years old, Winery is a prime example still play a vital role in of a thriving family business the winery’s success. of four generations. Their They continue devoting ability to adapt and contine their time to mentor the to innovate with the times younger generations of and appeal to an everthe Riboli family, including changing demographic of their three children Santo, national wine drinkers has Cathy, and Steve, who made them one of the most together grew up working successful wineries in the in the winery and continue United States. to implement the family From left to right: Santo Riboli, Cathy Riboli, Steve Riboli, “My brothers Steve, Santo, values and work ethic they and Wine Enthusiast writer Matt Kettmann and I would like to dedicate learned as children, each this award to our parents. with daily responsibilities Stefano and Maddalena Riboli, or Nonno and regard, but with each sip comes a story of in administration, sales and hospitality. Nonna as we affectionally call them, who are perseverance, dedication, and rich history. “This mentality has been the driving force now 97 and 96 years old,” said vice president San Antonio Winery is the last remaining for our fourth generation,” said president Cathy Riboli, as she received the award winery in downtown L.A. – a hidden gem Santo Riboli. “My son and winemaker onstage. “From pioneering the tasting room and a historical landmark operating in the Anthony Riboli, my niece Lisa and my concept to becoming the first winery to same community it was founded more than nephews Dante and Chris, are all working open a restaurant in California, our parents 100 years ago by a young hopeful Italian hard to make sure our vision continues on to have made some amazing strides in the wine immigrant named Santo Cambianica. future generations.” industry and continue to inspire us daily with During the Prohibition era, the L.A. wine Today, the family’s historic L.A. location, new ideas.” industry was forever changed when more Ontario (east of Los Angeles), and Paso Testament to the Riboli family’s success is than 100 wineries were forced to shut Robles locations continue to attract locals its ability to innovate. Aside from its estate their doors. San Antonio Winery, however, and visitors alike. vineyards covering more than 1,000 acres stood the test of time and flourished as the across California’s Central Coast, the family number one producer of altar wines. In 1936 For more information, has also built a state-of-the-art, energy- a young Stefano Riboli emigrated to the U.S. visit www.riboliwines.com. efficient winery in Paso Robles, with an from northern Italy and began apprenticing adjacent events center scheduled to open under his uncle Santo, soon proving himself -Staff Report
24 VINO Central Coast Edition
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• Burgers • Veg Burgers • Chicken Sandwiches • Chicken Strips • Salads • Milkshakes • Kids’ Menu
COMBO MEAL buy one at regular price, get the 2nd at 50% off
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8605 El Camino Real • Atascadero • 805-538-5140 747 Spring Street • Paso Robles • 805-226-7354
CALENDAR OF EVENTS THURSDAY, MARCH 7 McPrice Myers Wine Company Estate Winemaker Dinner
Join McPrice Myers Wine Company for their first winemaker dinner on their estate. Enjoy a 5-course meal by Chef Peter Haller, paired with wines and conversation from McPrice Myers. This is an intimate evening from 7 to 10 p.m. for only 16 guests at their Hilltop Guest House situated on their vineyard estate overlooking the McPrice Myers winery. The view is breathtaking with a spectacular panorama of mountains from Monterey through to the Pinnacles. McPrice Myers is located at 3525 Adelaida Rd., Paso Robles. For more information call 805-2371245.
SATURDAY, MARCH 9 Bubblicious Craft Cocktail Class
Learn how to craft a cocktail like a pro! Join us for our first Sip & Learn Bubblicious Craft Cocktail Class! Hoyt Family Vineyard Tasting room is located at 1322 Park St. in Paso Robles. Price $35. 410-487-2701 for more information email email@example.com.
SATURDAY AND SUNDAY, MARCH 9 – 10 Mitchella’s 9th Annual Crab Feed
Get ready for all you can eat crab at Mitchella! For the 9th year in a row, they will be hosting their Crab Feed on Saturday, March 9 and Sunday, March 10 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $75 and $60 for club members. Space is limited 2525 Mitchell Ranch Way in Paso Robles.
Hearst Ranch Legacy Club Mardi Gras Pick-Up Party
Grab your beads and join the fun! Legacy Club Members join us for our Mardi Gras themed Spring Club Pick-Up Party. Three party times to choose from: March 9 from 12 to 2 p.m. and 3 to 5 p.m. or March 10 from 12-2 p.m. Event will be hosted at our Event Warehouse in San Simeon. Seaside Warehouse San Simeon is located at 442 SLO San Simeon Road in San Simeon. Complimentary to Legacy Club MembersReservations Required. For more information call 805-467-2241. 26 VINO Central Coast Edition
TUESDAY, MARCH 12
Dinner at La Bodegas Tapas
La Bodegas Tapas featuring Damian Grindley, Brecon Estate 6-9 p.m. Wine Appreciation Night Come celebrate with us as we pair amazing locally sourced tapas with our regional wines. Open menu created by Executive Chef Fernando Rodriquez. No reservations. La Bodega Tapas Pismo Beach is located at 790 Price St. For more information call 805-295-5400 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
FRIDAY THROUGH SUNDAY, MARCH 15-17 Vintage Paso: Zinfandel Weekend: Cheers To Zinfandel
Once a year Paso Robles toasts our heritage variety, Zinfandel. The 3-day celebration features winery events, a Zin seminar, and the Z After Party. You’ll find a wine lover’s paradise in Paso Robles.
FRIDAY, MARCH 15 Vintage Paso: Zinposium Seminar
Experience an overview of Paso Robles Zinfandels during Zinposium from 5:30 to 6:45 p.m. Zinposium is a unique Zin-focused seminar featuring a panel of winemakers, tasting you through the heritage grape of Paso Robles. Janell Dusi, J Dusi Wines Neil Collins, Lone Madrone (moderator) David Young, Minassian-Young Vineyards Doug Beckett, Peachy Canyon Winery Brennan Stover, Turley Wine Cellars Tickets are $40 per person. Paso Robles Inn Ballroom is located at 1103 Spring St. in Paso Robles. Price Call 805-239-8463 for more information or email email@example.com. email firstname.lastname@example.org.
THURSDAY, MARCH 21 March Wine Bingo
Forget everything that you ever thought you knew about Bingo. We are thrilled to host this Wine Bingo event at Cava Robles RV Resort, with cheese platters available at the event. From 6 to 9 p.m. Cava RV Resort 3800 Golden Hill Rd., Paso Robles. Price $25 per
March / April 2019 person, $20 Wine Club Members Phone 8054346457 Email kelsey@ brokenearthwinery.com
SATURDAY, MARCH 23 “Tour of Paso” Ride and Cancer Benefit
Sign up and take part in this beautiful ride through Paso Robles wine country while your registration fees go toward fighting cancer. Pedal through rolling hills, vineyards and wildflowers, then finish at Niner Winery for a gourmet lunch at the finish. The event is from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. NIner Winery 2400 W. Highway 46, Paso Robles. Price $75 For more information call 805-238-4411 or email email@example.com.
SUNDAY, MARCH 24 Hearst Ranch Winery Winemaker Dinner at Oceanpoint
You’re invited to a Spring Winemaker Dinner with Oceanpoint Ranch and Hearst Ranch Winery. Dinner will be held at The Canteen at Oceanpoint Ranch. From 6 to 9 p.m. Oceanpoint Ranch, 7200 Moonstone Beach Dr., Cambria. Price $95 per person. For more information call 805-927-4648.
SUNDAY, MARCH 31 HammerSky Farmhouse Chefs Dinner
Farmhouse Dinners are Back! We will be hosting exclusive monthly dinners in our beautiful Farmhouse Inn. Contact Mel@ hammersky.com or call 805-239-0930 to reserve your spot today. A waiting list will be implemented. HammerSky Vineyards & Inn is located 7725 Vineyard Dr., Paso Robles.
SATURDAY AND SUNDAY, APRIL 6 – 7 Live Music & Wine 4 Paws Weekend
Please join us as we help Woods continue to care for homeless animals in our community who await their “forever homes”. Visit www. wine4paws.com for more info.
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CALENDAR OF EVENTS ‘La Vie en Rosé’: Rosé Release Weekend
Join us for our ‘La Vie en Rosé’ as we release our 2018 Estate Rosé and support the fight against breast cancer. Central Coast. No reservations required. $20 pp | Complimentary for Wine Club Members (up to four guests) 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sextant Wines, 2324 W. Highway 46, Paso Robles
SATURDAY, APRIL 6 Vintner & Vines Tour
Deep in the willow creek district of Paso Robles, discover distinctive Italian wines unique to Pelletiere Estate by walking with our winemaker, Amy Butler and Vintner, Janis Pelletiere Estate Vineyard & Winery is located at 3280 Township Road in Paso Robles. For more information call 805-2399432 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
April Vineyard Hike
Join Halter Ranch’s vineyard manager, Lucas Pope, on a walking tour of our sustainable
March / April 2019 46, Paso Robles. 805-226-4891 events@ ninerwine.com
vineyard. Halter Ranch, 8910 Adelaida Rd., Paso Robles. 805-226-9455 info@ halterranch.com
SATURDAY, APRIL 27
SATURDAY, APRIL 13
Sunset Crab Feed at Opolo
Winemaker Tour and Lunch
The Sunset Crab Feed has quickly become a favorite event and there are two nights to join the fun in 2019! Price $100 members and $120 non-members. Opolo Vineyards, 7110 Vineyard Dr., Paso Robles. 805-2389593 Email email@example.com.
Join winemaker Jason Joyce as he leads a tour and discussion at each of our 3 vineyards. Please arrive at Calcareous by 8:45 am on April 13, to ensure the tour begins promptly at 9 am. Calcareous Vineyard, 3430 Peachy Canyon Rd., Paso Robles. Price $50 for Wine Club Members. Phone 805-239-0289 Email firstname.lastname@example.org
SATURDAY, MAY 11
Spring Winemaker Dinner
Join us for an intimate reception and three-course dinner paired with delightful Adelaida wines. 6 to 9 p.m. Adelaida Vineyards and Winery 5805 Adelaida Rd., Paso Robles. $165 per person or $145 for club member. 805-239-8980 email@example.com.
FRIDAY, APRIL 26 Pop-up Dinner: A Night in Tuscany
Our pop-up dinners are casual extensions of our restaurant philosophy and are served family-style. The event is from 6 to 8 p.m. Niner Wine $75 per person, $65 for Wine Club Members. Estates 2400 Highway
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Central Coast Edition
WEEKEND BRUNCH! Saturday & Sunday 10am-12:30pm
Join us every Saturday & Sunday at 10am for Weekend Brunch. Enjoy our full menu, plus 6 additional Brunch inspired items, brunch cocktails, mimosas specials plus 4 different Bloody Maryâ€™s to choose from! Weekend Brunch served 10am-12:30 every Saturday & Sunday
1122 Pine St. 805-238-7070 www.PappyMcGregors.com @PappyMcGregors
March - April 2019