Winter has finally arrived here in the beautiful Paso Robles wine region. The early-morning frosts started this week so the brilliant gold and orange blanket of vines covering the hillsides have given way to brown. Soon the leaves will drop from the vines and they will stand dormant until spring.
But even as the fall colors and life leave the vineyards, the rest of the region becomes awash with the sparkle and excitement of the Christmas season. Tasting rooms and downtown stores have donned their festive motifs. It’s the perfect time to experience the winter magic of the Central Coast. You can treat yourself to a vacation or weekend retreat while picking up some fabulous wine for gifts for friends and family.
Many wineries (including First Crush) host holiday open houses and downtown shops and tasting rooms are a fun way to sip and shop for Christmas. We invite you to join us for the First Crush Holiday Open House is Saturday, December 17, 2011 from 1-5 p.m. Enjoy some tasty treats paired with First Crush wines, Becky’s cheese pairings and holiday recipe ideas and pairing suggestions. We also have holiday merchandise and gift ideas on sale, and will be offering generous holiday discounts on our wines.
And while you’re here, here are some insider tips to make your season bright: visit our Crush Club partner – Vivant Fine Cheese – for Danika’s fabulous cheese selections. This is where we buy pir cheeses to pair with the First Crush wines, and Vivant gives Crush Club members 10% off purchases. If you’re in Templeton and just want a quick but great sandwich, visit the Templeton Deli. They aren’t a partner but they’re a local gem. Don’t forget the Templeton Farmer’s Market on Saturday mornings from 9 a.m. – noon. It’s heralded as one of “THE” best farmers markets in SLO County. For a hearty breakfast, check out our local favorite—Hoover’s Beef Palace in Templeton. If you’re in Paso, there are lots of great breakfast spots, but Vic’s is a long-time local favorite and Chico’s is a relatively new, but popular kid on the block.
You can pick up some great port from Roxo Port Cellars in the Meritage Tasting Lounge downtown or take a beautiful drive out to Silver Horse or Cass Winery to try their new port wines. You can pick up some sparkling wine for your New Year’s celebration from our friends at Arroyo Robles or Tobin James. Cass also has a new sparkler you can try. All of these wineries are also Crush Club partners and offers discounts to Crush Club members.
When you get hungry, drop by Thomas Hill Organics and see what Chef Julie has on the menu for lunch or dinner. Crush Club members get a free glass of wine with their meal. The dining scene has changed a bit lately. Some of my favorite hot spots have closed and a few new ones opened. For elegant evening dining, visit the reliably good, Artisan or Robert’s on Pine Street. Enjoy a cocktail at the Villa Creek Bar or design your own Bloody Mary and watch Sunday football at Pappy Magregor’s.
Each December in Paso Robles brings the Vine Street Victorian Showcase-- a spectacular exhibition of the Vine Street Victorian houses dresses up for the holidays. The city practically comes to hault between 8th and 21st streets to allow families to view this awesome and entrancing showcase. There are carolers, Christmas lights, characters, music and fun to be had by all. Children can send their letters off to Santa, tell off old Mr. Scrooge, and they might even get a peek at that boisterous Grinch. This year marks the 25th celebration of this extravagant event and it's supposed to be a cold one. So bring your winter coats, your family and your Christmas cheer to Paso Robles to experience this one-of-a-kind showcase!
And after you’re all tuckered out from all of the tasting, shopping and sight-seeing, check-in to one of our partner hotels or bed and breakfasts. Enjoy nightly wine receptions at La Quinta Inn & Suites, the in-door pool at the Holiday Inn Express, or a great breakfast at the Marriott or the Best Western. Cozy up next to a fireplace at the Creekside Bed and Breakfast or enjoy the views at Belvino Viaggio. If you want to enjoy the coast on your visit, stay with our friends at the Fog Catcher in Cambria.
I love a big, beautiful Cab just as much as the next girl. But when it comes to most wines, individual varietals generally don’t have the legs to stand on their own. As with most things, there are exceptions to every rule, and I’m sure some of my friends (and foes) may disagree (and will likely tell me so)…but in general, blended wines surpass their individual parts in balance, complexity and flavor.
Look at it this way: do you like to eat peanut butter by itself? Or do you prefer it with chocolate or perhaps with some jelly and bread? Like many great taste sensations: sometimes two great tastes, just taste great together. This may sound like a clever jingle (which it is), but it’s also true for wine grapes. In my opinion, there's nothing better than a wine that exhibits the bright, fruity cherry-flavors of a Cabernet Sauvignon softened by the silky-chocolate hints of a Merlot and the lingering complexity of a Cab Franc (much like our 2008 Soul Mate, I might add). Whereas to achieve this with anyone of these individual varietals, you'd be giving up one of these delectable traits. (For the rest of the story, click the READ MORE link below...)
On September 29, First Crush Savored the Central Coast with Sunset wine editor, Sara Schneider and a group of eager new Crush-tomers. After a sipping and picking about a 700 lbs. of Silver Horse Vineyard Syrah, the fun-loving group enjoyed a fabulous lunch prepared by Chef Julie Simon of Thomas Hill Organics paired with the wines of Chamisal Vineyards. Great wine and food, set to the melodious tunes by the Belmores and beautiful panoramic views from the Silver Horse Vineyard made for a fabulous day.
The First Crush "Berry-to-Bottle" tour was one of the tours featured as part of Sunset's Savor the Central Coast hosted by the San Luis Obispo County Visitors' Bureau. It was an abbreviated version of the Crush Encounters only available from First Crush in the beautiful Paso Robles wine region. Savor is a three-day event that highlights the best of the best of the Central Coast giving guests a chance to taste wines, visit attractions, enjoy farm and agriculture tours and much more.
First Crush enjoyed being a part of this fabulous event and having a chance to showcase its fabulous, fun and educational hands-on winemaking experiences. There's no other wine experiences like the First Crush available anywhere else. For the fall 2011 season, there are two remaining Crush Encounter winemaking weekends. They include Oct. 15 at the Cass Vineyard & Winery and Oct. 22 at Pomar Junction Vineyard & Winery.
Harvest is finally underway in Paso Robles. Things have been getting off to a slow start and yields are low, but spirits are high. Regardless of the trials and tribulations, harvest is by far the most beautiful and exciting time in wine country. And only First Crush puts you up front and center in all of action with our hands-on, educational, fun and fantastic Crush Encounters!
So what are you waiting for? There's still time to come to the beautiful Paso Robles wine region this fall to LEARN, SEE and DO a real wine grape crush! There's nothing else like it anywhere else, and it only happens once a year, and it's only available from First Crush! If you register by this Friday, Oct. 7 for either of your remaining Crush Encounters, you can bring a friend for half off. (See website for details.)
If Vines Could Talk...
They'd tell you they've had a really tough year! Due to the late spring frost, many growers and winemakers are seeing less than 50% of their normal yield come in from the field, and due to an unseasonably cool summer, it's coming in later. Growers are hoping that the lower yields will be compensated by higher quality, and increased fruit prices in 2011. Bulk wine supply has definitely dwindled with 2009 Paso Robles Cabernet Sauvignon vanishing faster than Houdini. And with slim pickin's this season, I think growers are right to be optimistic about 2012.
For First Crush, harvest is nearly half over. With three successful Crush Encounters under our belt, we head into the home stretch. So far, the weather and the grapes have been beautiful, and our Crush-tomers have all had a great time.We have two Crush Encounters left: one at Cass Vineyard & Winery on Oct. 15 and one at Pomar Junction Vineyard & Winery on Oct. 22. Don't miss these last two opportunity to enjoy a fun and fabulous Harvest and Wine Grape Crush in Paso Robles this fall.
Don't be Crushed
Despite the woes in the field, things are still busy in the winery. We are fermenting our first-ever First Crush Syrah Rose, which was harvested with loving hands by our Crush-tomers on September 24 from the Silver Horse Vineyards. The Rose is coming along nicely and has almost finished its primary fermentation. Our Savor Crush-tomers and Calypso Crush-tomers harvested Syrah on September 29 and 30, and it too is making its magical transformation from berry to world-class wine.
Savoring the Central Coast
Harvest Wine Weekend
There's a lot happening in Paso Robles in October, and the Harvest Wine Weekend is one way to check in on some of the action. It's three days of tasting, touring, wining and dining. Wineries all over the region invite you to visit Paso Robles and host parties, dinners and more.
First Crush is no exception. We've teamed up with Pomar Junction Vineyard & Winery to offer you three great days of winemaking fun. You can experience it in one or two days, and are invited to kick off your weekend FREE OF CHARGE at the Pomar Junction Train Wreck, Friday, Oct. 21 from 5 p.m. – dusk when you register for a one or two-day Crush Encounter. You'll enjoy VIP treatment at the TrainWreck, see and learn how wine is made with First Crush and Pomar Junction on Friday, and then get to bottle wine to take home on Sunday.
For a limited time, you can enjoy all of this for as little as $175/pp. A full day of wine making education, great food, music and fun for about the price of ONE winemaker dinner.For details and information about everything going on Harvest Wine Weekend, visit pasowine.com.
From blogs.babble.com - posted by Julievr, September 2, 2011
In celebration of California Wine Month, throughout September wineries, hotels and tour operators throughout the Golden State are offering affordable ways to experience wine country. If you’re looking to get a little extra out of summer and take advantage of a slower travel season, this is a great opportunity to explore California wine country. Deals and discounts for wine lovers during September – California Wine Month:
Rest of the story...
Great food and wine pairings are like the dynamic duo of any wine region, and it's no different in Paso Robles. First Crush is pairing up with Thomas Hill Organics on August 24 for Wine Wednesday at the popular downtown Paso Roble's bistro. Chef Julie Simon has created a fabulous three-course menu to serve along with our First Crush wines.
Julie is just one of Paso Roble's French connections to great cuisine. Her cooking was inspired by her family's culinary background in Southern France, and her enthusiasm for fresh, seasonal organic ingredients and her creative ability for unique pairings is a perfect match for Thomas Hill Organics and First Crush wines. Lowell and I will be there to talk about the wines and enjoy the dinner, which will be s erved from 5-9 p.m. The three course dinner with wine is $38.00/pp. Reservations aren't required but encouraged and there's a link to reserve your spot below or call (805) 226-5888.
Baked Maila Calms from the Wood Burning Oven with Wild Fennel and Lemon
2010 Spring Fling Robert Hall Vineyards Chardonnay
Salt Crusted Pork, Cannelini Beans, Heirloom Tomatoes, Garlic Confit
2008 Soul Mate
BLack Peppercorn Ice Cream, Red Wine Poached Pear, Chocolate Shortbread Cookie
2008 Menage a Trois
Make a reservation
Baked Maila Calms from the Wood Burning Oven with Wild Fennel and Lemon
2010 Spring Fling Robert Hall Vineyards Chardonnay
2008 Soul Mate
2008 Menage a Trois
$38 per person including wine
When someone talks about wine culture, most of us think about how our society is influenced by the highly regarding beverage we all love so much. But to real winos, wine culture takes on a whole new meaning.
Cultured wine yeasts are widely used in both home and commercial winemaking. They have been a boon to the industry and give winemakers control over the taste and development of the wines we drink. Most wine drinkers probably aren’t even aware that winemakers choose yeasts for their wines like women choose the right shoes to match their outfits. Nor do they know the important role these microscopic transformers (a mere 8/25,000ths of an inch long) play. There are literally hundreds of cultured yeast strains available for wines. Each of them have their own distinct characteristics – just like the grape varietal they are used on – and can significantly impact the taste and style of a wine.
Andre Austin, owner of CellarWise (a winery supply store in Paso Robles) is a 15-year veteran in the industry and he knows his yeasts . He will be the featured guest speaker at the July First Crush winemaking workshop: “Yeasts & Yields,” Saturday, July 23 from 2-5 p.m. at the First Crush Wine Workshop.
Austin will talk about proper yeast re-hydration, how to select yeast strains and conduct a comparative tasting with wines made with different types of yeasts. (To read the rest of the story, follow the read more link below)
Join us for our June winemaking workshop and find out how different types of oak influence wines. Joe Farley, representative for Radoux Barrels and the winemaker for F/S Cellars joins us for Shoots & Barrels on June 25, 2011 from 1-4 p.m.
In the winery, we're going to find out what a difference a barrel can make. You'll learn how barrels are made, the characteristics of different types of oak and oak alternatives, and taste how different types of oak influence wine taste by tasting wines aged in different types of oak.
Winemaker Joe Farley is the F in FS – a family-owned winery in Paso Robles. Joe has been passionate about wine since his time at Cal Poly University, San Luis Obispo. Since graduating in the 80’s, Joe has worked as vineyard manager for Martin Vineyards, (formerly Martin Weyrich Winery) and assistant vineyard manager for French Camp Vineyards – one of the largest wine grape growing operations in San Luis Obispo County. He also been assistant winemaker for Martin & Weyrich, his former family-owned winery called Abby D’Or and Tobin James Winery. Joe knows that great wines begin with the nurturing of the grapes, and he oversees the whole process from “berry to bottle,” making him a perfect presenter for our June “Berry to Bottle” winemaking workshop.
Next, viticulturist Lowell Zelinski is going to take you out into the "blooming" vineyard and talk about bloom time, and what it means to both the grower and the vine, and talk about fruit set, tissue sampling, fertility decisions, early yield estimates and shoot positioning. He’s also going to tell you what a “petiole” is then show you how to collect petiole samples and why.
Reservations recommended. Call (805) 434-2772 or check availability online.
Our 2011 Wine Grape Escapes are better than ever. Every Grape Escape lets you experience wine country during our most exiting and spectacular time of year -- CRUSH! You'll get a taste of winemaking while having a fantastic time in the vineyard and the winery. You'll enjoy fabulous wine country cuisine, premium Paso Robles wines and learn about the region, its wines and how they're made from the people (growers, winemakers, and chefs) that actually make Paso Robles one of the hottest wine regions in the country.
HERE ARE SOME EXCITING NEW (& OLD) FEATURES:
1, 2 and 3-day programs with new pricing and featuresSunday Brunch & Bottle lets you bottle and take home wine that weekendAll-inclusive hotel package options are back! You can once again purchase a "complete" Grape Escape Package with discounted hotel options from four of Paso's best hotels: the Paso Robles Courtyard Marriott, the Holiday Inn Express, La Quinta and La Bellasera Inn & Suites. These are great rates that are only available from First Crush with the purchase of your Wine Grape Escape.
So....sip, crush and stomp your way into a wine lover bliss in the beautiful Paso Robles Wine Country this fall. Space is limited and early registration discounts are available so don't delay, register today!
DETAILS & AVAILABILITY
Download registration form
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...)
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Winery/Office: 2975 Limestone WayPaso Robles, CA 93446
(805) 434-2772 Fax (805) 434-3337