Monthly Archives: April 2014

Reminder: Here Is The Big News!

We glossed over the big news last week because of the sudden loss of cohort, colleague and best friend Luis Nunez.  However, it is quite a big change for us to reduce our prices on full Decorative barrels by $100 or more.  These prices will stay with us for awhile but you should take a look at what is now much more affordable and yet at the same time, the exact identical quality.


Here Is The Big News!

Let us know if you’re interested in multiple orders and we will still be able to work out a deal.

By the way, we thank everyone for the private well-wishes and we are determined to take this company to the heights that Luis envisioned.  Thanks again.


Daryle W. Hier



Here Is The Big News!

As we noted before, our first big appearance was this coming Saturday at the Park in Downtown Paso Robles. There we were going to announce by far the biggest news in a our very short history. Here’s that announcement.If Your Waiting For A Sign This Is It will be significantly reducing their prices on all Decorative Wine Barrels by up to $150! This includes our half barrels such as the Planter Barrels and Hose Holders.


The price reduction was in part brought on by a couple of main reasons. First, we’ve been working hard to reduce the time and labor put into each barrel, plus our own experience throughout the process gave us the ability eliminate unneeded procedures. Second, influenced by our just deceased best friend Luis Nunez, who felt the price point was a bit high, and having polled different friends and cohorts, we found the new prices to be much more inline with what folks were willing to invest.

The new prices are listed below:

The the biggest percentage drop is the Decorative Wine Barrel, which was reduced 20%. The most significant overall dollar reduction is the Decorative Glasstop Table, which plunged $150.

There is still room for more discounts depending on quantities ordered and whether the barrel is supplied by the customer or not – please contacts us for questions or details. Other reductions in price may occur periodically with specials or other possible unique deals that may be presented.

Here to stay

These prices are permanent as this is not a special. At some future time when the market dictates and cost change, these prices may be altered, but for now, this reduction will stay in affect until further notice.

So there you have it. We certainly had wished that our number one fan Luis, could see this but he knew that we were reducing the prices and I’m sure would have had a ball helping us sell our barrels, which he loved with a passion.Go Ahead It Will Be Fun

Now go ahead, quit procrastinating because we’ve given you every reason to purchase one of these incredible products. You’ll have fun with an extraordinary barrel that will always be talked about.


Daryle W. Hier



Big Announcement Later Today

We were going to announce some big news on Saturday (April 26th) at the Park in Big NewsDowntown Paso Robles, but due to many reasons, we won’t be able to see folks at 12th and Spring.

However, that doesn’t mean we won’t be announcing the biggest news of our brand new little businesses short history. Our best friend Luis Nunez, also influenced us on this decision. Keep an eye out over the next few hours. We’re excited … and you should be too!

Salootie Patootie,

Daryle W. Hier




The Hier’s Say Goodbye To Best Friend: Luis Nunez

Life will throw you curve balls, but as any good baseball hitter knows, you must stay in that batter’s box and not bail out. Another saying goes, when life gives you lemons, make lemonade. However, to end this cliche meltdown, let’s just say the show must go on. That’s what our number one fan and best friend would have said – of course, he would have said it with a big voice and typical New Yorker accent – that was Luis Nunez.

Ron Hier, Luis Nunez and Daryle Hier

Ron, Luis and Daryle

Regardless of any quirks, idiosyncrasies or foibles, Luis was first and foremost mine and my father’s best friend – in fact we called each brother – and in essentially the truest sense, we were.

New Yorker

He was born July 29th 1950 in Queens, New York, and although he adopted California wine country as his own, there was no denying where he was from. His greeting, ‘Eh, how ya doin’ was unmistakably New Yorker through-and-through. Luis’ father was Puerto Rican and his mother was from the Dominican Republic but they settled in New York City. She would perish in an airliner crash in 1970 while Luis’ father – an Army veteran – passed away in 2003.  Rose, Luis’ sister, lives in Puerto Rico.

Luis joined the U.S. Army as well and after several years of service – including in Texas where he started his first family – being stationed at Fort Ord in the Monterey Bay area, he became a local police officer. From there, Luis moved into corrections for the state of California and spent well over 20 years moving up the chain of command before retiring some eight years ago.

His time in the California Department of Corrections was not without a huge bump in the road when Luis found out he needed a heart valve replacement. He had the heart surgery 15 years ago and along with a pacemaker, was able to go back to work until retirement.


His enthusiasm and passion for wines and Paso Robles started well over 20 years ago and escalated to the point of buying over a half an acre lot with a beautiful house and property sitting on a hill in Paso Robles, California. Enticed by a friend Michael Bono, Luis’ eagerness to be a part of the wine culture led him to plant nearly 200 Zinfandel vines on a quarter acre of land in his backyard. Knowing very little about farming and grapes, Luis’ passion led him to associations like the Independent Grape Growers Paso Robles Area (IGGPRA), where he would glean information from an assortment of great vintners. With that, Venture Vineyards was born.

VentureVineyardAnomalyHowever, it was his meeting up with Steven Christian and Christian Lazo Wines that brought about the ability to make wine … excellent wine at that. Steve and his wife Lupe Lazo helped Luis by offering their facilities. With Steve’s know-how as an excellent winemaker, Luis’ first crop – the vintage was called Anomaly – in only its second year and entered into the huge Orange County Fair, won a Bronze Medal. Interestingly enough, his label won a Gold Medal. It should be noted that Alex, Luis’ youngest son, came up with the original design for the label.

Over the handful of years, with lean times in part because of the ongoing Great Recession, Luis wasn’t always able to create a vintage every year. However, from his 2010 harvest, he would offer up the Shark and long story short, the vintage won several medals including at the prestigious International Amateur Wine Competition last year (2013) where he won a Double Gold. You can go down to the related article below for information on the achievements of Luis Nunez and his wine. Another note is that Frank Grande of Falcon Nest, would also help Luis along the way.

A year ago, Luis had built a wine cellar by friend Chris Andrews who Luis learned about through George, an old compadre from his working days. Sitting in the cellar are four barrels of 2012 Zin – to be called the Bullet – that’s ready for bottling in about four months. There is also a barrel and a half from his 2013 vintage that didn’t have any particular name but the ‘Rebel’ was one of the ideas. What happens to Luis’ dream of these wines and his vines may go with Luis to that happy vineyard in the sky.

Luis Nunez' The Shark had many medals and not to be outdone, the label is also a Gold winner.

A Double Gold vintage, but not to be outdone, the label is also a Gold winner.

The wine industry may not have known of the tiny little plot of grapes called Venture Vineyards, but in a relatively short period of time, Luis was able to create a multiple gold-winning wine that was about to come to market this year. That likely won’t happen and it’s a shame because if this vintage was going to continue in the tradition of the others, although minuscule boutique in size, it would have rocked the world of wine – at least here in Paso Robles, which is the world’s Wine Region of Year.


Luis taught us Hiers a lot about wine. When we moved up here seven years ago – and we shouldn’t admit this – boxed wine was our preferred method of drinking vino. Add to that the fact Two Buck Chuck was a regular in our arsenal … the poor guy must have shook his head many times – but never in front of us. We evolved and although we don’t have the instincts of a great winemaker like Luis, we have improved over the years. What we learned was invaluable.

Our threesome got together so many times for ‘vino and gars’, it’s mind-boggling.  Luis called our get-togethers ’round table meetings’ – we will miss those immeasurably. We also had so many dinners at each others place – let’s just say there were times when we ate with each other more times during a week than not.  We can thank my mother Jo for many of those dinners.

Luis was at times bombastic, passionate and loved standing out in front of his vines, barking for anyone who would hear, ‘my vines, my wine’. He let you know he loved Paso, his Zin and make no mistake, he could walk the walk and talk the talk. However, underneath the artificial bravado was a man who wanted what was best for everyone around him. It wasn’t unusual for him to expound on how strong his daughters Nicole and Bianca were and how proud he was of them. Luis very much wanted his family together and recently, they had become closer which is actually what made him tick, no matter the pacemaker or pig valve.

Luis leaves behind six adult children: Anthony, Damien, Nicole, Alexander and Bianca, a wife Blanca and sister Rosalie.

The windy fresh spring air blowing right now and creating a clear deep blue sky this season, offers up that life continues. And that’s how will we approach this. This Saturday (April 26th), here in Paso Robles, is the Vintage Sidecar Rendezvous & Recycled Treasures & Antique Motorcycles – it’s a motorcycle show along with an arts and craft fair. We will be there on 12th and Spring, so come on by and say hello. You won’t have the pleasure of meeting Luis and his introductory ‘Eh, how ya doin’, but his spirit will certainly be there.

In fact, I can hear him now: ‘Eh, how ya doin?’ Ah, my brother, we’ve been better, but we will improve as time heals all wounds … yet, we will never forget you. Manana my friend, manana.


Ron and Daryle W. Hier

Related article: Luis Nunez and Venture Vineyard Zinfandel – Updated



World’s Best Oak Hose Holder

When looking in patio, yard or garden stores physically or on the internet, the search to find that ultimate storage container for your garden hose, things like copper, brass or any a sundry of different types of vessels are out there.  However, when exploring for an authentic half oak wine barrel, well, good luck with finding a quality hose holder that is anywhere close to fitting the bill!

Because not everyone’s taste is the same, obviously different styles of all kinds leave the array of choices far-reaching, along with being mind-numbing.  Yet, when it comes to authentic wine barrel styles, oddly there are very few options available.

Oak half barrel - Hose Holder

World’s Best Oak Hose Holder

Sure, there are plastic, fiberglass and other artificial products that can be made to look like a real wine barrel.  I have an old plastic holder from several years back and because the paint had come off, it was made into a planter, but now it has a crack in it.  If it didn’t have a plant in it that I don’t want to transplant, that ugly thing would be gone.

There are copper and brass hose holders but they’re not exactly cheap.  Try getting a brass container and you will need to hit your retirement account – they are expensive.

The reason an oak half barrel is ideal is because oak itself is so hardy.  The problem comes after a few years of use, the barrel exterior turns grey and it starts to look tired.  Now some folks don’t mind that, but what if you could make that finish last years longer and in fact, allow the oak barrel to last nearly a lifetime?

The Answer

That’s where Paso Wine Barrels’ Hose Holder is ideal.  The barrel is sanded down, stained, sealed and then several coats of varnish are applied.  This gives the interior and exterior a one-of-a-kind appearance and makes the barrel stand out while looking almost like a piece of furniture.

The barrel has holes drilled in it and that includes the second false bottom which is added to help with water drainage while bringing the hose up for easier access.  Now, the barrel’s false bottom is removable offering either preference.  You should note the second or false bottom is stained and sealed to give it the same qualities as the rest of the barrel.

As with all the Decorative Wine Barrels at Paso Wine Barrels, you have your choice of natural, black, burgundy or green paint on the hoop bands.  This way, you can customize the look to fit any landscape.

Don’t take my word for it.  Search any and everywhere you can, but when you’re done with investigating this unique hose container, it becomes evidently clear that Paso Wine Barrels Hose Holder is at the top when comparing half oak wine barrels as a hose holder.  Or as the title states – this is the world’s best oak hose holder.

Salootie Patootie,

Daryle W. Hier



Bernie The Barrel – Part 1


As evidenced by our adage at Paso Wine Barrels of ‘all barrels, all the time’ along with maybe too many ideas in our heads, this fictional yarn is about French barrels that make their way to the Americas. This may eventually be a book, but we wanted to offer our fans and readers a first look – chapter-by-chapter.

Bernard, or Bernie as he becomes, has a long journey ahead of him with ordeals underlying the predicament with wine barrels – they are attractive to start and help make great wines, but then after their use, most anything can and does happen to these once beautiful crafted oak barrels. We chronicle the life of this majestic and beautiful French oak wine barrel along with the trials and tribulations over many years. Also, this tale will take into account his other wine barrel friends and a near death experience with a dramatic rescue that could save his life.

Ron Hier wrote the main story with Daryle Hier helping and adding to the tale. Daryle and Jo Hier are the editors. Follow along and hopefully you’ll have fun and learn a little something about the world of wine barrels … from the barrel’s perspective. 

In The Beginning

South of Paris, among the principal stands of oaks in the middle of France and the French forests, are some of the best white oak trees in all of Europe, if not the world. To the west near the Atlantic Ocean on the Garonne River is Bordeaux, one of the larger cities in France but more importantly one of the great wine regions of the world.Bordeaux_France

It is here that Bernard the wine barrel was born in a cooperage (barrel manufacturing plant). At that same time, three other barrels: Henri, Francois and Mael were also born. Bernard’s first words to his friends was “Bonjour mes amis, je suis Bernard le tonneau de vin” or “Hello my friends, I am Bernard the wine barrel.”

After he was made, upon examination Cooper (the fellow that was in charge of building Bernard) declared him another handsome French made oak wine barrel, with all of his parts in good shape. His staves were beautiful, his head, chime and croze (very end of the staves), all in good order, with his steel hoops fine and his stave joints perfect.

Shortly after final inspection, Cooper built a fire inside of him (don’t worry it’s okay, this happens with most new barrels and it doesn’t hurt), it’s called “toasting” and according to Cooper it made Bernard a better barrel capable of producing beautiful wine. Said Bernard after the extraordinary process, “Look at me, here I am a brand new barrel and I’m already toasted.”

He was indeed a new and beautiful barrel but as it was for all other wine barrels, they don’t stay in the cooperage very long and Cooper was getting ready to send them away soon. Bernard said the four friends should call themselves the Four Musketeers – “One for all, all for one” he encouraged, along with “En avant”, meaning onward.

These French oak barrels were very fine and tighter than other white oaks, giving the qualities that ensure flavors to a wine that are more subtle, yet silkier than other countries and regions. The Musketeers were all synonymous in their quality, great-looks and noble pride as French oak barrels and that wherever they were going, they would try to stay together and always keep themselves presentable and make France proud – but this would be easier said than done.

Excited about the idea of being part of another great Bordeaux wine,Barrels_onracks France would not be these particular barrel’s final destination. Bernard was stacked in a warehouse on end with a bunch of other barrels and after looking around, much to his surprise, his friends, Henri, Francois and Mael were not there. He knew then that the Four Musketeers were separated and had not even had a chance to become close friends.  What now?

Great wines are made in oak barrels and great wine is likely in the four Musketeers future. Still, Bernard and friends would discover soon enough that they were in for quite a world-wind ride, creating fine wines as some of the best oak barrels on Earth. But what awaits in a new world?


Ron and Daryle W. Hier




How A New Wine Barrel Is Made

We renew old used wine barrels into decorative better-than-new pieces that are made strictly to look at or as a table.  However, the original barrel has a completely different story to tell – before they become winemaker’s tool.

The great wines of the world have one thing in common – they began their life in a white oak barrel, created in one of the many cooperages of the world.  I find this particular video to be very informative and will show you in a relatively brief time, just how a barrel is made from the time it is a tree, all the way to when it’s time to put wine in them.

If you have any questions about wine barrels, feel free to contact us and we’ll try our darndest to get you the answer if we don’t know it.

By the way, keep an eye out for a multiple part story of a barrel during his time as a wine barrel as he travels nearly halfway around the world, only to be rescued by a couple of nice guys.  😉


Daryle W. Hier




Wine Industry Struggling?

One of the oldest adages is that alcohol – or more directly in this circumstance, wine – is recession proof.  Is that true or is the wine industry struggling?

The general thinking is when times are good, everything in an economy Grapebin-Portugal_EU_Winedoes well, but when there is a dip in the markets, consumers will cut back on all but the necessities.  However, booze has always been a staple of recessional or depression oriented times because folks need an outlet of entertainment and products such as wine are considered as important enough as staples that people aren’t willing to give them up.  That’s why business portfolios often will have ‘sin’ stocks in alcohol related industries.

Here in the United States and for that matter, the rest of the world has been in an elongated recession – depression for places like Detroit and parts of Europe.  This troublesome trend has reared its ugly head and affected many aspects of society and shall we say … egads … the wine industry?  How could this be?

Top down

Some would say that even the alcohol oriented business is susceptible.  And recently, the biggest news yet seems to agree with that assessment, because the largest wine company in the world, Treasury Wine Estates has been hit hard and as such, will be slashing jobs and costs (source: Sydney Morning Herald).  Here in the U.S., Treasury Wine owns California based Beringer Vineyards, which is one of the oldest wineries in California.

Beringer Vineyards

Beringer Vineyards is one of the oldest in Napa Valley but they along with their parent, Treasury Wine, are struggling.

An interesting side note to the troubles at Treasury Wine is the fact that last year, the company destroyed older and aged wines.  Yes, that’s right, the company felt compelled to destroy large amounts of wine because they felt there was too much wine on the U.S. market.  Net profits for the company had tanked and in-turn, their CEO was pressured to leave.  By the way, most of the wine destroyed was from Beringer.

This is an odd situation because if you’ve paid attention to the news in the wine business, there appears to be a shortage in wine supply.  I’m not an expert in this field but still, destroying wine because you have too much of it in a certain markets doesn’t mean it couldn’t be sold somewhere else given the supposed world-wide scarcity of wine.  Yes, this information is contradictory and we may not know the exact answer, but my thought is if an extended recession has forced the largest wine producer to destroy wine, a shortage is a bit far-fetched.  And a report just came out saying Bordeaux wholesalers feel the market is soft (source: Harpers) and that “current demand is ‘dead’”.  Ouch!

I do know that while the U.S. and China are consuming more wine year-in and year-out, Europe, where the biggest consumers were based, has shown a fairly sharp decline in wine consumption.  With poor economies in much of Europe, it would seem obvious that wine consumption is being directly affected.

The South American wine industries have suffered due in part to the world-wide recession and high inflation.  Argentina in particular, has seen inflation raging and therefore has instituted price controls.  The country has surged to the left politically in the past decade with government intervention at every level.  Politics may be one of the problems with the wine industry but there’s another issue: demographics.

Competition & other issues

There are a myriad of alcohol drinks that wine is competing against.

There are a myriad of alcoholic drinks that wine is competing against.

The beer industry has seen a shift from standard beers like Budweiser, Coors et al, to microbrews.  That shift is also impacting the wine industry (source: London Wine Fair).  Young adults aren’t enamored by wine and there’s seems to be a detachment and “an overall lack of engagement”.  Hard booze such as multiple flavored vodka’s have also become popular with the young adult population.

Other problems like China which has too seen a drift into a flat pattern of wine drinking after a steady climb up, is also affecting wine industry.

California has its own problems with drought and a lack of support from state and federal regulators who have hurt farmers recently with peculiar rulings that have exasperated the water situation.  The lack of farming has led to a drastic increase in unemployment as well as hammering the economy as a whole.

So while the wine industry struggles against a constant recessional pounding, they’re also being attacked by other liquors that appeal more to younger generations, while governments confound the problems further.

We hear so many positive stories about the wine industry especially here in the Paso Robles where we garnered the top spot as the number one wine region in the world.  However, troubles loom and even the winery business world needs to look deep as the situation maybe emerging that indeed the wine industry is struggling.


Daryle W. Hier