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.


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


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!


Our New Tasting Room

TR Exterior right2

We are thrilled to announce that the doors to the new Tasting Room are now open!

Nestled between blocks of Cabernet, Syrah and Grenache, the new tasting room features floor to ceiling windows with sweeping views of the estate vineyards. The main tasting room has a large, open floor plan with multiple tasting bars to give everyone a little more elbow room. There are two smaller tasting rooms to accommodate private events and group tastings. A commercial kitchen was installed to expand our food and wine experiences. To the back of the tasting room is an indoor patio with a large fireplace and a variety of couches, chairs and tables. The outdoor patio is just as inviting and features teak tables and chairs, a large fireplace, a pizza oven and an oak pit Santa Maria-style barbecue. On the other side of the patio are two large wooden doors that open to the underground caves leading to the winery.

TR Interior H1The inspiration for the design of the tasting room came from the local rustic cabins and barns with various uses of wood, cedar siding and rusty metal roofing. Owner Hansjörg Wyss carefully hand-selected all the artwork for the tasting room. While his passion for architecture led the design process, the entire Halter Ranch team was involved. Hansjörg felt that each person brought a unique perspective and point of view with regards to what was important for guests at Halter Ranch.

This week, we welcomed our first guests to the tasting room. They came by car and by bicycle to check out our new space. We look forward to welcoming you too – just follow the signs past the barnyard and across the covered bridge – keep an eye out for the chickens crossing the road as they think they have the right of way. We are open daily from 11am – 5pm.

Wessel Group1  Bikers  Bailey_Dykzeul_Richardson

 


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!


A Sneak Preview

DCIM100MEDIADJI_0046.JPG

Visitors who have ventured across the bridge or visited our Wine Club Lounge recently have seen a new structure emerging just east of the Winery. As part of our long-term strategy to get all of our visitors across the covered bridge and into the vineyard, we are building a new Tasting Room just below Block 1. We love the Victorian and the Barn Yard area, but we have woefully outgrown our current Tasting Room. We are hoping for a late September move in.  Enjoy this sneak preview.

patio


Our Timeless Barnyard

Though the function and look of the barnyard at Halter Ranch may have changed over the years, the experience of peace and tranquility remains constant. A sense of timelessness exists amidst the old barns, the orchard and open space that extend across Las Tablas Creek to the vineyard and surrounding oak woodland. Preservation of this space is of paramount importance to us, a task that receives a lot of attention from the team here at Halter Ranch.

In years past the big barn, now known as the “Event Barn” housed farm animals. The dirt floor had 2 levels; the center section was higher than the outer sides, which allowed easy access for tending animals. These photos show the cattle loading chutes, which were in front of the barn, the old tack room and hitching post. All of these old buildings have been renovated, a job which was a major labor of love. Restored to their former beauty, these barns serve an important function in this modern day business.

big barn barnyard1tack roomBigBarn_before


A not-so-typical President’s Day Weekend

We just experienced the most amazing Presidents Day Weekend. The combination of a holiday weekend coupled with Valentines Day and the warm weather makes me think Halter Ranch is just the perfect spot to be. It’s not always 70 degrees here in February though. Since the inception of Halter Ranch in the year 2000, there have been two snow storms. Oddly enough they both happened on President’s Day weekend – once in 2006 & then again in 2009.

Enjoy the photos of Halter Ranch under a dusting of snow.

DSCN5870.JPG DSCN5920.JPG DSCN5936.JPG DSCN5881.JPG DSCN5884.JPG halter ranch

0 items - $0.00
View Cart ›
Checkout ›
Cart message goes here...