Page 61 - July2017

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JULY 2017 |
GALVESTON MONTHLY |
61
L
ocated just six miles from the Pacific Ocean, on the inland side of the Santa Lucia
Coastal Mountains lies Paso Robles, California’s fastest-growing wine region.
With forty thousand acres of land under vine and over two hundred wineries
currently producing, a lot is still left to be discovered within this sizable Central
Coast appellation.
To grasp just how large the region is, consider for comparison sake that Napa Valley
has approximately 225,000 total acres in its delineated area, which is roughly one-
third the size of Paso Robles. Comparing actual vineyard land that is currently in
use, Napa is slightly ahead with forty-five
thousand acres of land under vine, making
the difference between the two only five
thousand acres. Paso Robles, however, has
over six hundred thousand total acres of
land within its boundaries that will allow it to
enjoy even greater expansion in the future.
Grapes have certain environmental needs
during the growing season that are necessary
in order to make great wine, and Paso Robles
has them all. The region enjoys the largest
diurnal (day to night) temperature swing in
California, which is incredibly important to
preserve natural acidity. A mix of desirable calcareous soils are found throughout the
region including shale, sandstone, and limestone, as well as older granitic and volcanic
based soils that allow for diverse grape varieties to be grown there.
Though Paso Robles has been gaining new interest from drinkers and investors as
the wines win awards and earn higher scores from critics, the region is not new to
wine production. The area’s wine history began in the year 1790, sixty years before
California even became a state, when Franciscan friars planted vineyards upon their
arrival in a place now known as the Santa Margarita Ranch. In modern times, this
historic property is a destination for thrill-
seeking wine lovers who wish to zip-line
from the hillsides and fly over bucolic
Pinot Noir vineyards between tastings.
Legendary winemaker André
Tchelistcheff, often credited with helping
to improve the quality of Napa Valley
wine, came to the area in the late 1960s
to consult with local grape growers. His
recommendations led to larger, more
modern wineries opening within the next
decade. The region would be recognized
shortly after as a unique growing area
when it was granted its own American
Viticulture Area (AVA) status in 1983.
Paso Robles continued to develop and
improve over the next several years,
and wineries from other parts of the
world began to invest in the region as
more of its potential was recognized.
As new vineyards were planted across
this expansive block of land centered
By Sandra Crittenden
Discover the Wines
Paso Robles
of