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.


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.


Halter Ranch’s Olive Orchard Produces Premium Olive Oil

Halter Ranch Olive Harvest

An increased consumer demand for premium olive oil is piquing interest in the olive orchards of Paso Robles, a key player in the California Extra Virgin Olive Oil market. Paso Robles has for some time been recognized as a premium grape growing region, and olives are just as happy in our Mediterranean environment.

Halter Ranch Olive Harvest

The west-side Paso Robles limestone soils provide ideal growing conditions for the Halter Ranch olive orchard. Our modest four-acre orchard has been developed in stages over the past few years. The original planting of Frantoio, Leccino, Maurino, and Pendolino comprise a traditional Tuscan field blend. Later, a small annex of Spanish Picual was added to the orchard. Picual is responsible for more than a quarter of the olive oil produced worldwide. The newer annex has since been augmented with Aglandau, a hearty French cultivar.

Halter Ranch Olive Harvest

Our orchard was harvested for the first time in 2015. Our second annual harvest was completed this year by our production and vineyard team on November 9, 2016. After picking and sorting by hand, the oil was milled at Kiler Ridge Olive Farm within mere hours of harvesting the fruit. After a few months of tank settling in our caves, the small-batch oil was meticulously racked, hand-bottled, and labelled. The different portions of the orchard were blended together to create our custom Mediterranean Blend. This award-winning oil is certified Extra Virgin by the California Olive Oil Council.

Halter Ranch Olive Harvest

Growth in the orchard has been so vigorous that we had to make some heavy pruning decisions this year. Dramatically pruning about half of the orchard for tree shape, we kept a close eye on the fruiting zones of each tree, and happily yielded more oil than in 2015. After milling, the pomace left over is returned to the orchard, closing the loop of our sustainable olive farming. All maintenance except for mowing, tilling, and mulching is performed by hand. Water application is minimal, and only organic compost is used for fertilization. We at Halter Ranch are delighted to produce a premium California Extra Virgin Olive Oil using the same practices that inform our grape growing and wine production.

Halter Ranch Olive Harvest

NICHOLAS MAY, Production and Shipping

Halter Ranch Mediterranean Blend Olive Oil

Bold and complex with a bright, peppery finish, this delicious blend is a perfect finishing oil for pastas, grilled meats, vegetables and salads. Our olive oil won Best of Show at the Central Coast Olive Oil Competition and Best of Class, Extra Virgin Olive Oil at the California State Fair.

The Halter Ranch Mediterranean Blend is available for purchase in the Tasting Room or online.

$16.00Club Price $12.80 (250ml)


Halter Ranch joins the herd

Cowvée Alice

Cowvée Alice outside the Halter Ranch Tasting Room

 

The vibrant CowParade has arrived in San Luis Obispo County. CowParade is an international moo-ving public art exhibit made up of life-sized, 120-pound fiberglass cows decorated by artists and displayed at prominent locations, before they are auctioned off for charity.

We are lucky enough here at Halter Ranch to add our own cow to the Halter herd, Cowvée Alice. Named after our Cuvée Alice reserve wine, a blend of Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre and Tannat, and decorated by artist Jack Foster. Foster is the co-founder of Progressive Auto Art, a high quality refinishing, restoration and auto repair company. Foster color matched the paint to our metallic wine capsules and gave Cowvée Alice a high gloss auto finish.

Cowvée Alice was unveiled at the Madonna Inn Meadows on Saturday, September 17, 2016. She arrived at her new home, Halter Ranch on Wednesday, September 21, 2016. She is now situated outside our tasting room and will be with us until May 2017, make sure you stop by for a visit and a photo #CowvéeAlice.

CowParade SLO is the county’s largest public art display with proceeds benefiting local charities. Since the initial launch in Chicago in 1999, CowParade has been featured in 79 cities worldwide, including Tokyo, Paris, New York City and London. For more information on CowParade™ visit CowParadeSLO.com


2016 Harvest Update

Halter Ranch Grenache

Grenache was the first varietal harvested this year

 

The 2016 growing season has progressed well; harvest officially started at Halter Ranch on Monday, August 29, which puts this year earlier than average. We watched with a sense of anticipation and excitement during the start of August as grapes went through veraison; shifting from green to purple signaling the accumulation of sugars, a telltale sign of fruit approaching ripeness. Over 281,000 vines will be harvested at Halter Ranch over the next two months totaling 600 tons of grapes.

Halter Ranch Grenache

Grenache being sorted after being destemmed

 

Our first varietal harvested was Grenache, Alban Clone, from Blocks 1 to 3 followed by Block 66, VNS3 Clone. Vineyard crews picked between 2am and 6am on Monday morning.

Halter Ranch Grenache Harvest

Production team removing berries which didn’t make the cut

 

Picpoul Blanc Blocks 38 and 76 were our second varietal picked and processed on Tuesday, August 30, and pressing was complete by 9am. Followed by Syrah Blocks 17 and 74 and more Grenache from Blocks 41 and 72 on Thursday, September 1.

Halter Ranch Picpoul Blanc

Picpoul Blanc was harvested on Tuesday morning

 

If we continue to see these consistently warm days and cool nights, we are looking at a compact harvest. Our yield projections are on target for an average crop of two to three tons of grapes per acre. Our improved irrigation technologies have proven again this year; we do not need to water nearly as much as we did in the past.

Halter Ranch Picpoul Blanc

Picpoul Blanc being dumped into the bladder press

 

This growing season has been a contrast to last year, even as the drought continues. Last year we had the coolest May on record causing poor fruit set and lower crops across the region. That, paired with very low rainfall early in the spring, lead to less overall growth for the vines. This year, rain came late in spring and filled the soils as the growing season started, driving vigorous growth in the vineyard. The temperatures have also been above normal with more than two consecutive weeks above 100 and daily average highs in the 95 plus range most of June and July. All the signs point to an outstanding vintage in the fields and winery.

LUCAS POPE, Vineyard Manager


A vertical taste through Halter Ranch’s Cabernets

Halter Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon Vertical Tasting

During the month of August our Wine Club members are offered a special complimentary Cabernet Sauvignon vertical tasting in our Member Lounge. The vertical allows members to sample three very different wines from Halter Ranch’s winemaking history.

More than a third of all vines planted in Paso Robles are Cabernet Sauvignon and our vineyard mirrors that statistic with 104 of our 281 acres of vines planted with Cabernet Sauvignon. It is an integral part of what we do; from our by-the-glass Synthesis, to our mighty Ancestor Reserve, the rich forward fruit, color and tannin structure of Cabernet Sauvignon paired with its deep back palate wow us every year.

In order to show off this grape we love, we have pulled from our library the 2008, 2010 and 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon vintages. The 2008 vintage made by our previous Winemaker Bill Sheffer, the 2010 was begun by Bill and finished by current Halter Ranch Winemaker Kevin Sass, and the 2012 which is Kevin’s wine from start to finish. The three Cabernet’s are very different, due to winemaking style, age, fruit and harvest conditions.

A few notes about the vintages, in 2008 yields were down in Cabernet Sauvignon and related varietals due to an early Spring frost, causing small cluster sets and some shatter. The low yields however did produce some great wine. In 2010 Paso Robles experienced a winter with above average rainfall after three years of drought. Growers had to manage fruit/vine ratio and mildew pressure during the cooler year. In 2012 there were three weeks of extreme heat in late August and early September, bringing harvest forward by almost two full weeks. The fruit quality was high with round and robust flavors.


2008 Cabernet Sauvignon – 15.1% Alcohol

81% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Petit Verdot, 5% Malbec, 3% Merlot, 2% Cabernet Franc

Fermentation: Destemmed and fermented in closed-top fermenters, with punch-downs or pump-overs twice daily for 21 days.

Aging: Aged 18 months in French oak barrels, 30% of which are new.

Lounge Tasting Note

Though it is blended with all five ‘Noble Bordeaux’ grapes, this wine is truly a classic ‘Paso Cab’ it’s huge fruit, bold tannins, and bright acidity can stand up to the bloodiest of steaks. Winemaker Bill Sheffer sought to highlight the beautiful back palate of the Cabernet Sauvignon grape, resulting in deep flavors of sage, earth, and chaparral.

Winemakers Tasting Note

Blended with traditional Bordeaux varieties our Cabernet Sauvignon is dark ruby in color and deeply concentrated with aromas of blackcurrant and blackberry, interwoven with earth, sage, and spice. Big, ripe and juicy on the palate, its mouth-filling blackcurrant and dark plum flavors are balanced by round, supple tannins that guide the wine through a long, rich and smooth finish. Drink now or in the next two years, with grilled steak and lamb, prime rib, venison stew and other hearty meat dishes.


2010 Cabernet Sauvignon – 15% Alcohol

77% Cabernet Sauvignon, 12% Malbec, 11% Merlot

Fermentation: Destemmed and fermented in closed-top fermentors, with punch-downs and pump-overs twice daily for 20 days.

Aging: Aged 18 months in French oak barrels, 35% of which were new.

Lounge Tasting Note

Our last to feature the softening influence of Merlot, this wine was made as a collaboration between winemakers. Bill’s bolder, age-worthy style was quieted by Kevin’s delicate and fruit driven ethos. The result is an elegantly structured wine with soft integrated tannins and a smooth, rich finish.

Winemakers Tasting Note

This vintage is crimson red with a light purple hue. Deeply concentrated, this wine displays aromas of blackberry brambles, black currant, fig and a touch of cocoa. The attack on the palate is driven by an explosion of red and black fruit, framed by elegant structure. Soft integrated tannins guide this beautiful wine through a smooth, rich finish. Delicious now with grilled steak and lamb, prime rib, venison stew and other hearty meat dishes, it will age beautifully for another two to five years.


2012 Cabernet Sauvignon – 14.5% Alcohol

79% Cabernet Sauvignon, 18% Malbec and 3% Petit Verdot

Fermentation: Destemmed and fermented in closed top fermentors, with open pump-overs two to three times daily for an average of 10 days.

Aging: Aged 18 months in French oak barrels, 40% of which were new.

Lounge Tasting Note

After the frost and challenging nature of the 2011 vintage, 2012 was Kevin Sass’ first great growing season with Halter Ranch. The hot Summer and Fall led to a beautifully expressive nose of dark red fruit matched by a silky, luxuriant mid-palate and delicately integrated tannins.

Winemakers Tasting Note

The 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon possesses a classic profile with aromas of dark red fruits. Bright and rich on the palate, this wine is brimming with flavors of red currants and cassis and has an underlying minerality. A strong 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 grilled steak, lamb and Italian cuisine.


The three Cabernet Sauvignon’s are available for purchase at $45 per bottle or $36 for Wine Club members and their guests. Wines are available as a three pack for an additional 10% off, at $94.50.

Reservations

Due to limited seating in the Wine Club Member Lounge, reservations are strongly suggested. All club members receive complimentary wine tasting with up to four guests. Larger groups are required to make a reservation.

Make a Reservation:

Email: memberlounge@halterranch.com

Weekdays Call: 805-226-9455

Weekends Call: 805-591-3634


The Employee Garden

HR_Garden

If you’ve been out to the winery recently you may have noticed something besides grapevines covering our beautiful landscape – the Halter Ranch Employee Garden. In the past we have had a small summer garden but this year we increased it to a quarter acre. We sat down with our Assistant Winemaker Molly Lonborg, and asked her some questions about the garden.

Molly, can you tell us about the Employee Garden and how it started?

We have a quarter acre plot of land that we have decided not to plant to grapevines, but instead leave for an employee garden to benefit all the staff. We generally plant a summer garden, and seed with cover crop in the winter, although we have planted some parts of the garden in the winter as well. Halter generously purchases all the starts and garden foundation needed to plant a successful garden. Although the specific vegetables and varieties vary each year we always have a good range of plants to provide a delicious harvest.

HR_Tomatoes

What’s currently planted in the garden?

This year we have 32 tomato plants; 18 different varietals, predominately heirloom plants with a few hybrids. Three different types of basil, including lime, amethyst, and genovese, pole beans, eggplants, peppers and squash. Zucchini, patty pan, kabocha, butternut and spaghetti. We have five different types of melons plus flowers. Adjacent to the employee garden is also an employee fruit orchard with peaches, nectarines, apricots, plums, cherries, figs, pears, apples and pomegranates.

Halter Ranch Peaches

Do staff take the produce home or is it used for communal meals?

Anything harvested from the garden is fair game for all staff members to take home. We encourage staff members to spend time in the garden helping plant, weed and maintain the plants in exchange for a bounty of vegetables.

HR_Basil_Amethyst

In the summertime many of us (myself included) will just bring bread and mozzarella, and harvest basil and tomatoes from the garden for caprese salads. If we have extra produce we will bring it to the tasting room and give it away to visitors; occasionally we will put an optional donation jar out and collect money to give to the food bank. If we have overgrown vegetables like zucchini or over-ripe tomatoes we will feed them to our flock of chickens.

Halter Ranch Basil Pesto

We try to do fun activities from extra bounty from the garden that include and benefit all the staff. For example, our basil is growing very well at the moment and since we still have some time till the tomatoes are ripe, we decided to cut back some of the basil plants (which will only benefit them in the future as they will double in size), and have a pesto making party. We cut back four out of our nine basil plants, brought in pine nuts, garlic, and blenders then used our Halter Ranch olive oil to create a big batch of fresh pesto. The four plants created ten one cup containers that were distributed to staff to use fresh or freeze for a later time.

Above you can see the staff growing basil and then making it into pesto for their lunches, yum!

Halter Ranch Melon

Do all staff pitch-in to work in the garden?

Usually yes! It can be difficult to get every staff member to help (especially because we have a lot of part-time people that only work on the weekends), but I send out staff-wide emails when we have workdays. This year when we planted our garden we had a lot of staff from the tasting room, production, admin and vineyard all pitch-in. After the planting we had a big potluck breakfast to thank everyone for the work.

Thank you Molly for all the great information about the Halter Ranch

Employee Garden – way to go team!


Beat the Heat! – Q & A with winemaker Kevin Sass

Kevin

As I’m sure many of you are already well aware, it has been a little toasty here in Paso Robles, with temperatures in the triple digits. With this heat wave the first thing that comes to mind is what effect this will have on our vineyard (besides how soon we can open the next bottle of Rosé). We have the same questions you do: Can grapes get sunburnt? If so, what kind of sun lotion should we use? Or maybe, do they like to sunbathe? I bet they’re thirsty; will they be able to get enough water? We turned to our Halter Ranch winemaker Kevin Sass for all the answers.

It’s been over 100 degrees for several days, does this hurt/burn the vines? 

The vines don’t get hurt, but they have a tendency to shut down and stop photosynthesizing. Much like we do when we can’t sweat to cool ourselves down.

How do the high temperatures affect a vintage? 

Depending on how exposed your clusters are to the sun you can have “bleaching”, where the grapes skins get burned and don’t accumulate color. As a result those grapes are usually sorted out on the sorting table, but for people who don’t sort, it can impart unripe flavors. Luckily, we keep a close eye on protecting our vines.

Do you need to irrigate the vines more during these hot days? 

No, at this point we still have active growth from the 16 inches of rain that we received. This heat (when less than 100) will help slow down the vines and start them to think about ripening grapes and not reaching for the sky with their shoots. It can be helpful in many ways….

When do you expect veraison in the vineyard this year? 

We are looking to be three weeks from now until veraison.

What is your favorite ‘hot day’ activity when you aren’t at Halter Ranch? 

Drinking Rosé (Including ours!)

Still have some unanswered questions for Kevin? Come on into the Halter Ranch tasting room and ask us. And don’t worry we have the air conditioning cranking.  As always, we hope to see you soon!

-Halter Ranch

 

 


Award-Winning Tours

Many of you have been to our tasting room on Adelaida Road in the west hills of Paso Robles. It sits on the edge of our 2,000-acre property situated next to the historic Victorian farmhouse. Very soon we will be moving into our new tasting room. You will venture across the covered bridge, cruise up the hill and find us in our new digs next to the Winery and Wine Club Member Lounge. In addition to our tasting room, we now offer three unique tasting and touring experiences and invite you to join us on an adventure.

Sunset Magazine named us Best Vineyard Experience and Touring & Tasting selected our tours for their Platinum List 2016. Here is a preview of our tasting experiences:

Winery4Blog

WINERY & CAVE TOUR

Want to learn more about the winemaking process? What does the inside of the barrel room look like? Why are caves important in winemaking? The Winery and Cave Tour takes you though the multi-level, gravity flow building and showcases 22,000 square feet of caves that run deep into the limestone hillside.  This complimentary, one-hour walking tour is offered daily. You’ll start at our tasting room, view the vineyards and head up to the winery. During the tour, your Halter Ranch guide will give you an overview of the Ranch’s history and describe our sustainable farming and viticulture practices. Once at the winery, you will follow the path a grape takes through our winery, from the crush pad, into the tanks, through fermentation and finally into barrel and caves.

Caves4Blog

BARREL TASTING TOUR

Available on Saturday and Sunday at 10 am, the Barrel Tasting Tour starts outside the winery where your guide will give you an overview of the Halter Ranch history as you peer over the vineyards.  Walking through our modern winery, you will see first-hand the step-by-step processes involved in the making our wines. Your tour then drops into our subterranean cave, the largest of only four cave systems in the Paso Robles area. Here, you will sample wines from three different barrels, learning the varietal and barrel differences. The one-hour tour concludes with a private tasting of our current release wines in the Member Lounge. Hang out and enjoy a relaxed, seated tasting on the mezzanine with a bird’s eye view of the working winery.

Defender4Blog

EXCURSION TOUR

Take an extended journey of Halter Ranch’s property and vineyard on the Excursion Tour. This one-of-a-kind tour is offered Saturday and Sunday at 10 am (weather permitting). Hop into the restored 1984 Land Rover Defender 110 as you tour the historic property. During this three-hour excursion, you’ll see the wildlife corridors and explore the 281-acres of estate vineyards, the largest contiguous vineyard in west Paso Robles. After a stop at the pond, you’ll experience first-hand the unique topography of Halter Ranch that sees nearly a 500 ft. change in elevation. At Lion’s Ridge, the vineyard’s highest point, you’ll take in the views and taste a special selection of estate wine. The next stop is at the famed Ancestor Oak tree to taste the estate’s flagship wine, Ancestor Reserve. This Coastal Live Oak tree is a Champion Tree – the largest of its kind on record, and is estimated to be nearly 500 years old. Following the vineyard tour, the excursion continues into the winery, production facility and underground caves. The tour ends in our beautiful Member Lounge, overlooking the production area and barrel storage, where you’ll enjoy a private tasting of our current release wines.

Join us for one, or all, of the many tasting and touring experiences at Halter Ranch. Please call us at 888.367.9977 for availability and to reserve space on the tours. We look forward to seeing you!

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