Sunday, December 4, 2011

Eberle and Niner Wineries, Paso Robles, California


After we left the town of San Luis Obispo, California, we took a detour away from the Pacific Coast Highway to go northeast on route Highway 101 to visit a few wineries in Paso Robles Located on the eastern foothills of the Santa Lucia Coastal Mountain Range, Paso Robles is the third largest and fastest growing wine region in California. Scenic country roads lead to more than 180 wineries, where more than 40 premium wine varieties are grown and produced.



Using our AAA Tour Book to chose a winery to visit, we decided on Eberle Winery, recommended as a place of interest because of it's extensive underground wine caves, and as one of the highest award-winning wineries in the U.S. and ranks in the top 10 of gold medal award-winning wineries in the country.



When we approached the Eberle visitor center we were greeted by this bronze statue of a wild boar, which has become sort of a good luck charm for my husband and I.  Why?



It's because we've happened to come across this same fellow quite often in our travels!

The original bronze boar called "Porcellino" was cast by Pietro Tacca in Italy in 1620, and today, the original can be found in the Mercato Nuovo in Florence, Italy. The photo to the top left is my husband touching it's nose in that Italian Market. Legend has it that if you rub the boar's nose and toss a few coins in the fountain it sits on, you will have good luck and if you are a traveler you will return to the same place one day. We have also seen him in Sydney, NSW Autralia, at the Ferrari-Carano Winery in Sonoma, California and now Eberle Winery, Paso Robles.



The Paso Wine web site, had the following information about Winemaker Gary Eberle:

  "A native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Eberle started his college career in 1962 at Pennsylvania State University. Given a full scholarship, Gary balanced his duties as a defensive lineman for the football team and as a student studying biology. Eberle moved to Louisiana where he did his graduate work in cellular genetics at Louisiana State University (LSU).


During his time at LSU, a professor introduced him to the magical world of food and wine. Tasting a sampling of fine, classified growth Bordeaux from his professor's cellar, Eberle took a keen interest in Cabernet Sauvignon. He began to envision the possibility of creating a wine that would rival those of Bordeaux and soon found himself on an airplane to California.

He arrived at the University of California at Davis, where he met with the chair of the enology department and explained that he wanted to become a winemaker. Impressed with Eberle's credentials, the professor admitted him to the doctoral program without the usual qualifying exam.
During his work at Davis, Eberle realized the untapped potential of the Paso Robles region and decided it was where his winemaking future lay and arrived in 1973. After founding the Estrella River Winery (currently, Meridian Vineyards) Eberle yearned for his own winery focusing on premium red wines. The dream was realized with the release of his first "Eberle" wine, a 1979 Cabernet Sauvignon in 1982."

 

We enjoyed a few samples of his award winning Cabernet Sauvignon vintages very much!


 
In 1994, Eberle was seeking additional space for the red wine program and decided to go underground. and created 16,000 square feet of underground caves below the winery to create the perfect place to age their wines.

 
 
The caves also contain a 100-seat Wild Boar Room which serves as a romantic and beautiful backdrop for the winery's monthly Guest Chef Dinner Series and other private events.




Before we left the Paso Robles area we stopped at one other relatively new winery, the Niner Wine Estates.


 
Begun in 2001 by Richard Niner, who had a successful 30 career as a small business investor. He bought  Bootjack Ranch, a 224 acre property on Highway 46 East in Paso Robles and two years later 139 acre Heart Hill Vineyard, which gets its name from a natural oak-tree filled depression on the hillside near the road in the perfect shape of a heart.

 
 
The Niner Wine Estates have a state-of-the-art and newly LEED Silver certified gravity flow winery and ta elegant stone barn Hospitality Center on the Heart Hill property. It was interesting to taste their young vintages made using the best of traditional wine making methods and cutting-edge technologies.

 

 Back on the road, we traveled West on  Route 46, the Green Valley Road.


The rolling mountain scenery of the Santa Lucia Coastal Mountain Range was incredible!

 
We drove again to the coast where we stayed near Cambria for the night. We took a twilight walk on Moonstone beach. More about that in a future post.
 
Linking to "Mosaic Monday" and "Our World Tuesday," and "Alphabe Thursday" blog events. Thank you to all the blog hosts!



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49 comments:

Penny @ The Comforts of Home/Flea Market Makeovers said...

So beautiful! We were in Napa 7 years ago...fell in love with the California wine country. Thanks for sharing your visit!

LDH said...

So beautiful and such an informative post! So much fun visiting through your photos!

Old Kitty said...

Ah!! Lovely! Porcellino - that's the name! I knew it was the Piggy! LOL!! Oh wow!!

Look at these wonderful vineyard places. I do like the Eberle history - from a sportman, to a scientist, to a wineman! How excellent!

Moonstone Beach sounds so romantic! take care
x

Betsy from Tennessee said...

Hi Pat, Great photos of the wineries... You should write a book about all of the different wineries you all have visited... That would be an interesting book...

Gary Eberle's life and education sounds interesting.

Thanks so much for sharing.
Hugs,
Betsy

Farmchick said...

Gorgeous pics! I always love visiting a winery. I find them so beautiful.

pam said...

It always astounds me how many vineyards there are in this country. I don't know how they survive. So beautiful. We loved Cambria when we were last in California. Joy for a good week Pat!

Vee said...

A wild boar? I never would've guessed that one! Beautiful country and a beautiful highway. Always a treat to visit and see your wonderful photography.

camp and cottage living said...

Pat
Your travels throughout California where amazing. Such beautiful wineries and mountain.
I didn't know the story behind the wild boar; so interesting. I guess you'll be going back to Italy!

Ginny said...

I remember the boar, you have shown him before in your travels!! Gosh, I don't think I could ever be comfortable eating dinner, or doing anything in a CAVE! Not the most romantic thing for me! Even if it is fixed up really pretty!

black eyed susans kitchen said...

That view is just stunning Pat!! The winery is also beautiful and how wonderful to have a tour there...thank you for taking us with you....at least in this post.

Ocean Breezes and Country Sneezes said...

Love the new Header, it's so festive looking! Isn't California wine country beautiful? I've been to Temecula and I loved it! Looking forward to reading and seeing more. Oh, your photo's are just stunning!

Sara said...

I'm loving those beautiful rolling hills and the Pacific Ocean views in your photos. So different from Southern California, but so lovely.

Cindy said...

Such beautiful scenery and that vineyard is so gorgeous! Looks like you had a very interesting tour.
Hugs, Cindy

Tanna at The Brick Street Bungalow said...

Wonderful tour and beautiful photos, Pat!! And, BTW, we 'petted' Porcellino this past summer in Florence, too! ;) I just regret that we didn't get t-shirts with him on them! LOL! blessings ~ Tanna

Carol said...

Fantastic trip! I enjoyed this post on the wineries. Fabulous shots. It's always interesting what these people did before they started in wine.

Sarah said...

Absolutely gorgeous photos. That blue sky is amazing. Twilight walk on Moonstone Beach ~ sounds delightful.

Judy ~ My Front Porch said...

A lovely region of California...wine country. Thanks for taking us along on your tour!

Ola said...

the statue of a wild boar is really lovely! And the scenery you showed on the last pictures-very spectacular!

diane b said...

It sure is a beautiful part of your country. I love the rolling hills and the vineyards. I think I've seen that boar in the Burchard Gardens in Victoria Canada. He's a beauty. For 15 years we went on wine tours every year. It was such good fun but never one in California worse luck. Now that Bill can't drink much wine any more due to Atrial Fibrillation we don't visit wineries now. I am enjoying the your trip.

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

What a wonderful trip. The story of the boar is fascinating.

From the Kitchen said...

It's 6:45 a.m. and I'm thinking about a glass of wine! Wonderful post. I've made a few notes for our next trip out west. I'll look for the boar!

Best,
Bonnie

SavoringTime in the Kitchen said...

That is so interesting about the wild boar sculpture! I certainly wouldn't want to rub the nose of a real one ;)

Look like a wonderful winery and beautiful area. Another great tour!

Veronica said...

Hi Pat. Phew what a gorgeous outing..so much wine and so little time... Love the sory of the wild boar, that is so cool!Looks like you had a great time. There is always something so romatic about wine maturing in barrels waiting to be shared and enjoyed.

Veronica

ellen b. said...

You found a lovely spot to stop. Love the beautiful photos. I enjoy the California Coast during the fall and winter. Cambria is such a lovely little town.

Tracy said...

I just LOVE going along with your on your road trips, Pat! This was no exception... Love wineries and tastings. ;o) But such a fun story behind Porcellino--cute little devil, he is. ;o) Pet the piggy for good luck! haha... Happy Days ((HUGS))

Sheila said...

I'm really enjoying your travels in California, Pat. If you had kept driving on the Pacific Coast Highway and taken the ferry from Seattle or Bellingham to Vancouver Island you would have headed to the world famous Buchart Gardens and found another boar with a very shiny snout. You would really enjoy those beautiful gardens. Looking forward to your next post...

Lovella ♥ said...

Such beautiful vineyard photos Pat. I don't think I am familiar with that wine. ...but I'd love to visit there and do a taste test.

Ciao Chow Linda said...

I just knew it was that little porcine fellow porcellino. Your photos of the rolling vineyards are so beautiful and evocative of a warmer, lovely place.

Oliag said...

I just know that Mr O and I would have a grand time traveling with you and your husband! You visit sites and find food that we would love!

By the way, I made the lentil soup but used twice as many lentils, added mushrooms, and used vegetable broth and my vegetarian son in law said it was the best lentil soup he has ever had!

Catherine said...

Just gorgeous! Your photos are great as ever and your post informative and fun to read.

Claudia said...

Those underground caves are a marvel and so perfect for the wine. The vineyards in California seem to celebrate the earth, don't they? I loved seeing Porcellino - I tried to rub his nose in Florence but I couldn't get near him! Looking forward to twilight on the beach.

Linda said...

Great post! That area can be so lovely and your pictures were wonderful! My SIL lives very close to where you were Paso Robles and her friend just started a small winery there. We got to try some of the wine at Thanksgiving.

Yvette said...

Love that boar! :)

California wine country is a area I long to visit. Thanks for sharing so much of your wonderful trip, Pat.

Betsy said...

That is such a gorgeous area of the country! So different than Ohio! ha. Although Ohio is beautiful in it's own way, too! :)

Theanne and Baron said...

Lovely...reminds me of when Don and I wine tasted and bought wine in Napa Valley!

Marg said...

Thanks for dropping by...I've had a few changes in my life...back to work and it's so hard to stay connected virtually.
But I loved your wine tour and could just imagine sitting down with you and having that special glass of Cab Sav.

Pondside said...

The scenery is really like nowhere else - the brown hills and green trees. Lovely to re-visit through your eyes!

Gracie said...

How interesting! It's so beautiful and lovely, and I'm sure you had a great time traveling along...and the weather, here is cold and foggy, your photos seem to be from another planet!

Jenny said...

Oh wow. This is lovely. You travel so beautifully, and tell us about it so elegantly.

Judie said...

Pat, I have never been to Napa, but your photos make me want to go. They are really excellent.
We have javelina here in Arizona, and they look like wild boar, but they are really members of the peccary (sp?) family.

Steph said...

The valley shots and rows of grapes are simply beautiful. My sister visited there a few years back and loved it as well. That's so fun about your good luck boar. I also love the romance of the underground wine caves and dining and want to hear more about Moonstone Beach. Your trip sounds wonderful.

Betty (picture circa 1951) said...

Thank you so much for the interesting tour. It looks beautiful out there. No wonder so many people want to live in California.

edenhills said...

Wow! That is an amazing place~huge! Thanks for the tour.

JDaniel4's Mom said...

The rolling hills are lovely.

anitamombanita said...

Oh I could say so many things about this post. Paso Robles is a lovely place. The meaning of its name is Oak Pass. Your photo of the rolling hills with the majestic oaks is so emblematic of northern California, it almost makes me homesick as I look out the windows at the snowy ground.

Eberle's history was interesting...Sadly now, anytime I hear anything about Penn State it makes my stomach turn. He sounds like a fascinating guy, though.

Nice thoughtful posting. Thanks :)

Theresa said...

Ah...thanks for sharing your vineyard moments! Stunning and enjoyable!

Andy said...

Hello.
I've never been to California.
I very much enjoyed the mini tour & fascinating information.
Awesome photos, especially the scenic ones.
Thanks for sharing.

For ref:
Eleven Roses And You

Jenny said...

Gorgeous!!!!

I love how you keep running into the boar statue everywhere!!!!

A+

Jenny said...

Gorgeous!!!!

I love how you keep running into the boar statue everywhere!!!!

A+