Paso Robles is quickly becoming known for its silky, voluptuous, award-winning Rhone-style wines. Today, our region proudly hosts the largest acreage of Syrah, Viognier and Roussanne in California.
Gary Eberle first planted Syrah in the mid-1970’s, then shared his cuttings with other winemakers. In 1989, Paso Robles affinity for Rhone varietals became prominent when Robert Haas of Tablas Creek formed an international joint venture with the Perrin family – (a revered producer of Chateauneuf-du-Pape) from the Rhone Valley’s Chateau de Beaucastel.
Haas imported exclusive, traditional Rhone varietal clones from Chateauneuf-du-Pape and then made those clones available to other growers around the state. Since that time, Paso Robles has seen an explosion of Rhone varieties. We jumped from 100 acres in 1994 to more than 2,200 in 2006.
Several Paso Robles wineries focus on Rhone varieties, including Carl Bowker of Caliza Winery – our featured winemaker for our July 24, 2010 Blending Workshop. This Saturday, Carl is going to share his superb Rhone wines with us, as well as his winemaking philosophy and approach to wine blending.
After hearing from Carl, you’ll then have a chance to create a Rhone of your own. Our First Crush Blending Workshops give you the opportunity to become the winemaker and create a wine that perfectly pleases your palette. We give you the instruction, tools and wines that you need to create a fabulous wine you’ll be proud to put your name on and enjoy for years to come.
With First Crush – you can blend to learn, blend for fun, or blend to create your own custom-labeled, professionally crafted, premium Paso Robles wine. Space is limited. Be sure to register early to reserve your spot by calling (877) 82-CRUSH (822-7874) or register online.
Carl Bowker, a relative newcomer to the world of winemaking, has followed a long yetsteady path towards his goal of producing special wines. Born and raised in Hawaii, Carlbegan his farming experience while tagging along with his father, an irrigation specialist tothe local farms. This early introduction left a lasting impression and true appreciation forsoils and the farming life. Little did he realize that this childhood curiosity would lead him tothe special soils of Paso Robles, California.
Upon graduating from the University of Hawaii, Carl left for California to join the corporateworld. His entrepreneurial spirit took flight soon after when started his own company andlater, other ventures. After several decades he decided that a desk job was not for him andhe began the pursuit of his passion for special wines.
Carl’s affection for wine turned into an obsession shortly after September 11, 2001 during avisit to Europe. It was there that he expanded his appreciation for world class wines and forwhat the land could produce. While there, Carl and his wife Pam got to spend time withmany of the regions’ finest wine producing families. He attentively listened to the details ofwine production and noticed the special connection the families had with their land. Fromthis experience, Carl vowed that he would make this the way of living life for himself and hisfamily.
Upon returning from Europe, the search to locate a vineyard property to grow superior winegrapes ensued. As with many pioneers before them, they chose Paso Robles, California dueto its soils, microclimates, and upside potential for growing world-class grape varietals fromthe Rhone Valley region of France.
With his desire to become a winemaker and viticulturist Carl attended Napa Valley College’sViticulture and Enology associate program and completed it in 2004.With all things moving toward the vision of producing special wines, Carl and Pam venturedto the Rhone Valley of France. It was there that the die was cast. It was to be old world winein the new world that he would make. Deep, opulent and complex Syrah of the NorthernRhone, Grenache-based blends of Chateauneuf-du-Pape and Viognier-based white wineswere what would be produced at the family’s Caliza Winery in Paso Robles.In 2005 the quest ended and the vision began when Carl and Pam planted their 20 acrehillside vineyard. Located on Anderson Road in the famed Templeton Gap on the Westsideof Paso Robles, the warm days are met with the cooling evening influences of the coastalmarine breezes.The Bowkers, with their new vineyard, found themselves in the company of cutting edgewinemakers and their respective vineyards. A stone’s throw to the Northwest is the highlyrespected Stephan Asseo’s L’Aventure Winery, to the East is Booker Vineyards whose fruitis used in many fine wines such as Saxum, Villa Creek and Booker Vineyard’s own label.The name Caliza came from a desire to link the winery to its surroundings. After days ofsuggestions, a brief search yielded the Spanish word for limestone. Being that Caliza lies ona thin band of limestone running along the Santa Lucia mountain range, it was a naturalchoice.
By: Becky Zelinski
You can read books, attend classes and gather tidbits in the tasting room, but there’s nothing like a real “hands-on” experience to truly learn and appreciate the art and science of winemaking. Join Silver Horse (and First Crush) winemaker Stephen Kroener and First Crush viticulturist Lowell Zelinski on July 17, 2010 from 9 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. for “Veraison and Preservation,” the First Crush Berry to Bottle July Wine Workshop.
If you’d like to learn about grape growing, winemaking, or you’re just interested in an experience that will take you beyond the tasting room, you won’t want to miss this workshop. It’s fun, fascinating and enlightening.
You’ll get to stroll through the vineyards with Lowell and see first blush of the wine grape clusters. You’ll also hear about veraison – a major turning point in wine grape production. Then go into the winery with Steve, where you’ll learn why barrel aging is so important. You’ll even get to help top some wine.
Whether you’re interested in making wine or just drinking it – our winemaking workshops have something for everyone. The workshop also includes a wine tasting and cheese pairing. $55/per person; $44 for Crush Club members. Advance registration encouraged. Register today!
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Winery/Office: 2975 Limestone WayPaso Robles, CA 93446
(805) 434-2772 Fax (805) 434-3337