Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Bubbles: A Definitive Guide

As we come to the end of another year in Paso Robles Wine Country, we take a moment to reflect on a year of good times and fun wine tastings, and raise our glass to a year well spent. With a New Year fresh on the horizon, there’s no better way to move forward than to grab a bottle of bubble and make a toast to 2015. If you find yourself trying to decide on which sparkling wine to pour to for your festivities, read on for a definitive explanation of bubbles.

Bubbles are all categorized as sparkling wines, but not all bubbles are called Champagne. Here’s a quick primer and a few recommendations so you can find the perfect pour to toast in the New Year:

Champagne: Many people use this term interchangeably for any sparkling wine, but Champagne is a region in France. Champagnes can run the gamut in taste from sweet to very dry and in price from affordable to break the bank.

Proseco: This Italian sparkler usually has a fruit forward style and is dry to very dry.

Cava: In Spanish, cava means cave or cellar, a nod to how this Spanish sparkling got its name. Like Champagne, Cava can go from bone dry to sweet.

No celebration is complete without that telltale pop of the cork and spray of foam that only comes from a bottle of bubbles. There are a handful of wineries on the Central Coast that produce sparkling wines, including Laetitia Vineyards and Cellars, Cass Winery, Chronic Cellars and Domaine Le Mieux. Pick one up today for your New Year’s Eve celebration, or take a wine tasting tour with The Wine Wrangler and taste them in person.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

A Toast to the Holiday Feast

Many Paso Robles Wine Club members set aside their wine shipments to enjoy during the holidays when they can share them with their family and friends, while others like to spend a day wine tasting in Paso Robles Wine Country and selecting a few new favorites for the holiday table. Whether you’re in the first group, or the second, no doubt you’re looking for the perfect wine suggestions so you can pair the right wine with your holiday meal.

Here are a few suggestions for the traditional meals that might be gracing your table this season:

The Holiday Ham: Whether glazed or topped with pineapple slices and brown sugar, choose a Zinfandel or Pinot Noir—or go white with a Roussane or Marsanne blend.

Prime Rib: Ultra succulent and savory, a fatty beef roast with rosemary and herbs needs a wine that can stand up to its flavors. Choose a Cabernet or Bordeaux blend.

Roast Goose: The rich, dark meat of roasted goose needs a wine that can complement its flavors without getting lost in the mix. Choose a Syrah for this feast.

Pork Crown Roast: Tucked beneath a glaze of apricots and served with cornbread dressing, a Grenache blend is the perfect choice.

Roast Duck: Fatty, wild and complex—for some, duck is an acquired taste, but when paired with a Rhone blend, you’ll have everyone asking for seconds.

Finding the perfect wine for your holiday feast takes only a little planning. Use the guide above, or choose one of the recent selections from the Paso Robles Wine Club. Finally, remember that choosing the perfect wine for your holiday celebration is more than just choosing the right wine to pair with the main course. Remember to select a local Sauvignon or Chardonnay to pair with your cheese course.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

The Palate: In Good Taste

The Paso Robles Wine Region is home to over 200 wineries and an untold number of artisan food producers who make everything from olive oil and salami to French bread and goat cheese. Visitors to Paso Robles enjoy both the scenic and gustatory pleasures while riding around the back roads, visiting wineries and tasting winez. Over the course of a few days or a long weekend, the average person can encounter all sorts of new tastes—some pleasing and some, not so much. So, why is it that what pleases one person’s palate is a total fail for another’s?

The mystery of the palate has long been pondered, but the science behind taste leaves little to the imagination. The palate is located on the roof of the mouth where it separates the oral cavity from the nasal cavity, but that separation doesn’t mean that smell doesn’t affect one’s sense of taste.

On the contrary, taste is a complicated matter that includes not only the tastes buds (those raised bumps on the tongue’s surface) but a processing of temperature, texture, and even psychology—or past experiences.

The average adult has 10,000 taste buds located in an intricate network of taste receptors. When food—or drink—comes into contact with these receptors, they process the information and send a message to the brain. The brain then sorts out the information and decides whether the taste is pleasant or unpleasant.

Pleasing tastes vary widely from one individual to another and a person’s taste buds can even be influence by genetics. As a person ages, they have fewer taste buds, which explains why tastes change as we age.

The best way to keep young is to tantalize your taste buds with all sorts of new tastes. A Wine Wrangler Adventure Tour can take you wine tasting throughout the Paso Robles Wine Region where you can enjoy a day of introducing your taste buds to all sorts of new things to love.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Found: The Perfect Holiday Gift

As the holiday season gains momentum, it gets increasingly more difficult to find the time to get out and shop for the perfect holiday gift for the wine lover in your life. The Paso Robles Wine Region is home to over 200 wineries, each with its own unique wine crafted by an expert wine maker. Even if you wanted to select the perfect selection of wines from the Paso Robles AVA, you would have to commit to spending days driving from one winery to the next, wine tasting, and picking the ones that you felt would not only reflect the area, but please the palate.

With a membership in the Paso Robles Wine Club, you can give that special person a taste of Paso Robles Wine Country. Wines are selected from a range of boutique and larger wineries and each wine shipment is hand-selected to include premium Paso Robles wines.

Choose one of these shipments for the perfect gift:

Rustler: Looking for the perfect way to taste the best the Paso Robles AVA has to offer—but in a smaller package? The Rustler fits the bill. You’ll receive 3 bottles of premium wine three times a year—and the price will never exceed $120 per shipment.

Wrangler: Thrill your palate with a varied selection of premium wines from the Paso Robles AVA. This package includes 6 bottles of premium wines shipped three times a year at or less than $240 a shipment.

High Plains Drifter: COMING SOON! This will be a completely custom select shipment.

By giving that special person in your life a membership in the Paso Robles Wine Club, you’re not only giving them a shipment of wine, but an opportunity to taste a variety of premium wines from the Paso Robles AVA, named by Wine Enthusiast Magazine, 2013 Wine Region of the year. This year, give the wine lovers in your life a gift of good taste.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Forget Black Friday: The Perfect Gifts for Wine Lovers

Once the holidays arrive, it seems time speeds up. There’s no better example of the quickening pace and hectic rush to get things accomplished than the arrival of ‘Black Friday,’ that all American event when shoppers everywhere hit the stores to find the perfect holiday gift. But, shopping for the wine lover—and picking up the perfect gift—doesn’t involve anything more taxing than making a turkey sandwich and turning on the computer.

If you’re looking for the perfect gift for the wine lovers in your life, why not pick up one—or more of the following:

Give the Gift of Wine: Need the ultimate gift for the wine lover in your life? Give the gift of wine by choosing a membership in the Paso Robles Wine Club. You choose the shipment that fits your budget and the occasion and you can select red or white wine, or a mix. Choose from these packages:

Rustler: Looking for the perfect way to taste the best the Paso Robles AVA has to offer—but in a smaller package? The Rustler fits the bill. You’ll receive 3 bottles of premium wine three times a year—and the price will never exceed $120 per shipment.
Wrangler: Thrill your palate with a varied selection of premium wines from the Paso Robles AVA. This package includes 6 bottles of premium wines shipped three times a year at or less than $240 a shipment.
High Plains Drifter: COMING SOON! This will be a completely custom select shipment.

Give a Wine Tasting Tour: The Wine Wrangler offers an array of wine tasting tours to fit even the most discerning. Here are a few of the most popular:

½ Day Wine Tasting Adventure Tour: On this tour, you’ll visit 3-4 wineries with one of our personable and knowledgeable guides. Many wineries will waive the tasting fees with the purchase of wine. This tour is available Sunday through Friday.
Level 1 Introduction to Great Paso Robles Wines Tour: This tour is the perfect introduction to Paso Robles Wine Country and the perfect opportunity to stock your wine cellar. Available daily, you’ll enjoy visiting 4 wineries over the course of approximately 4 hours. Tasting fees are waived. Our drivers will stop so you can enjoy lunch on your own, or if you’d like, we can provide a picnic lunch for you for an additional fee.
Level 2 Wine Wrangler Adventure Tour: This tour is not only our most popular, but our most social, as well. You’ll tour with other guests and enjoy tasting at 4-6 wineries while learning a little more about our area. The tour usually lasts about 5 hours and includes a picnic lunch.

Give them the Adventure of a Lifetime: For the person who really does have it all—or would like to—there’s nothing better than the perfect getaway adventure to the incredible timeless beauty of Big Sur. How wonderful would this be?

Big Sur Tour: Anyone who has traveled along California’s coast knows how breathtakingly beautiful it is, but the Big Sur coastline is 10 times more beautiful. This tour will have you cruising along the coast and enjoying the scenery as your guide points out landmarks and shares the history of the area. We offer both 1 and 2 day tours that include Hearst Castle, Monterrey, The Steinbeck Museum, and wine tasting in the Santa Lucia Highlands.

This year, don’t get caught up in the hustle and bustle of holiday shopping. Relax and enjoy the holidays by choosing the perfect gift for the wine lover on your list—shop the Paso Robles Wine Club or The Wine Wrangler for a gift they’ll appreciate all year long.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

What to Pour with the Thanksgiving Feast

November in Paso Robles Wine Country brings cooler temperatures and morning fog, which turns the rolling landscape into a picture perfect postcard made for the Thanksgiving holiday. The long weekend brings family and friends together to eat, drink and make merry, but with a holiday feast that includes both light and dark meat and as many savory sides as the heart desires, trying to find the perfect wine can leave any host perplexed, if not riddled with anxiety. If you’re a member of the Paso Robles Wine Club, you’ve probably already set aside a few bottles for your holiday dinner, but if not, read on for a few suggestions on what to serve at your Thanksgiving feast:

Go for the bubbles! A great way to kick off the day is to pour your guests a glass of sparkling wine, Cava, or Champagne to get the festivities underway. Set out a triple cream cheese with water crackers alongside so that guests have something to munch on while waiting for dinner.

Let’s Talk Turkey:  With a mix of complicated herbs and light and dark meat, it’s hard to pinpoint what wine to serve with turkey. Here’s a few wines that will go well with the bird and the sides:
·        Viognier or Sauvignon Blanc are both refreshing and with notes of honey, pear and apple would work well with the turkey, or, even a crisp, light, fruity.   Riesling strikes a balance between sugar and acidity and it can hold its own against an array of spices, so it’s a good match for sweet potato casserole, gravy and even pumpkin pie.

Think Late Harvest: Some would argue that the best part of the Thanksgiving feast is the dessert table, but finding a wine to pair with the traditional fare of pumpkin, sweet potato and pecan pie can seem impossible until you discover the magic of a late harvest wine. With their high sugar content they’re a good match for sweet, spicy desserts.

A good Thanksgiving meal will give you leftovers for days and while it’s a good idea to get outside and get a little exercise to counter all of the rich food, the long holiday weekend is also the perfect time to gather with family and friends and embark on a Wine Wrangler wine tasting tour through the Paso Robles Wine Region—or beyond to Santa Ynez or Monterey.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

The Language of Wine: 5 Red Varietals

When it comes to wine tasting, whether you’re tooling around the Paso Robles Wine Region on a wine tasting tour with The Wine Wrangler or curled up on your sofa with your latest wine shipment from the Paso Robles Wine Club, knowing about the different varietals will give you a better appreciation of wine.

Read on to learn more about the top 5 red varietals and their flavor profiles:

Mourvedre: This Native from Spain is a winner with most wine drinkers who fall in love with its earthiness and flavors of chocolate, coffee and mint.

Zinfandel: A staple in Paso Robles, this varietal thrives in a climate that has hot days and cool nights. Flavors range from intense blackberry and black pepper to anise.

Petite Sirah: This varietal also goes by the name durif and originates from France. When ripened, the small, intensely colored berries are herbaceous with flavors of blueberry and licorice. This varietal is particularly suited to a dry climate and hot weather, making it a favorite in the Paso Robles Wine Region.

Syrah: In 2004, this varietal was the 7th most grown grape in the world. This hardy varietal is prized for its flavors of chocolate and spice, anise, leather and jam.

Grenache: This varietal arrived in California in the 1860s and has been a favorite ever since. A vigorous grower, it’s particularly suited to a hot dry environment. Flavors include intense fruit, menthol and black pepper.

Expanding your knowledge about the different varietals and their flavor profiles can enhance the wine tasting experience. The next time you’re out tasting wine—whether on your own or with The Wine Wrangler, look for these varietals and the common flavors they add to wine.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

The Language of Wine: 5 White Varietals

Many of our members joined the Paso Robles Wine Club because they wanted to learn more about the Paso Robles Wine Region and about the different varieties and styles of wine. Learning about wine is a journey that involves reading about wines, tasting wines, and letting your palate explore the different varietals.

To get you started on the journey, here are 5 white varietals, their flavor profiles and origins:

Roussanne: Native to France, Roussane is a Rhone varietal with flavors of apricot, pear and honey. Somewhat difficult to grow because it is susceptible to powdery mildew and rot, this varietal thrives in warm temperatures and plenty of sunshine.

Vermintino: Native to the Mediterranean, especially Italy, this easy to grow varietal is resistant to drought, making it a good grape to grow in Paso Robles. Flavors range from peach and lemon, to saline and minerality.

Grenache Blanc: Native to Spain, this vigorous grower and early to ripen varietal is easy to grow. Flavors include apple, peach and licorice.

Marsanne: Native to France, this Rhone varietal arrived in California in the 1980s and is a good blending grape. Distinct flavors of melon and minerality.

Viognier: Native to France, this Rhone varietal can be difficult to grown. It requires a long, warm growing season to fully develop its natural herbaceous flavors, which also include peach, pear, violets and minerality.

Knowing a little information about common Paso Robles wine varietals will help you expand your tasting experience. Use this newfound knowledge to taste your way through your Paso Robles Wine Club shipments, or put it to the test on a wine tasting tour of the Paso Robles Wine Region with The Wine Wrangler. 

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Wine Makers: Who They Are and What They Do

Farmers. Chemists. Rock stars. Winemakers are a compilation of characteristics from many professions. On the one hand, winemaking is pure science, but on the other, the artistry of experimentation and expert blending is what makes for an amazing wine. Our members of the Paso Robles Wine Club experience signature wines from over 200 wineries and winemakers, from the big producers to the boutique winemakers. If you’ve ever wondered what winemakers do to get the grapes from the vine to the bottle, read on to learn more:

Hitting the Books: Becoming a winemaker involves more than just having a love of wine and an interest in how it’s made. Training includes studying both Enology (the science of wine and winemaking) and Viticulture (cultivation of grapes). A keen understanding of chemistry, microbiology, enzymes and yeasts is a winemaker’s foundation. Equally important is knowledge of grape maturation, harvesting, fermenting, bottling, blending and filtration. Finally, a good winemaker has a ‘nose’ for wine and a well-trained palate.

Working the Cycle: Winemakers are busy year round, but the two busiest times of the year for a winemaker are in the spring when the vineyard begins anew, and in the fall when it’s time to Harvest the grapes and make the wine. Winemakers are always watching over their barrels and tanks, but they’re also responsible for looking after the vineyards, surveying the growing of the grapes, managing growth, directing the pruning of the vines and even keeping pests away. 
During Harvest—which can extend for 12 weeks or even longer—winemakers work 16 to 18 hour days, 7 days a week to get the grapes from the vines and into tanks or barrels.

Orchestrating the Magic: Once the call goes out through the vineyard that it’s time to pick the grapes, the winemaker must manage multiple processes, people and personalities in a timely and organized process. Much like the maestro directing an orchestra, the winemaker needs to ensure that everyone is doing their job effectively, all while overseeing the heavy machinery need to process the grapes, both in the vineyard and inside the production facility.

Before the winemaker can even begin to play with the alchemy of the grapes, he/she must plan the logistics of where the incoming fruit will go, the placement and duties of the cellar crew and the processing schedule.

Artistry and Alchemy: In lore, alchemists had the power to transmute base metals into gold. Additionally, they were beholden with the powers to create an elixir of life that could give anyone who sipped it endless youth and beauty. In some respects, the winemaker’s craft is similar; taking the humble grape, an agricultural product, and transforming it into something of remarkable beauty and taste, requires both alchemy and artistry. Wine couldn’t be made without a deep understanding of chemistry, but good wine can’t exist without passion.

Many wine growing regions require winemakers to follow strict guidelines and produce wines that define a geographical location. Not so when it comes to winemakers in the Paso Robles AVA who have more freedom to approach the grapes with artistry, experimentation and talent to create an exceptional wine. Ready to try a few of these award winning local wines for yourself? Membership in The Paso Robles Wine Club will give you the opportunity to taste these wines for yourself. Or, book a tour with The Wine Wrangler and visit the amazing winemakers of the Paso Robles AVA.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

A Halloween Wine Tasting: Pairing Wine with Candy

Everyone knows that wine pairs well with chocolate, so this Halloween as you’re enjoying a glass of your favorite vintage, why not sip it while nibbling on a few of those miniature candy bars? In fact, why not grab a few bottles of wine from your Paso Robles Wine Club shipment—or your cellar—call a few friends over, raid the Halloween candy and have a Trick or Treat style wine tasting?

It may sound unconventional, but many of those same flavor profiles that you taste in candy are the same ones that can be found in wine. Ready to give your taste buds a treat? Here’s few pairings to try:

Pinot: With underlying characteristics of wild herbs and fennel, Pinot can pair well with red licorice and Allsorts.

Merlot: Grab a few handfuls of the ever popular M&Ms®, Snickers® and KitKats® and open a bottle of your favorite Merlot. The earthiness of the nuts and chocolate are the perfect match for Merlot’s big berry, fruit forward profile and the soft tanins will play expertly with the chocolate.

Port: If your middle name is Butterfinger®, then enjoy this classic while sipping on a port for a real treat.

Chardonnay: The workhorse of a Halloween tasting, Chardonnay’s caramel and vanilla notes go well with everything from Bit of Honey® to candy corn, caramels and butterscotch. For a little extra fun, open a bag of Jolly Ranchers® and enjoy a few tropical flavors with your wine.

Bubbles: What’s a Halloween party without a little fun? Your tasting crew will think you’re trying to pull a fast one when you pull out a bottle of bubbles—Champagne, Cava, Proseco—and set out a bowl of Sweet Tarts®, Sour Patch Kids® and Smarties®, but they’ll be quick to get onboard once they experience what a few bubbles can do for sweet and sour candies.

Have a little fun this Halloween by pulling out all the stops and hosting a Halloween wine tasting party. By mixing your favorite wines from your Paso Robles Wine Club shipment, along with classic Halloween treats you’ll astound your friends and family. Oh, and costumes are optional.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Eberle: The Spark that Ignited a Region

It’s impossible to talk about the Paso Robles Wine Region without bringing Gary Eberle into the conversation. Often referred to as “The Godfather” of the Paso Robles AVA, Eberle was a graduate student at LSU studying cellular genetics when a deepening interest in wine made him switch career paths and head west to California. He promptly enrolled at UC Davis and in 1971, graduated with a degree in Enology.

After graduation, he headed down to the California Central Coast. What he saw here was the perfect place to grow fruit and along with his two brother-in-laws, he established Estrella River Winery and Vineyards. But like any pioneer, he had his own vision and soon after, Eberle bought 64 acres just down the road and set off to make great wine.

That Gary Eberle is a great wine maker goes without saying, but his legacy is even more profound in that he influenced a generation of winemakers and set the standards for Central Coast Wines, arguably, even putting the Paso Robles AVA on the map.

 Much has changed over the last 30 plus years since Gary Eberle arrived in Paso Robles. At first, he was one of only a handful of wineries and vineyards in the area, but now he keeps company with almost 200 others with a similar vision.

What hasn’t changed is Gary Eberle’s commitment to making the best wines—which consistently score high—or the hospitality at Eberle Winery. Guests can enjoy a complimentary tour of the production facilities and the wine caves (over 16,000 square feet to explore) before or after wine tasting, or take part in a wide variety of seasonal events, including Harvest celebrations, winemaker dinners and even a Halloween ‘spookiest caves’ tour.

To enjoy the fun and meet Gary Eberle for yourself, book a wine tasting tour with The Wine Wrangler. In the meantime, by joining The Paso Robles Wine Club, you can sample a variety of wines made in the Paso Robles AVA.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Words to Sip By

Wine tasting is an intellectual activity. When drinking wine, the palate and the nose—along with the other senses—are working in conjunction with the brain. At The Paso Robles Wine Club, we understand that our Wine Club Members enjoy more than just drinking wine from the Paso Robles AVA—they like learning about it as well. We’ve gone through our bookshelves and hand-picked a few of our favorite books about the area to share with you.

So, pour yourself a glass, get comfortable in your favorite chair, and settle in to read one of these books:

Paso Robles, California, 1930-1950: When Highway 101 Ran Through My Hometown: Author Clifford Tucker writes a first-person account of the people and places that made Paso Robles a perfect stopping spot for people traveling between San Francisco and Los Angles.

Paso Robles (Images of America): An abundance of hot mineral springs brought those from far and near to Paso Robles and that first wave of tourism ushered in an industry of hotels and bathhouses. Authors Andrea H. Hobbs and Milene F. Radford recount the historic details of the early days of life in Paso Robles.

The New Wine Country Cookbook: Recipes from California’s Central Coast: Brigit Binns captures the spirit of the Central Coast with recipes that incorporate local ingredients, including real winners like Feta stuffed chicken thighs with white wine and olives and Radicchio and Monterey Jack Quesadillas with fig salsa. There’s also a section on pairing food with local wines.  We would be happy to send this book to you, just email us for more information at

My Nepenthe: If you’ve been on The Wine Wrangler’s Big Sur Trip, then you know all about Nepenthe—the historic restaurant and bar perched along the Big Sur coastline—but this book provides a behind the scenes look into the days when Big Sur was an outpost for the likes of Jack Kerouac and other beats. Not to mention, the recipes and photographs are spectacular.

Before you settle into your favorite comfortable chair with a good read, don’t forget that a membership in The Paso Robles Wine Club will give you the opportunity to add to your Paso Robles wine library without ever leaving home—of course, if you do decide to venture out, give us a call and we’ll take you wine tasting—and point out our local history on the drive.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Fall in the Vineyards

If you’re lucky enough to be out wine tasting in Paso Robles during Harvest Weekend, it’s hard not to notice the vineyards are awash in color as the leaves turn those magnificent colors of fall—deep burgundy, burnished gold and rust. Eventually, as the season wanes, the stark vines will announce the arrival of winter.

It may be pretty evident that the seasons are changing, but if you’re like many of our Paso Robles Wine Club members you’ve probably wondered what really goes on in the vineyard during fall. If so, then read on:

The Ripening: Depending on the climate, the direction the vineyard and the vines face and the varietal, grapes can ripen anywhere from August through September, but when they’re picked depends on many things, including the type of wine that’s being made.

As the grapes ripen, their skins change in color, (a process known as verasion) with hues varying from greenish yellow to red, purple and even black. The grapes also soften and their sugar content increases while their acidity levels decrease. The increased sweetness imparts the grapes with more fruit flavors while lessening any vegetable characteristics.

The Picking: There’s no one way to pick grapes. Some vineyards use machines to pick, starting at one end of the vineyard and moving lot by lot unit all the fruit is picked, while others utilize the skill of human grape pickers—these pickers are usually people who are so adept at picking that they can assess the ripeness of the grapes with the tips of their fingers without ever losing speed.

The picking method affects the final product since the machines pull everything—leaves and stems—along with the fruit. The leaves and the stems can impart a harshness to the finished product.

The Crush: Once the grapes have been picked, the speed and intensity of Harvest kicks into full gear. Behind the scenes is a cadre of individuals who do everything from sorting and processing the grapes to crushing them and getting them into tanks.

Finally, it’s important to remember that behind every label, wine is an agricultural product and the wine making process is all about controlled fermentation. Without the necessary speed and intensity, the grapes would spoil—and that would be a waste of money and time.

So, why not see it for yourself and spend Harvest Weekend wine tasting throughout the Paso Robles AVA?

Touring with The Wine Wrangler will put you in the middle of the festivities, where you can take part in over 140 activities and events put on by local wineries, including: wine maker dinners, tours, food and wine pairings—even a chance to stomp the grapes. And, while you’re enjoying the fun, don’t forget to keep your eyes open so you can see for yourself the vineyard crews hard at work so they can bring their wines to you.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

A Perfect Toast: Choosing the Right Glassware

It seems the simplest of acts: open a bottle of wine and pour it into a glass. But as for anyone who has ever been on the receiving end of being served a fine wine in a plastic cup or chunky tumbler, choosing the right glassware does make a difference. 

As a member of the Paso Robles Wine Club, your regular wine shipments will include a mix of both white and red wines—unless you specify otherwise. To really savor and enjoy the wines, you should invest in the appropriate glassware.

Here are a few general principles to keep in mind when selecting glassware:

Size Matters:  You don’t need to buy a specific glass for every varietal, but you should have 2 sizes available: a larger, balloon shaped glass for red wines and a smaller glass for white wines.  As for volume, a wine glass should hold between 10 and 18 ounces—this size works well for both tastings and for serving wine along with a meal.

Go for Transparency: Painted and etched glassware is beautiful and can be so well rendered that it could pass for artwork, but when it comes to wine, you want glasses that are clear. We ‘taste’ wine with all of our senses and the sense of sight is one of the most important—a clear vessel gives you the opportunity to analyze a wine by its color and viscosity.

Going Stemless: Wine was traditionally served in stemmed glassware so that the warmth of one’s hands wouldn’t interfere with the appropriate serving temperature, but stemless wine glasses have grown in popularity, so it’s really a personal decision.

Choosing the appropriate glassware in which to serve wine is just as important as choosing the right wine to pour. To increase the pleasurable sensory aspects of enjoying a good wine, take the time to choose the right glasses so that you can delight in both the aromatic and visual aspects of wine.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Decanting Wines: A Primer

As a member of the Paso Robles Wine Club, you’ll receive regular shipments of wines from the Paso Robles AVA and decanting a bottle of wine can elevate your tasting experience. How and why wine is decanted can seem a mysterious event to those just discovering the world of wine, and even wizened connoisseurs may not do it often enough.

Decanting a bottle of wine has two main purposes. The first is to filter out any sediment that could affect the wine visually and impair its enjoyment, and the second is to allow the wine to breathe—or open up its nose and release its aromas. And while decanting may look intimidating and complex, it’s really quite easy.

Here are some tips:
  • If you're planning on drinking a bottle from an older vintage, it’s a good idea to allow the bottle to remain upright for 24 hours. This will cause the sediment to sink to the bottom and will make it easier to separate it from the wine when you pour it into a decanter.
  • Select a decanter or vessel that will hold the contents of the bottle and make sure it’s clean and free from of any detergents or other residues that would interfere with the taste of the wine.
  • Slowly pour the wine into the decanter and if you’re decanting an older vintage, take extra care to keep the sediment in the bottom of the bottle and not transfer it into the decanter.
  • Allow the wine to sit for 10-15 minutes so that it can open up before serving--but not for much longer, since exposing the wine to oxygen can cause oxidation.

Wine need not be old or expensive to benefit from decanting—or even red, for that matter. Since decanting a wine aerates it, the process can enliven any wine and burn off any sulphur dioxide that may be present. 

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Hosting a Wine and Cheese Tasting Party

When it comes to the perfect pairing, wine and cheese couldn’t be better suited to each other. Many of our Paso Robles WineClub members report savoring their wine shipments along with cheese and can’t stop talking about the experience.  Like cheese, wine is an agricultural product and picks up similar nuances of a region, so sipping wine while sampling cheese enhances both. 

If you’re looking for a new way to enjoy your wine shipment, pairing the wines with cheese might be the perfect solution.

A few pairing ideas:

Pair fresh cheeses with Sauvignon: Soft, creamy fresh cheeses like Feta, Chevre and Burrata taste of fresh milk and are usually tangy. Often, these cheeses are nuanced with grassy, herbaceous undertones. Sauvignon is crisp and fruity and often herbaceous—a perfect compliment.
Chardonnay is a good match for soft ripened cheeses:  Also known as bloomy rind cheeses, these beauties have a oozy texture and mushroomy, tart and tangy profile. Among them: Brie, Camembert, and Robiola. Chardonnay is a great match and enhances any underlying herbal notes in the cheese.
Semi Hard Cheeses are enhanced by Chardonnay: With their low moisture content and crumbly texture, these cheeses are characterized by their sharp, tangy profile—one that’s made more pleasurable paired with a buttery, earthy Chardonnay; the underlying notes of caramel and fruit bring out the best in semi-hard cheeses.

After choosing the cheeses, add in a simple mix of accompaniments—fresh figs, grapes and apples, a selection of water crackers and sliced baguette, and a few handfuls of walnuts or almonds. Selecting the wines is easy when you join the Paso Robles Wine Club. We’ll send regular shipments to you and once you discover wines you like, you can reorder—and they’ll arrive in time for your next wine and cheese pairing.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

True Grit: Understanding Sediment

If you’ve ever looked down into the bottom of your red wine glass and seen gritty, sandy-textured bits on the bottom, you’ve encountered sediment. 

While sediment is harmless, it can hamper the enjoyment of wine. Usually, sediment is found in older, aged wines, but since wine is an agricultural product created through the fermentation of fruit, there’s always the possibility that the byproducts of the process could become part of the final product.

As a member of the Paso Robles Wine Club, you will receive regular shipments of wines throughout the year from winemakers in the Paso Robles AVA. Since wine is an artisan-crafted good, each winemaker has a unique approach to working with the fruit. Some winemakers will filter the final product to remove sediment, but other winemakers won’t.

Sediment settles in the bottom and along the sides of the bottle and consists of dead yeast cells, grape skins, seeds, and even tannins. Harmless as it may be, it can interfere with the taste and complexity, so you’ll want to remove it prior to serving. This can easily be done by decanting the wine.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Tasting Through Your Wine Shipment

As a member of the Paso Robles Wine Club, you'll receive your special wine shipments on a regular basis and each shipment will feature a unique selection of wines from the Paso Robles Wine Country AVA. Once you receive your shipment, you'll want to make sure that you immediately open the box and properly store your bottles away from heat and light. And then, you'll want to start tasting the wines.

Of course, we don't recommend that you open the bottles all at one time--there are special bottles in each case that beg to be set aside for a special occasion--but, if you're a member of our wine club with the express purpose of sharing your shipment with friends and family, then you may want to arrange a special tasting.

One of the best ways that we can think of is to share the wines in small allotments--choose two or three bottles, open them and let them breathe, and then gather a few of your nearest and dearest and then pour and relax. Encourage your guests to sip and savor and to share their thoughts. It's also a nice idea to share with them a little information about the topography of the land, any nuances of soil, and information of the varietals. Sharing and savoring wine with family and friends in one of the joys of life and as a member of the Paso Robles Wine Club, you can do it on a regular basis.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Setting up a Monthly Tasting Group

Touring Paso RoblesWine Country and visiting the tasting rooms to try our local wines is a great way to spend the day, but it might not be something that you can do as often as you would like. One way to continue educating your palate and learning more about the area is to join the Paso Robles Wine Club and enjoy regular shipments of award winning wines produced in the Paso Robles AVA. 

Another way to hone your palate is to host a monthly wine tasting group. A tasting group is made up of fellow wine lovers who get together on a regular basis to taste through and talk about a selection of wines. Think of it as a book club for oenophiles.

A wine tasting can be organized in many ways. Here are a few suggestions that will help yours be an enjoyable experience for all:

Go Blind: Our minds can play tricks on us without us even being fully aware. If we see a bottle or a label from a well-known, well-received winery, we're more likely to give that wine a higher rating, or a more favorable tasting, than one from a lesser known winery. By wrapping the bottles in foil, or placing them in bags, it evens the playing field and requires us to use our palate.

Choose Your Method: There are many ways to set up a tasting, but the most popular 2 are the varietal tasting and the horizontal tasting. In a varietal tasting, wines from various regions are sampled and elements of geography, soil, and weather are taken into consideration. In a horizontal tasting, wines of a varietal are tasted only from a specific area.

With a basic wine vocabulary and crackers and water to clean the palate, you can host a successful wine tasting that includes both newbies and skilled tasters. As a member of the Paso Robles Wine Club, your shipment is a good way to share both your love of wine and sharpen your palate. Include yours in a wine tasting group and if you like what you taste, we’d be happy to send you more.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Give the Gift of Wine: Buying a Shipment

Weddings, anniversaries, and birthdays are all special events that require a thoughtful and unique gift—exactly the sort that membership in the Paso Robles Wine Club can provide. 

Most gifts are quick to excite and easy to forget, but with regular shipments of award winning wines from the Paso Robles AVA, your gift will be remembered and savored long after the special event has passed.

You can choose the shipment that fits your budget and the occasion and you can select red or white wine, or a mix. 

Choose from these packages:
  • Rustler: Looking for the perfect way to taste the best the Paso Robles AVA has to offer—but in a smaller package? The Rustler fits the bill. You’ll receive 3 bottles of premium wine three times a year—and the price will never exceed $120 per shipment.
  • Wrangler: Thrill your palate with a varied selection of premium wines from the Paso Robles AVA. This package includes 6 bottles of premium wines shipped three times a year at or less than $240 a shipment.
  • High Plains Drifter: COMING SOON! This will be a completely custom select shipment.

Membership in the Paso Robles Wine Club comes with many other benefits, including:
  • 15% discount on current releases
  • 20% discount on all case reorders
  • 20% off all Wine Wrangler Tours

Don’t wait any longer to sign up for the Paso Robles Wine Club that selects and ships wines from over 200 wineries in the Paso Robles AVA. Your shipments are guaranteed to arrive in excellent condition and will never include bulk, closeout, or private label wines.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Best Whites for a Summer Picnic

Many of our Paso Robles Wine Club Members first learn about us when they take a wine tour with our sister company, The Wine Wrangler

Based in Paso Robles, The Wine Wrangler offers both social and private tours throughout the beautiful Paso Robles AVA. 

It’s no wonder that so many people fall in love with California’s Central Coast—rolling hills dotted with vineyards and oak, pastoral backroads, and ocean vistas. We think our area is one of the best places to venture off the main road and find an idyllic picnic spot.

If you’re on a wine tour with The Wine Wrangler, your expert guide will lead you to the perfect spot and if you choose, provide you with a gourmet deli style lunch, but if your picnic basket is at the ready and you’re venturing off on your own, you might be looking for a few suggestions of the best white wines to take along.

Summer weather on California’s Central Coast can be a little warm, so choosing a white wine to accompany your picnic fare, might be best.

Here are a few recommendations:

Chardonnay: Full-bodied and velvety, Chardonnay ranges from nuanced oak, butter and caramel, with notes of melon, coconut and vanilla. Pairing well with cheese and fruit, it’s also good served alongside dense bread and cured meats.

Sauvignon Blanc: Herbaceous and grassy with notes of green apple, white peach, and apricot, Sauvignon pairs well with fresh cheeses—feta and chevre—pasta salad, and antipasto.

Moscato: Sweet and musky with the flavors of roses, peaches, orange and honeysuckle, Moscato is excellent when served with fresh cheeses, fruit and desserts.

Beautiful scenery and world class wines make Paso Robles Wine Country the perfect place to enjoy a picnic. 

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Best Wines for a BBQ

Warm weather, long summer evenings, and shooting stars are a definite lure in taking to the patio with friends and family, but more than anything else it’s the lure of the BBQ. Quintessentially summer, hosting a summer BBQ is the perfect outside activity, a time honored tradition where you can eat well and sip wine late into the night. 

Everyone wants to host the perfect get-together, but choosing the right wine for your BBQ can be complicated—that’s why our goal at the Paso Robles Wine Club is to help make your life easier by offering real wine advice—and wines—to make your celebrations more memorable.

Here’s a quick primer on choosing the perfect wines to complement the foods that are on your grill:

 Choose Whites for Lighter Fare: Delicate fish, chicken, and most pork (with the exception of heavy seasonings or sauces) is delicious when served with white wine. Look for a wine that compliments the menu—Viognier and Sauvignon Blanc are known for their characteristic tree fruits (apricot, white peach, pear and green apple) while Chardonnay has more citrus and tropical notes (grapefruit, lemon, mango, passion fruit).

Choose Big Reds for Bold Flavors: Thick juicy steaks, sizzling burgers, and spicy, sauced up ribs need the balance of the Big Reds. The best choices are Cabernet, Zinfandel and Rhone Blends—with flavors of pepper, black fruit, tobacco, and leather.

With over 200 wineries in the Paso Robles AVA, you’ll have plenty of good choices. However, if you have a special get-together planned and you’d like to have a selection of special wines, the Paso Robles Wine Club can work with you in putting together a list of wines to meet your needs. Don’t hesitate to contact us today.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Concert Box Series

Now in its second year, Vina Robles Amphitheater is a popular destination for both locals and tourists, especially those who take advantage of the Wine Wrangler Concert Shuttle Service to and from the venue. 

The Paso Robles Wine Club is pleased to offer our members our special Concert Box Service.

Our Vina Robles Concert Box Service includes:
  • Shuttle Service to Vina Robles Amphitheater on our Wine Wrangler Concert Shuttle
  • Boxed seating in our special Paso Robles Wine Club Concert Box which offers some of the best seats in the house
  • VIP treatment, including food and drink service, so you can stay seated and enjoy the show, access to the VIP lounge to mingle with other concert goers—or to stretch your legs—and access to the VIP restrooms

Vina Robles Amphitheater opened in the summer of 2013 as the largest outdoor concert venue in the state. The concert season runs from May until November and this year’s lineup includes such artists as Dwight Yoakum, Weezer, Ron Zombie, and Crosby, Stills and Nash. Concert goers can enjoy a variety of foods, including specialty sandwiches and wood fired pizzas, along with Vina Robles Estate wines and a selection of beers.

Enjoy music under the stars at Vina Robles Amphitheater while enjoying the best that the Paso RoblesWine Club has to offer—our special Concert Box service.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Best in Show: How Wines Win Medals

If you’ve been to the California Mid State Fair, you’ve most likely seen the Central Coast Wine Competition. The competition is open to local wineries and both the “Gold Medal” and “Best of…” wines are on display for the public to see. 

The winning wines are then shown at 4 other county fairs: the Monterey County Fair, the San Benito County Fair, the Santa Barbara County Fair, and the Ventura County Fair. The additional exposure helps market the award winning wines, promotes the tasting rooms, and gives wine lovers the chance to hear the story behind the winners.

Historically, one of the reasons people attended the county fair was to discover new products--and wine was no exception. California’s wine history dates back to the 1800s—well before media outlets were in place to introduce wine to people. Back then, the fair was just about the only place a winemaker could share the fruits of his labor.

After Prohibition, county fairs were instrumental in helping the wine industry regain its footing and they still play an important role. Today, the county fair helps promote local wineries, showcase local wines produced in a region, and helps guide the consumer in choosing wines.

The Paso Robles Wine Club has a similar goal. As a member, you’ll enjoy tasting through a variety of award winning wines from the Paso Robles AVA, but we go the extra mile by selecting wines from boutique producers who are still too small to show up at the Mid State Fair. 

In fact, membership in our wine club means that you’ll taste local wines that most locals won’t even get to taste. And, if you discover one that you really love, we’ll go the extra mile and ship more your way. Join our wine club today, and start tasting the best the region has to offer.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Paso Robles Wine Buyer's Service

The Paso Robles Wine Club is different than other wine clubs. Typically, when you join  a wine club, you're limited to the wines available through a single winery. Membership with the PRWC will give you the opportunity to taste a variety of wines from the Paso Robles Wine Country AVA and since we have a particular appreciation for small producers, you'll taste wines that you wouldn't ordinarily find in a wine shop or store.

As a member of the Paso Robles Wine Club, you'll enjoy other benefits, too, including our special wine buying service. Let us know what wines you're searching for and we can help locate and purchase them on your behalf and then make sure they're safely shipped to you. If you'd prefer to do a little tasting as you shop for your cellar, we can arrange a private wine buyers tour. One or our expert wine guides will take you and your guests on a tour of wineries that you'd like to visit. Not only do we offer this service for our Paso Robles wineries, but we're also available to take you to Santa Ynez or Santa Barbara Wine Country to the South, or if you'd prefer, to the North to the Santa Lucia Highlands and into the Monterrey Wine Region.

To learn more about our wine buying service, email or call us today.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Paso Robles is Growing!

Paso Robles isn't just about just grapes or wineries any more, the collective interest in Paso Robles includes great restaurants, and now hotel rooms are following!  As many of you know, the Paso Robles wine region was selected by Wine Enthusiast as the 2013 Wine Region of the Year.

All of this means demand,which requires that supply (wine, food, rooms), must be ample in the near future for visitors and the consuming public.  Investment in beds is the next serious growth addition to Paso Robles.

With 200 tasting rooms and another 100 + smaller wine labels without tasting facilities calling Paso Robles home, the attention of the media has focused here for the past few years.  The attention has brought better wine making practices and better wine, higher prices and higher end restaurants.  There are no less than 18 nice restaurants within 100 paces of the Paso Robles city park. The weekend traffic has increased to the point where if you don’t have a room reservation at least a month in advance you will not be able to find a room. B & B’s have been popping up all over the region helping with room availability on a small scale, but hotel rooms which are desperately needed are slower to come online. We have added 1 new hotel in the last two years and 1 is near completion while at least 3 more are planned and in the permitting process.

With all of the investments noted above, Paso Robles is growing its ability to call itself a world class wine region. The Paso Robles Wine Club endeavors to deliver to you the best world class wines from this burgeoning area!