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!