Karen + Alec: Sunshine and Romance in September

Karen and Alec’s wedding was a joyful occasion celebrated on September 29, 2018. The Visalia based couple have the most wonderful chemistry which stems from their longtime romance and it was a delight to see their adoration for one another during their special day at the ranch. They shared an intimate moment basking in the sunshine at the vineyard pond, enjoying their first look at the end of the dock. After a heartfelt ceremony, they had a romantic walk in the winery caves and shared kisses at sunset while strolling through the verdant vines. At one point during the reception, the Maid of Honor asked Karen what she most loved about Alec and Karen chose to declare her sweet thoughts about her new husband to all the guests as part of her toast. An exuberant and joyous celebration took place on the Silo Barn Patio where they danced the night away to the boisterous tunes of Wild Hare band. Karen contributed her musical enthusiasm with her personal tambourine! Cheers to the happy couple!

The Wedding Team

Coordination: Chelsea Herman, From Ring to Reception

Photographer: Bergreen Photography

Catering: Ribline Catering

Rentals: Taylor Rentals

Flowers: Noonan Designs

Live Band: Wild Hare

Transportation: SLO Safe Ride

Photo Booth: Wanderful Photobooth

Hair & Makeup: Wendy Walker

Officiant: Barbara Simpson

Chetna + Miah: Two Cultures One Love

The June 2018 wedding of Chetna and Miah was a bright and vibrant blend of culture and tradition with a romantic modern twist. Their story of love and world travel culminated in a beautiful two-day wedding featuring two glorious ceremonies. The Friday night ceremony was intimate, surrounded by just close family and friends. Chetna chose a beautiful white lace dress and Miah wore a dashing grey suit. The first wedding affectionately described as their “Love American Style” wedding was sweet and intimate. The couple’s second wedding was full of tradition, bold color, and family. The ceremony took place beneath a mandap canopy where the families performed a traditional Indian wedding ceremony. Both Chetna and Miah dressed in vibrant, traditional attire and jewelry, paired with beautiful floral garlands. Chetna and her bridesmaids all were adorned with intricate hand-drawn henna art on their hands and feet. At the conclusion of the ceremony, the party was moved to our Historic Barn for dancing, food and a little bit of karaoke.

The Wedding Team

Coordination: Spark + Sparkle Events

Photographer: Little Boat Photography

Catering: Café MedFire and WineJaipur Cuisine of India

Dessert: Crave Gourmet Mini Donuts

Rentals: All About EventsAvenue Twelve Rentals

Flowers: Elegant Details – Floral and Event DesignRho 220

DJ/Lighting: Leeor Brown, Lucky Devils Band

Transportation: SLO Safe Ride

Hair & Makeup: Devon Baker, Brooke Scotia

Megan and Teddy’s Halter Ranch wedding reins supreme

Megan and Teddy celebrated their wedding on a gorgeous spring day, May 12, 2018. Megan, a highly sought after equine veterinarian and acupuncturist, and Teddy, a famed bareback rodeo cowboy, shared an instant connection after meeting in the corrals at the Salinas Rodeo. Their special day at Halter Ranch commenced with a beautiful outdoor ceremony where the couple exchanged their vows in front of the wooden ‘Halter Altar’ that was adorned with romantic and delicate floral arrangements. Afterward, the newlyweds enjoyed a relaxed photoshoot at the ranch’s most scenic photography locations followed by photos with their entire wedding party in front of the historic Victorian homestead and throughout the lush, green barnyard. The reception design included intricate touches showing Megan and Teddy’s combined equine passion, such as the golden rodeo trophies adorning the bar, reception tables named for the couple’s horses, and a skillfully designed groom’s cake fashioned after Teddy’s championship belt buckle. At the end of the evening, the couple and their guests enjoyed a champagne toast, indulged in cactus cupcakes, and danced the night away under the glittering chandelier and twinkling lights on the Silo Barn Patio.

The Wedding Team

Photography/Video: Allyson Magda

Coordination: Azurae Shults, Ciel Bleu Events

Flowers: Adornments

Catering: Field To Table

Cake & Desserts: Papercake Events

Calligraphy & Graphic Design: Fete and Quill

Rentals: Avenue Twelve

Rentals: All About Events

Rentals: Scout

Lighting & Draping: Bella Vista

Shuttles: SLO Safe Ride


Halter Ranch 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon wins big at California State Fair

2018 California Commercial Wine Competition Results

The California State Fair’s Commercial Wine competition is a coveted award that has been a key part of the state’s robust wine industry. The CA State Fair is also the oldest wine competition in the country. This year, 2,705 California wines from 691 wine companies were judged over three days. For Halter Ranch our big winner this year was the 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon. See the results below.

2015 Cabernet Sauvignon – 99 points
Double Gold, Best of Region – Red, Best of California, Best of Class of Varietal
Cabernet Sauvignon is our most widely planted varietal at Halter Ranch with over one-hundred acres under vine. The 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon possesses a classic profile with aromas of red and black currants and graphite. Bright and fresh on the palate, this wine has flavors of red fruits and black cherries. A balanced mid-palate and well-integrated tannins lead to a long seamless finish. Delicious now, this wine will continue to develop for years to come. Pair with wood-fired pizza, braised game and roasted or grilled meats.

2015 CDP – 95 points
Gold, Best of Class of Varietal
CDP (Côtes de Paso) is our Rhône-style blend that is a combination of four varietals from our estate vineyard. Grenache provides a bright fruit-forward entry, Mourvèdre adds spice notes, while Syrah brings some weight to the mid-palate, and Tannat ties everything together with color, tannin and acidity. Loaded with aromas of dried strawberry and rose petals, with a hint of garrigue, this delicious wine has an elegant palate that leads to a long smooth finish.

2015 Ancestor – 88 points
Our flagship wine, Ancestor, is our Bordeaux-style reserve blend, and an homage to the Ancestor Tree, the largest Coast Live Oak tree on record. Carefully selected barrels of Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, and Petit Verdot were blended for this cuvée which offers aromas of olallieberries and cassis. Rich and powerful, this wine offers dark fruit flavors and has a silky, round mouthfeel that leads to a well-structured finish. The 2015 Ancestor is an excellent food wine and pairs well with beef, lamb, and game. Enjoy now, or set aside for a special occasion, as this wine will develop beautifully for years to come.

2015 Syrah – 88 points
Syrah is a perennial favorite at Halter Ranch, and our unique soil expresses a beautiful side of the grape varietal. Our 2015 Syrah opens with aromas of blueberries and baking spices. The bright entry provides complex flavors of dried flowers, berry compote and a hint of earthiness, that leads to a long layered finish. This elegant wine will pair well with charcuterie and braised and grilled meats.

2016 Grenache Blanc – 88 points
We chose Grenache Blanc to be the dominant white grape varietal at Halter Ranch because of its unique and delicate fruit profile, elegance and freshness. Reminiscent of wines of Southern France, this Grenache Blanc has aromas and flavors of white flowers, melons and pear. Delicious on its own, this wine also pairs beautifully with lighter meats, summer salads and anything from the sea.

A wonderful wine country wedding

Bradley and Rodrigo both admittedly fell in love with one another on their first date. Based in North Hollywood, they frequently visited Paso Robles while dating to explore wine country and quickly became avid fans of Halter Ranch. The couple chose to hold a pre-ceremony cocktail hour on the Silo Barn patio, sipping glasses of rosé while basking in the early autumnal sunshine. The wedding reception was held in the expansive Historic Barn, allowing for a large dance floor where guests danced the night away.

The Wedding Team

Photographer: Yvonne Goll

Rentals: All About Events

Catering: Popolo Catering

Entertainment: The Candle Light Strings

Coordination: I Adore by Kira

Cake/Desserts: Papercake Events

DJ/Photobooth/Lighting: Kramer Events

“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.

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