Paso Robles AVA

A huge shift in how the Paso Robles wine region will be viewed is about to take place. When the original Paso Robles American Viticultural Area (AVA) was established in 1983 there were only 10 wineries in the area and 5,000 acres under vine.  By 2005 the number of wineries had grown to exceed 280 and the area under vine had surpassed 32,000 acres.  Astonishingly, these 32,000 acres of vines were spread out amongst an AVA whose area comprised 600,000 acres measuring 42 miles east to west and 32 miles north to south.  With an area covering over 600,000 acres, the original AVA really only defined a vast location, but nothing inherently descriptive.  In 2005 there was a dialogue amongst Paso’s wineries centered on a proposal to create 11 AVAs within Paso Robles.  Topography, rainfall, soil types, and temperatures — distinctions we generally refer to as “terroir” — vary significantly within the original Paso Robles AVA. Wineries in favor of creating these new AVAs felt that there would be value to them in codifying these differences and creating smaller, more meaningful AVAs. Well, reason prevailed and those 11 AVAs are about to be unveiled.


Knowing that this move would be in some ways divisive, when the documents for the AVAs were drawn up, there were two very important provisions included.  One, no winery would be required to use its AVA on its labels, and two, for those who choose to include their  new AVA on the label, the words ‘Paso Robles’ must be included at least as prominently as the AVA, ensuring that we will all remain Paso Roblans foremost.


Halter Ranch is located in the center of the new Adelaida District AVA. Other wineries in the Adelaida District include Thacher, Tablas Creek, Adelaida Cellars, DAOU Vineyards and JUSTIN Winery—-pretty swell company.   My guess is that, initially, the new AVAs will ruffle a few feathers, but that ultimately they will serve a worthy purpose, helping consumers navigate their way through the Paso Robles wine growing region.

Work and Play in the Summer Heat

Working in the Vineyard


Many know that great wine is made in the vineyard. Our production personnel and vineyard crew have been busy implementing this idiom at Halter Ranch. A block of Grenache in its third leaf was trimmed to one cluster per shoot. Elsewhere on the ranch, a block of Tannat had laterals removed on the morning side; it was also trained, and had wings removed from clusters. These practices produce the highest quality fruit possible, while simultaneously increasing the longevity of the plantings. Removing extraneous growth also takes fewer resources from the soil. Many staff members are raising these young vines while they raise their own children, each with tender loving care.




Halter hosted its annual Solstice Dinner under the olive and fruit orchard adjoining the large historic barn. The barn was built in 1851 to house pioneer Edwin Smith’s teams of horses, and the orchard planted almost a decade later. Some of the olive trees exceed seventy-five years of age. The weather was ideally temperate, staying sixty-one degrees Fahrenheit until the dinner ended around 10:30. We began the evening enjoying amuse-bouches with our 2013 Sauvignon Blanc and 2013 Rose, which Sunset magazine recently awarded Best in Show of its rose panel. Sitting down to a beautifully set table, which included lights submerged in mason jar centerpieces abounding with olive branches, guests found a fresh loaf of bread inhabiting each bread plate. The appetizer featured exquisite burrata, couched with heirloom tomatoes and topped with micro greens, paired with Cotes de Paso Blanc. Second came halibut cheeks paired with our red Cotes de Paso. For the main course, Chef Chris Manning presented a perfectly prepared lamb sirloin that was exceptionally tender and flavorful, paired with 2011 Block 22 Syrah. Appropriate to the setting, the meal concluded with olive oil cake, paired with 2010 Vin de Paille. In spectacular fashion, Kevin and Skylar poured 2010 Ancestor from an Imperial six liter bottle. Thank you to Kendall, Jordan, and Tony for coordinating a luscious event. And thank you to Thomas Hill Organics for providing the menu, executed by Chef Manning. Happy summer!


Circumnavigaton in the Defender

Defender - Halter Ranch Vineyard


The latest addition to the Halter Ranch vehicle pool is a revamped 1980’s Land Rover Defender which allows us to tour parties of up to 8 people around the entirety of the vineyard and winery.  Tours will take place at 10am Saturday and Sunday mornings initially with the addition of more days and times based upon demand.  The two hour journey begins on the historic half of the Halter Ranch property and circumnavigates the planted acreage before arriving at the winery. It offers an in depth look at our operation from bottom to top along with choice tastings at both the Ancestor Oak and the pinnacle of our planting in block 52.

This tour will be available by appointment ( or 805.226.9455 ext. 36) to club members for $35 per person and the general public for $40 per person.

As the HRV train keeps moving we will continue offering additional tour and tasting options.  Keep an eye here on the blog and on our facebook, twitter, and google+ feeds for photos, updates, and a plethora of exciting new developments.  Check back here next Wednesday for some words from Kevin on what makes our vineyard so special.  Cheers until then!

A Bridge to Delicacy



The 2014 Bridge Dinner sold out before we even officially announced it.  In the past it has been popular among all the dinners we hold onsite, but this is the first time I can recall things moving so fast.  Beyond the beautiful setting and Kevin’s delicious wines I we must credit the reputation and absolutely delectible culinary creations of Suzanne Tracht and her crew from Jar Restaurant in Los Angeles for the rabid and rapid response from our patrons.  On that note, this meal was unforgettably stellar.  (more…)

A Taste of 2012 Tempranillo

Tempranillo - Halter Ranch Vineyard


This past Saturday we began a soft release of our first 2012 red.  Also a member of our new Silver Label Reserve line up, this fresh red is ripe for knocking off socks. (more…)

Fresh Greenery and Fresh Plans




There are weeks when it becomes clearly evident just how fast the conceptual Halter Ranch train is moving. This is one such week.  The happenings are as follows.  (more…)

Seeing Pink – Paso and Provence


Pink - Halter Ranch Vineyard

The Last Tasting


Last Friday the Halter Ranch Winery team sat down to taste a series of pink wines (also known as Rosé) from Provence against our own 2013 HRV Rosé.  The goal was to see how our Rosé stood up to the old world cousins who are credited with stylistic influence in its creation and color.  What we found may shock you.   (more…)

The Collective



As we have been alluding to on the blog over the past few months, the Paso Robles Cab Collective will be holding a series of events focused on Cabernet Sauvignon this coming weekend (April 24, 25, and 26).  You may recall a previous post featuring our 2011 Cabernet and a discussion as to why Paso Robles is uniquely suited to producing Cabernet Sauvignons of distinction.

2011 Cabernet Sauvignon is in a particularly delicious phase at the moment so we’ve decided to included some tasting notes and pairing recommendations here. (more…)



Poppys and Winery

Poppys and Winery


Given proximity to the Cabs of Distinction Weekend I’ve decided to devote this week’s post to the concept of distinction.  Specifically what might make a wine distinct, or not so distinct–perhaps even indistinct or homogeneous.  First, some definitions:


: different in a way that you can see, hear, smell, feel, etc. : noticeably different

: easy to see, hear, smell, feel, etc.

: strong and definite


: of the same or a similar kind or nature

: of uniform structure or composition throughout  (more…)

Happening Season

Old Speedsters and Winery

New looking old cars and new looking new winery


Event season is upon us!  Over the course of the next two months multitudinous opportunities to taste, and eat, and all around wine will be presenting themselves.  What follows is an update on various events (Incoming!) and a few details as we break ground on an exciting new project here at the ranch. (more…)

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