“A Rosé is a Rosé is a Rosé”

Photo: Noah Parker

-Gertrude Stein (well…sort of)

To say that 2017 was a unique vintage is a vast understatement; forty-three inches of rain brought an abundance of canopy growth, with great fruit set, and led to our largest vintage yet at Halter Ranch Vineyard (read Harvest Update blog for more information on the vintage). We recently sat down and tasted through all of the 2017 wines from barrels and tanks and we are confident that it was an exceptional vintage at the Ranch. We are so excited to share our first glimpse of the recent vintage with the recent release of our 2017 Rosé.

We saw some amazing yields from our Grenache and Mourvèdre blocks that we farm for Rosé. Our first grapes for Rosé were harvested on September 6, and we had a total of 14 fermentations with our last pick for Rosé on October 14; this was the first harvest where it felt like we were making Rosé all harvest long. Thankfully we added a new tank to the winery this year, an 1,800 gallon tall tank that is absolutely perfect for making Rosé. The slender shape of the tank makes it an ideal tank for cold settling and also for settling lees post fermentation. We bought this tank with Rosé in mind so it only seemed fitting to name her Rosie, after Rosie the Riveter.

Our 1,800 gallon tall tank Rosie the Riveter (far right)


The 2017 Rosé has a brilliant pink hue partly due to the increased percentage of Mourvèdre, and partly due to a slightly longer skin contact time (read last year’s blog for more information on how Rosé is made). This is one of our favorite offerings of Rosé; it is brimming with aromas and flavors of fresh strawberries, watermelon Jolly Ranchers, guava juice and dragon fruit. As always our Rosé is bone dry (0.6 g/L of residual sugar), has great acidity (3.11 pH) and comes in at a refreshing 13.2% alcohol making it easy to drink Rose All Day!

Come visit us in the Tasting Room to try our new Rosé, or pick up a bottle here for $26!

Molly Lonborg
Associate Winemaker

2017 harvest straight outta Halter

Wowza! As I sit here and look back on the 2017 harvest Wowza is the first word that pops into my mind.  As we all know every vintage is unique and intricate and presents its own challenges and rewards. If we knew exactly what to expect each vintage, our lives would become repetitive and much less exciting. I believe it is the challenges, and rewards of course, that make our job so interesting, and in my mind the best job in the world.

2017 was the first year with significant rainfall after five years of drought. We were very fortunate to have over 43 inches of rain recorded at the Ranch! This is pretty amazing because the so-called “typical” rainfall for our area is supposed to be around 25 inches to 28 inches a year, although we hadn’t seen anything close to that since 2011. It was amazing to drive through the Adelaide (colloquial term for the Adelaida District, the AVA where Halter Ranch is located), and see every reservoir brimming with water. There were ponds that popped up in areas I never even knew existed. If you visited the Ranch this year you probably noticed that even Tablas Creek was flowing for months underneath our covered bridge.

With the wet winter, we were all expecting to have an above-average harvest, as the vines had plenty of canopy growth and they appeared to be carrying a pretty good crop load. What we had expected to be an above-average year turned into a spectacular one; we ended up processing over 50% more fruit than last year! As I mentioned earlier, every vintage is different and the 2017 vintage had many unique characteristics, besides just yields, that will cement itself in our memories for years to come.

Harvest began on August 31 with around 3.5 tons of Viognier, and ended on October 31/November 1 with almost 50 tons of Cabernet Sauvignon. That is 62 endless nights that our vineyard team spent harvesting in the middle of the night (we pick all of our grapes by hand, in the middle of the night using LED light towers and headlamps; our crews typically pick from 8 p.m. till 6 a.m. (please let us know if you would like to apply for this job!), and 62 endless days that our cellar team spent listening to the noisy crush pad as the equipment and our team seamlessly destemmed and sorted all the fruit to prepare for fermentation. In fact, this year the harvest lasted almost a full extra month in the cellar, as we did not press off our last tank till the final week of November.

We are used to long harvests at Halter Ranch due to the fact that we grow thirteen varietals and we have a vast vineyard that has grapes planted on a broad range of hillsides and valley floor. The thing that we were not expecting this year was the stop and start nature of harvest, and the timing of when certain varietals were harvested (we harvested our last white, Grenache Blanc, on October 27).

We began harvest pretty steadily due to nine consecutive days of 100 plus degree weather between the end of August and first week of September. The odd thing was that after the heat spike temperatures dropped and the vineyard seemed to stall a bit. All of a sudden, we were working short 10 hour days, and some of our staff even had weekends off. We had one intern this year working his first harvest and he mentioned how much easier working harvest was than he had expected…. we all told him “you just wait…” and in true fashion, by the beginning of October everything picked WAY back up again.’

Our lovely 10 hour days quickly turned into caffeine fueled 12 to 14 hour days where our only concern besides the grapes and cellar work was how to feed ourselves. If you know anyone that works production for a winery or vineyard you know that your relationship with that person pretty much is on hold for a few months. We spend more hours covered in juice and wine than we do with our loved ones. Sleep, social activities, and clean hands become luxuries that we cannot always afford ourselves. But, I must say, we do it all because we LOVE it. Having a great team, positive working environment and a shared end goal of making the best wine possible, makes it all worthwhile. When you come to work every Tuesday and the whole team is wearing our 2017 Harvest shirts for T-shirt Tuesday exclaiming “Straight Outta Halter” as we jam to some NWA, it’s hard not to smile.

We recently tasted through the dry lots from this harvest (about half of our red lots have finished the secondary fermentation called Malolactic fermentation where the malic acid is converted to lactic acid), and I must tell you I am so excited to taste through the rest and create some amazing blends. The wines are bright and focused with great concentration and beautiful acidity. Keep your eyes open for wines from this vintage as they are sure to impress.

Molly Lonborg, Associate Winemaker

Photography: Yvonne Goll Photography

Summer, Silos and Sweet Romance

Shauna and Scott celebrated their union on September 16, 2017 and were the first wedding to be held in our new Silo Barn venue. Halter Ranch is one of Shauna’s favorite wineries in Paso Robles and the venue was the ideal choice for the couple’s rustic and stylish outdoor celebration. The couple prepared for the day in the comforts of the bridal suite and groom’s lounge and enjoyed an extensive photoshoot throughout the barnyard, under the covered bridge, and around the ranch property. Guests arrived at 3 p.m. and were greeted with a glass of rosé at the entrance to the ceremony site. The ceremony, a stunning affair, included 10 bridesmaids dressed in shades of lavender and plum which perfectly complimented Shauna’s elegant florals. The reception was held under the stars on the Silo Barn patio with the rustic blush of the silos veneer as a striking backdrop to the wedding party’s head table. Dancing and merriment continued late into the evening culminating in the newlyweds’ glittering sendoff by guests holding mason jars filled with lights.

The Wedding Team

Photography/Video: Matrimony Media

Dress: Katie May

Flowers: Country Florist

Catering: Steins Catering

Coordination: Planimation Events

Cake: Christine’s Cake Creations

DJ: Johnny Walker

Hair/Makeup: The Queens Bees

Rentals: All About Events

Shuttles: SLO Safe Ride

Photo Booth: SLOtography


Two Awards For Two Sides of Halter Ranch

Over the last 6 weeks Halter Ranch has won two prestigious awards for different sides of our business.  On July 21st General Manager Skylar Stuck took the stage at the Mid State Fair to accept the Central Coast Wine Competition’s Winery of the Year Award and last Thursday Tasting Room Manager Tony Quealy and Noah Parker traveled to Santa Barbara to accept the Pacific Coast Business Times Small Business Award in the Green Business category.


A great turnout of staff for the award ceremony!


Results like the Winery of the Year award from the Central Coast Wine Competition are especially thrilling. All wines are sourced only from within the Central Coast AVA and are tasted blind of price point, blend percentages, and producer by a mix of 19 journalists, wine buyers, and sommeliers.  The judging panel must agree unanimously that each wine is worthy of a Gold Medal.   This blind evaluation by varied groups within the industry truly speaks to the broad appeal of our 9 Gold Medal and 4 ‘Best Of’ winners.


Halter Staff with former Congresswoman Lois Capps


Sustainability has always been important to our company and for almost 10 years Halter Ranch has been SIP Certified; in fact we were one of the program’s pilot vineyards.  Awards like the 2016 California Green Medal for Environment and the new Green Business award are recognizing what we have always strived to do. As Kevin said in our Green Business Award video, when it comes to green practices and sustainability, it is our guys in the field who make these awards possible.

“Those guys don’t get a lot of recognition for what they do and they’re the ones who have to implement the extra tractor passes, the hand hoeing, all the really difficult things in 95°F weather to get it done…they don’t get the recognition that the winemaker or senior management gets, so really this [award] is for them.”

-Kevin Sass, Winemaker

Green Business Award Video


A month’s worth of accolades!



While these honors are impressive individually, together they show a more holistic view of the company.  We are able to not only make wines that appeal broadly to industry professionals and the public but we can do it using sustainable practices, not just for the future of our soils and environment but also the long term cultivation of our human resources.

Our Summer Employee Garden

At Halter Ranch Vineyard we plant a quarter acre garden each summer to benefit our employees. The garden, planted by our winery, vineyard, administration and tasting room teams, feeds our staff fresh seasonal fruit and vegetables for the remainder of the year. Halter Ranch generously purchases all the starts and garden foundation needed to plant a successful garden.

Employee garden planting Tuesday, May 23


We began this year’s garden on Tuesday, May 23. Our staff planted a variety of tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, cilantro, cucumber, melon, basil, zucchini, squash, beets, butter lettuce, sunflowers, and flowers. And they were out early again to perform garden maintenance including weeding and replanting on Tuesday, July 11.


Adjacent to the garden is our employee fruit orchard with peaches, nectarines, apricots, plums, cherries, figs, pears, apples and pomegranates. We also have a productive artichoke planting, planted in 2016, which provides an abundant artichoke harvest for all staff.

Employees are able to take home the garden bounty, use it for lunches, or we get together as a team to make pesto’s, soups and team lunches. We also host a variety of VIP guests and our signature dish is from our garden, heirloom tomatoes, burrata, basil and Halter Ranch’s very own award winning Mediterranean Blend Olive Oil – simple and delicious!

Our Assistant Winemaker Molly who spearheads the garden project said, it not only provides delicious and wholesome food but is a great space for team building, healthy living and a way to get people’s hands dirty.

Keep an eye on our social media outlets to watch as the garden progresses throughout the season.

Halter Ranch Vineyard Debuts New Summer Concert Series

Halter Ranch Vineyard is excited for the lineup of its new complimentary Summer Concert Series, starting this Friday, May 19, where guests can pair award-winning wines with an impressive range of local music.

Guests can enjoy this series, which takes place one Friday night a month from 5.30 p.m. to 7.30 p.m., from the Tasting Room Patio, while taking in spectacular views of rolling hills and vineyards. To spice up the experience, food will be available for purchase by a different local purveyor each month.

Halter Ranch Tasting Room Manager Tony Quealy said the Summer Concert Series is something we have had in mind for some time. “When we built our new Tasting Room we had in mind these types of events. We hope patrons come and experience the relaxed ambiance of our patio, enjoy the music, wine, food, and beautiful views.”

The concert lineup includes:

Friday, May 19 – Beyond the Bridge (food by Torres Family Catering)

Friends Sam Keating Flynn, Kevin Finnesey, Christiana Newcomb, Aaron Kroeger met through music, bonded over music, and now play music together. Beyond the Bridge provides a lively collection of covers and original music.


Friday, June 16 – REWINED (food by Hurricane Kitchen)

Vocal duo Emily Smith and Rolf Gehrung deliver their craft effortlessly. Singing their favorite Country, Rock, and R&B songs old and new, REWINED is sure to transport you to the time that you first heard that song. Hailing from the Central Coast Wine Region, REWINED has established themselves as the must-see acoustic duo. Think of a cross between Bryan Adams meets Kid Rock singing with Sheryl Crow & Colbie Caillat in a folk/country/r&b sorta way and that’s REWINED.


Friday, July 14 – Kenny Taylor Band (food by What the Truck)

Kenny Taylor was born in the heart of Minnesota but grew his sound out of California making him one of the industries best-kept secrets! Bringing his songs to the West Coast and captivating audiences with his honest and infectious original music. The Kenny Taylor Band was formed in 2012 and includes Central California natives Chris Broemmelsiek, Albert Sanudo Jr. and Mr. Leigh Lossing.

His ability and style bridges generations! Being inspired early on by artists like John Lennon, Dave Matthews, and Ben Gibbard and having an intense immersion in loads of 90s pop.


Friday, August 25 – Bear Market Riot (food by Hurricane Kitchen)

In 2014 Kirk Nordby and Nick Motil met at a songwriter showcase in San Luis Obispo, CA. Over a bowl of gumbo the two conspired to busk together at the Baywood-Los Osos Farmer’s Market. Upon agreement that two beards are better than one, they became Bear Market Riot.

Bear Market Riot is Power-Folk Americana from the California Central Coast. A duo blending everything from folk to R&B into an infectious sound that could only come from two bearded men playing seven instruments while keeping the dance floor satisfied. Nordby and Motil captivate audiences of all-ages with tight harmonies, catchy originals, and an arsenal of high-energy originally interpreted covers.


Friday, September 15 – Burning, Bad & Cool (food by Grilled Cheese Incident)

Burning, Bad & Cool is a vocal oriented trio that performs southern fried soul, gospel and blues music dipped in thick, sweet harmony. Here is a band with two great lead vocalists and the perfect third complimentary voice. First, ‘Burning’ James Scoolis brings his soulful vocal style and slings lead, slide and rhythm guitar playing on his Stratocaster. Second, there is Jimmy “Cool” Conroy on his hybrid Taylor acoustic with his incredible deep baritone voice. Jim is so exceptional that he has been referred to as “the voice” in the press. And finally, there is “Bad” Billy Baxmeyer on bass and vocals. These three voices blend so beautifully that you can not help but take notice.

Complimentary tickets can be reserved through www.halterranchconcerts.brownpapertickets.com

Spring in the Vineyard

Spring is upon us and across the ranch vine buds are breaking signaling the start of a new growing season. This is one of the busiest times of the year for our vineyard team. Mowing, planting, shoot thinning and under-vine cultivation are all at the forefront of springtime activities.

Halter Ranch Grenache Block 1

Block 1 head-trained Grenache bud break. Photo by Zeb Little.



The first official bud break was experienced in Block 1 head-trained Grenache on March 13. To date everything has woken up except Cabernet Sauvignon, which has been slow to rise from its winter slumber.

Block 70 cane pruned VSP Grenache – almost at the complete opposite end of the ranch to our Block 1 Grenache. Photos by Zeb Little.


Vineyard Manager, Lucas Pope, said 50% bud break was experienced over two weeks ago, putting us two weeks behind last years’ growth. “This season is shaping up to be similar to 2013/14 for bud break dates. We are currently in the process of protecting our vineyards against the possibility of frost. Late winter rains are typically followed by frosty conditions. We are at a vulnerable time point because the tender green shoots are sensitive to even the slightest frost conditions.”

Mowing of our 281 acres of vines. Photo by Zeb Little.


To mitigate frost impact, the vineyard team mowed the 281 acres of vineyard on the property. Alternate row mowing was completed on hills, specifically in the Syrah blocks, to draw moisture from the soil. Flat blocks or valley floors, which are most susceptible to frost, were mowed each row as a means for passive frost protection. This is done by lowering the vineyard floor away from the canes of the vine.

Alternate row mowing. Photo by Zeb Little.


The vineyard team has also converted from cordon pruned vines to cane pruned vines. The difference being cane pruning promotes new growth each year with a healthier canopy and more fruit. Next in the vineyard is replanting missing vines across the ranch and shoot thinning to control crop levels and promote healthy vines; shoot thinning redirects the plants energy to where you want it to go.

Luckily, Vineyard Manager, Lucas Pope, now has a little extra help from new Assistant Viticulturist Zeb Little. Zeb, who started at Halter Ranch in August 2016, transitioned from the winemaking team into the field and is now responsible for vineyard observation, data monitoring, and undertaking our SIP Certification processes and management.

Healthy on You cooking class recipes with Halter Ranch wine pairings

In January 2017 Halter Ranch partnered with Samantha Binkley from Healthy on You in Rancho Santa Fe for her Healthy Girlfriends Getaway Cooking Classes, the classes were a hands-on cook-and-eat with a four course menu paired with Halter Ranch wines.

Healthy on You cooking classes combine luxury and simplicity in an intimate and enjoyable environment. Guests learn kitchen basics and how to prepare healthy gluten free meals, helpful kitchen tools and must-haves to make cooking easier and enjoyable, and simple tips to make eating healthy on busy week nights a breeze. 

Below are the recipes from the cooking classes and the wine pairings, we hope you enjoy!

Lemon Sole Pinwheels Stuffed with Fresh Crab, Artichoke and Spinach

Paired with the Halter Ranch 2016 Rosé

This is a surprisingly easy meal to prepare and the results are visually stunning. If you enjoy fish as a part of you healthy living lifestyle, this recipe is a game changer. It’s low calorie, delicious and fast. 


Serves 4

4 large skinless lemon Sole fillets

6 oz.  lump crabmeat picked over for any shells

1 cup artichoke hearts

1 cup fresh spinach chopped

1 tbsp. onion minced

1 garlic clove minced

1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice

2 tbsp. low fat mayonnaise

¼ cup breadcrumbs

1 tsp. chopped fresh tarragon

¼ tsp. salt

¼ tsp. ground pepper

Zest of 1 lemon

1 tsp. Healthy On You® Fish Lovers Spice

4 thin slices of lemons Slice

Fresh dill for garnish


Pre heat oven to 350F.

Coat the bottom of a medium sized sheet pan with olive oil and place four slices of lemons on the pan where you will place each roll of fish. In a medium sized bowl start with adding the artichoke hearts. Using a wooden spoon, break up the artichokes so the leaves are separated and there are no lumps. Add the crab, spinach, mayonnaise, breadcrumbs, onion, garlic, tarragon, lemon juice, lemon zest and salt and pepper. Combine well divide out into four parts.

Separately, lay your fish flat and season lightly with salt and pepper. Spoon the crab mixture onto the larger end of the fish. Gently roll the fish making sure the mixture stays inside. Place the rolled fish seam-side down on top of the sliced lemon, repeat for the other three fillets.

Once in the pan, spray with a light coat of olive oil, sprinkle the Healthy on You ® Fish Lover’s Spice on top of all four pieces of fish. Place in the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes. Garnish with fresh dill and more lemon slices.

Watercress and Parsley Soup with a Poached Egg

Paired with the Halter Ranch 2015 Grenache Blanc

This recipe is great for an easy week night meal-so healthy and filling too. It’s packed with antioxidants from the highly nutritious watercress. You can omit the egg, use vegetable stock and substitute the unsalted butter for more olive oil for a complete vegan meal. 


Serves: 4

2 tbsp. olive oil

2 tbsp. unsalted butter

4 cups torn watercress, rinsed and drained

¼ cup chopped fresh parsley

1 sweet onion chopped

2 small russet potatoes peeled and chopped

2 cups celery ribs, chopped

4 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth, plus more for thinning soup

1 cup coconut milk

4 small eggs

1½ tsp. sea salt

½ tsp. freshly ground pepper


Melt the butter and oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion; reduce heat to medium-low, and sauté, stirring occasionally, 8 minutes or until onion is tender. Add potatoes and celery. Cook, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes.

Add broth, coconut milk, salt and pepper; bring to a low boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat and simmer 25 to 30 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Remove from heat and stir in watercress and parsley. Let cool slightly.

To poach the eggs: fill a medium saucepan about ⅔ full with water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat so the water is at a gentle simmer. Crack the eggs one at a time into a small measuring cup with a handle. Gently swirl the egg so the egg white coats the yolk. Then pour the egg into the simmering water. Swirl the loose white parts around the yolk with a spoon. Let set for 4 minutes and remove with a slotted spoon (two at a time is manageable.)

Finish the soup: Using an immersion blender, puree the soup in the pot until smooth. If you don’t have one, pour soup in two batches into the bowl of a food processor or blender, and puree until very smooth. Pour soup back into the pot to warm. If the soup is too thick, add more milk or stock. In individual bowls, add the poached egg to the center of soup.  Keep in mind if the soup is too thin, the egg will sink to the bottom. Garnish with additional parsley, if desired.

Steamed Winter Vegetables

Paired with the Halter Ranch 2014 CDP

This recipe takes eating the rainbow to a whole new level. Adding colorful root vegetables and squashes up the nutrition level and adds to the delicious flavor of this healthy vegetable side. As a base, it lends itself to all types of other flavors including garlic, soy or fish sauce, and an array of herbs. This simple version pairs great with the lemon sole pinwheel recipe.

Serves 4

1 cup small Brussels sprouts (whole)
1 cup rainbow carrots diced
1 cup yukon gold potatoes diced
1 cup kabocha squash diced
1 tbsp. Healthy On You® Herbes de Provence spice
2 cups vegetable or fish stock
1 tbsp. olive oil

Sea salt and pepper


Thoroughly wash, clean and dice the vegetables. Note, when cutting the vegetables, make sure you keep the sizes consistent so they cook evenly. Next, using a slotted spoon or steamer basket, boil or steam the vegetables in individual batches for 3-5 minutes until cooked but still a little firm. Keep an eye on the water level so you don’t run low before you are finished.

Once all the vegetables are all steamed and set aside, heat a medium sized sauce pan then add the olive oil, and Herbes de Provence spice and let cook for one minute.  Add the stock and bring to a boil. Continue cooking uncovered, until the stock is reduced by half, then add in all the vegetables. Cook with the lid on and the flame on low for 5-7 minutes until all the vegetables are tender and the color is still bright. Season with sea salt and pepper and serve immediately.

Coconut Panna Cotta with Blood Orange Compote

Paired with the Halter Ranch 2010 Vin de Paille

This simple, yet beautiful dessert is low-cal substituting milk and cream with coconut milk. The blood orange compote is a perfect accompaniment to this seemingly decadent but light treat. Another great thing about this dessert is that it can be made up to three days ahead!

Serves 4

1½ cups coconut milk (use full fat option)
2 vanilla pods split
1¼ tsp. unflavored gelatin powder (Knox brand)
5 tbsp. sugar
¼tsp. fine sea salt
6 blood oranges
2 tbsp. water
4 tbsp. coconut palm sugar
1tbsp. coconut palm sugar syrup (Wholesome brand)
2 tsp.cointreau
4 star anise pods
½ tsp. vanilla
½ cinnamon


Scrape the insides of the vanilla pods and set aside the vanilla bean paste. In a saucepan, add the coconut milk and vanilla, then sprinkle the gelatin over the mixture and let it rest for 10 minutes or so. Gently warm the pan (but do not boil) over low heat and add in the sugar and salt, stir gently until dissolved. Remove from flame and place in an ice bath- set a bowl over another bowl filled with ice and water, then add the mixture to the empty bowl. Stir the mixture over the iced water so it quickly cools down and thickens, (about 5 minutes) then pour into individual small glasses or ramekins ¾ full leaving room for the compote. Refrigerate for a minimum of 4 hours.

To make the blood orange compote: Start be squeezing the juice from two oranges. With the other four, peel and section each orange removing any white pith and seed. Do this over a bowl so you don’t waste any of the juices. What you should have left is just the flesh of the orange. Set aside.

In a small sauce pan, heat the water sugar and syrup and bring to a boil. The mixture will begin to bubble and caramelize. When it thickens, about 10 minutes, remove from heat and slowly add the orange juice and stir until combined well. Return the mixture to the heat and stir in the cointreau, vanilla, star anise and cinnamon. Bring to a boil then remove from heat; refrigerate allowing it to cool completely. Remove the star anise before adding to the top of your pan cotta. This can be made a day ahead to save time.

To learn more about Samantha’s upcoming cooking classes visit www.healthyonyou.com

Rosé All Day

Halter Ranch Rosé


Okay, so I have to be honest here, pink is not my favorite color. I have always considered myself a bit of a tomboy and pink just does not fit into my color choices. However when it comes to wine it is the complete opposite. Rosé is one of my favorite wines that we make, and also one of my favorite wines to drink. The recent popularity of rosé has changed how and when we drink rosé, and has catapulted this category to a year round favorite which I absolutely love.

Picpoul Blanc grapes on the vine


Unfortunately rosé has been given a bad rap due to the sweet Lancers and white Zinfandels of yester-year that used to flood the U.S. market. Today we are much more fortunate to be part of a paradigm shift which has pushed wineries to produce high quality rosé, and in turn has brought you (the consumers) a wide array of delicious, dry (not sweet) wines that rival many old-world favorites, all while at a price point that won’t break the bank.

At Halter Ranch Vineyard we take our rosé program very seriously. Let me take a quick step back here and explain the three main ways in which rosé is made: there is the Saigne method, a direct press method and a skin contact method.

Block 16 Grenache harvested at night to make rosé


In the Saigne method grapes are harvested to become a red wine; the grapes are de-stemmed, sorted, then sent to tank for cold-soaking (the grapes are held cold for a desired period of time before fermentation is allowed to begin, a common practice in red-wine production). Usually as quickly as possible a portion of the juice is bled off (Saigne means to bleed in French) and set aside to be made into rosé. For the tank this means that you will have less juice to skin ratio, which in turn will create a more concentrated red wine. The problem with this method is that the juice you are starting off with has the DNA of a red wine, that is to say the sugar is higher and the acid is lower. Generally speaking, to make an approachable rosé the winemaking team has to add water and acid to this juice prior to fermentation.

The direct press method involves harvesting grapes that are destined for rosé, and dumping them into a bladder press, where they are pressed off and the juice is fermented.

Picpoul Blanc being dumped into the bladder press

Picpoul Blanc being dumped into the bladder press


At Halter Ranch we take this one step further and opt for the skin contact method. Much like the direct press method, we actually farm certain vineyard blocks for rosé, meaning we can pick at the exact sugar and acid level that will result in a low-alcohol fresh wine that does not require any manipulation. All of our grapes are hand-harvested at night and brought to the winery where we de-stem and sort the fruit prior to crushing into half-ton macro bins. The bins are left in a cold storage room for approximately 24 hours where the juice is in contact with the skins and absorbs some of the color, flavor and aroma compounds that make our rosé truly unique. After the skin contact period the bins are dumped into our bladder press where they are pressed and sent to tanks to ferment.

Rosé tank samples used for blending trials


Post fermentation we generally have between four and eight tanks of rosé, which results in the grueling task of blending. When we are getting ready to blend the rosé we will taste every tank on its own, then decide what quantities of each are required to make the most delicious cuvée. Because we love rosé so much, and want to get the finished product to you as soon as possible, we bottle this wine in early December so it has a couple of months to rest before being ready to consume around Valentine’s Day.

Our 2016 Rosé is made from Grenache, Mourvèdre and Picpoul Blanc. Grenache provides aromas and flavors of wild strawberry and red fruit, while the Mourvèdre brings hints of watermelon and guava. The Picpoul Blanc (which literally translates to Lip Stinger in French) brightens the palate with crisp acidity while also bringing weight to the mid-palate. The 2016 Rosé is bone-dry and comes in at 13.2% alcohol which means you can enjoy more than one glass at a time and not feel like you have over-consumed!

We released our rosé on Friday, February 10, and we couldn’t be more excited. Last year our rosé was sold out in the tasting room by September, so it’s time to say “Yes Way Rosé” and come see us to pick-up a bottle (or case) of your favorite pink beverage!

Our 2016 Rosé retails for $24 and is available through our website, by phone (805) 226 9455, or in the tasting room.

Molly Lonborg

Halter Ranch Assistant Winemaker

Las Tablas Creek is flowing again

Halter Ranch Vineyard like much of the county, experienced high levels of rainfall over the weekend and into this week. Las Tablas Creek located on the south side of the property, which travels under our Covered Bridge, is now flowing for the first time since 2011 after receiving over 10 inches of rain since January 3, 2017. The creek begins about half way down Adelaida Road and continues to Lake Nacimiento Reservoir.

This is a once in a decade storm and we hope the creek continues to flow for months to come; a nice change from the dry conditions of the last few years. During 2012, 2013, 2014 while the creek did not flow, the springs in the creek still had water on the surface providing seasonal access to animals, but even those dried up completely in 2015 due to the ongoing drought.

The water flow we are able to see is an indicator of what is going on below in the underground portion of the creek; it means the soil is fully saturated and the excess water above allows the creek to flow. The additional rain also has many benefits to the property and vineyard. The main benefit being it saturates the soil, so vines have the maximum amount of water at the start of the growing season and it recharges the groundwater. The frequency of the current storms will allow the soil to be fully saturated and fill the groundwater basins.

Halter Ranch Vineyard Manager Lucas Pope said things are looking up from the last few years with regards to rain and groundwater, having the soil saturated at the beginning of the growing season allows for less irrigation and more canopy growth.

The winery at Halter Ranch also has rainwater harvesting systems located on the roof, in the floors, and in drains around the exterior of the facility allowing the winery to capture all rainwater. Water collected beyond the needs of the facility itself is used to fill our vineyard’s irrigation pond.

Rainfall totals since 2010/11 from Western Weather Group, Tablas Creek Station:

38.18 inches July 1, 2010 to July 1, 2011

15.09 inches July 1, 2011 to July 1, 2012

14.98 inches July 1, 2012 to July 1, 2013

13.87 inches July 1, 2013 to July 1, 2014

14.2 inches July 1, 2014 to July 1, 2015

19.62 inches July 1, 2015 to July 1, 2016

17.21 inches to date since July 1, 2016


10.49 inches January 3, 2017 to January 11, 2017


We look forward to more rain in the coming months.

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