Come celebrate Wild West Wine Fest this weekend with the Silver Horse Gang – First Crush, Silver Horse & Tassjara Cellars. All three wineries will be circling the wagons to bring you lots of good ol’-fashioned fun. Both at the park and out at the ranch, you can kick up your heels or just kick back with good food, great wine, winemaking activities, vineyard tours, live music and barrel samples.
Be on the lookout for Jessica, Ashley and Jennifer and the Little Pony Gang pouring at the park. All three wineries will be pouring together in the Silver Horse booth located near the entrance at the corner of Pine & 11th Streets. This pretty posse and their friends will be arresting the tastebuds of the good, the bad and the ugly with our great tasting wines. But don’t get out of line, or you might just find yourself locked up in the Wine Jail. If you’re really lucky, you could get deputized.
First Crush will be introducing its 2010 Spring Fling Chardonnay and we have cowboy beads and badges for all you city slickers, country folk and local yokels. You can also get yourself a Tassajara tattoo.
If the park isn’t your scene, blaze your trail out to the Silver Horse ranch Friday, Saturday or Sunday where we’ll also be rustling up some fun. It’s a great place to kick off your wine fest with a leisurely lunch before heading to the park on Saturday or winding it down on Sunday. This weekend just also happens to be Sunday Funday, so the good times won’t end until 7 pm on Sunday. (For the rest of the story, click the read more button below...)
Have you ever wondered what’s going in the vineyard and winery in January? Most people assume that just because the vines are dormant and the wines have finished their primary fermentation that we must be sitting around twiddling our thumbs. Balderdash!
The vines are busy accumulating water and nutrients to get ready for their big (bud) break onto the scene in the spring and some wines are still finishing up their secondary fermentation.
If you’d like to see what’s going on or learn more, join us for While My Vines Gently Sleep on January 22, at 2:00 p.m. Viticulturist Lowell Zelinski is going to talk about what’s going on with the vineyard and talk about terroir – that illustrious word that gets cast about in the tasting room like a magical spell. Becky, along with either Steve or Craig are going to talk to us about secondary fermentation and let you help us rack some wine.
Do you struggle every year trying to find a special gift for friends and customers? Custom-labeled wine is the solution and First Crush MAKES IT EASY!
At First Crush, there are two ways you can have custom-labeled wines for the holidays. Either one will give you a fabulous, Paso Robles wine – with your name or message on it – to serve with holiday meals or give to your friends, family and customers. There’s no better way to show your friends and customers that you are thinking about them, and they’ll certainly remember you when they’re enjoying your wine.
Option 1: Purchase our pre-bottled premium Paso Robles wines, go to our online label program, choose your label from a wide assortment of templates, create your label and voila! In just a few days, you’ll have your own custom-labeled, Paso Robles wine. You can also provide your own artwork for an additional fee.
We have two pre-made wines for you to choose from: A velvety, traditional 100% 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon, or a bold, flavorful blend of 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Syrah. Both of these wines were professionally crafted with the assistance of our winemaker, Steve Kroener of Silver Horse Winery, and have been receiving rave reviews from our customers! Each wine costs $30 per bottle, or $24 for Crush Club members. Also, additional bulk discounts are available.
Option 2: Create your own custom-blended wine. Attend a blending class or schedule your own and create your own custom blend. Create your label online or provide your own artwork, and in less than two weeks, you can have your own custom blended, custom-labeled wine.
We would love to help you create your wine to share with friends and family this holiday season, so give us a call for more information or to schedule your private blending today! Our office numbers is (805) 434-2772, or send us an email inquiry to
Sometimes, there’s a lot more going on inside a bottle of wine than you might think. Even if it says “Cabernet Sauvignon” on the front of the bottle, there’s a good chance that the wine you’re about to enjoy has been blended with an entirely different grape altogether, like Cabernet Franc, or maybe some Merlot. But this blending practice isn’t intended to be an act of deception; it’s a way for winemakers to add their own personal touch and flavor to the wines that they help create, by highlighting a particular flavor or characteristic.
Blending wine is where the true art of winemaking comes into play. While every part of the winemaking process, from growing the grapes to filling the bottles, affect the final flavor of a wine, the blending process can be the most influential, and the most fun. This is because blending is actually more of an art than a science.
Do you know the different wine grape varietals that comprise a Meritage blend? Do you know when and why single varietals started appearing on American wine labels? And what’s the real difference between a GSM, SMG, or even a MGS?
You can learn the answers to these questions (and a whole lot more!) when you attend a First Crush blending workshop. Typically, winemakers are the only ones who get to make the wine, but at First Crush, we make it easy for you and your friends to get in on the fun. Our blending classes (newly dubbed “The Art of Blending Wine”) let you be a winemaker for a day, and create a wine tailored to your personal taste. These events are perfect for wine lovers of all wine-knowledge levels. They give you the chance to learn how different varietals affect how blends taste, pick apart the many nuances of a glass of wine, and much more!
This Saturday, Nov. 20 at 11 a.m. will be our last “scheduled” blending class for 2010. Don’t miss your last chance to experience the Art of Blending Wine, create and purchase your own custom blend, and have a blast with First Crush!
If you can’t make it to our blending workshop this Saturday, schedule your own! From now until December 31, blending classes are available by appointment for groups of four or more, Thursday – Monday from 11-5 PM at our new winemaking workshop out at Silver Horse Winery. Call (805) 434-2772 for more information.
Most people know that “vintage” means the year that most, or all the grapes that went into a bottle of wine were harvested. However, a “vintage year,” means something else entirely. A “vintage year,” is a phrase used to describe the exceptional quality of wines produced in a particular year, usually as a result of a great growing season. And in spite of some unexpected weather, 2010 is definitely shaping up to be a “vintage year” for First Crush!
All of the fruit picked by the discerning hands of our First Crush harvesters (including Malbec, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Syrah), looks absolutely fantastic. In a year filled with fruit ripening a bit behind schedule, First Crush had the advantage of working with many different local growers, so we could pick what varietal and what vineyard we wanted to harvest from for each of our Harvest Weekends. This helped ensure that our 2010 First Crush wines were made from some of the best fruit that Paso had to offer.
Thanks to the extra care taken by our First Crush harvesters, all of the fruit we picked came in from the vineyards in beautiful condition: bins filled with big, full clusters, and barely in need of sorting. The fruit also came in with perfect numbers (the sugar levels were right where we wanted them), and after fermenting away, most of the varietals are now ready to be pressed and put into barrels.
With the help of our winemaker, Steve Kroener, and those of you who choose to come back during our monthly winemaking workshops, the 2010 vintage will yield some incredible wines for you to share and enjoy with your friends and family for many more “vintage years” to come.
“The best harvest experience ever!"
I couldn’t have said it better myself, but these are the words of Kent and Priscilla Pingrey from San Diego. The couple joined First Crush for our “first” crush of the 2010 Vintage to celebrate their own first crush commemorating their one-year wedding anniversary.
“We loved the experience and can’t wait to blend our wine,” Priscilla Pingrey said. “Thank you for helping us create such a great memory!
The Pingreys and an enthusiastic group of harvesters helped us get our First Crush 2010 Vintage got off to a great start. They wined and dined and harvested some great looking Syrah from the Silver Horse Vineyard on September 25, 2010. The fruit was picked at a perfect 25 degrees Brix, and sorted to perfection at the hands of our happy harvesters.
At every First Crush, some customers come to learn, some to enjoy and some to share the experience of making wine. First Crush is able to deliver all three in every fantastic harvest experience.
The weekend began with a feast fit for a king on the veranda of the beautiful Croad Winery. A full moon and gentle breeze paired perfectly with Croad’s wines, owner Martin and Patty Croad’s gracious hospitality and the fine cuisine of Chef Steve Isaac and his staff from Catering Unlimited. Guests sipped and supped their way through a tour of the winery and a chance to hear first-hand how Croad’s wines are made.
Guests were greeted Saturday morning in the vineyard with a yummy champagne continental breakfast from Cahoot’s Catering paired with Arroyo Robles’ sparkling wines. Arroyo Robles’ owner Bob Shore introduced his wines and gave his own harvest update. First Crush viticulturist Lowell Zelinski, Ph.D. led the happy harvesters into the vineyard where they learned the harvest basics and set to work.
It took about 1.5 hours for the gang to bring in a ton of fruit. The weather was a little warmer than usual, but no one seemed to mind as they plucked the plump berries from the vines. Next they helped winemakers Steve Kroener and Craig Reed destem and sort the fruit to perfection, measure the Brix and toss in some dry ice to help stall the fermentation process.
Their work being done, guests were rewarded with a gourmet, picnic lunch along with First Crush wines. As a special treat, First Crush customers were invited to the Silver Horse annual harvest party –Bacchanalia. Everyone stomped, wined and dined the evening away to the sounds of The Mighty Croon Dogs until “the best winemaking experience ever” came to an end.
With one successful harvest complete, First Crush is gearing up for its next harvest event, October 8-9, 2010 featuring Cass Winery. Don’t miss out! Register now, and don't miss the last chance you’ll have in 2010 to experience your First Crush!
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