Monthly Archives: May 2015

California Wine Sales Are Up, But Tariffs Could Change That

The news from the Wine Institute was very good with sales of wines from California up in volume and value. However, a ruling by the World Trade Organization (WTO) could put a crimp in future growth for the Golden State.

According to the Wine Institutes’ figures, California wine shipments in the United States were up 4.4% in 2014. The value of those shipments is estimated to have been $24.6 billion, which is up 6.7% from 2013. Also, domestic and international combined wine sales improved 3.7% year over year.

Though drought has made life tougher for California winemakers over the past few years, Wine Institute President Bobby Koch said:

“California has had three excellent harvests in both quantity and quality in 2012, 2013 and 2014 and these vintages are receiving global recognition.”

Oh no, Canada

Still, not all the news is good in California. The WTO sustained a ruling regarding meat-labeling rules complaint by Canada that may likely lead to a trade-war – at least in North America. The ruling that was upheld, states that both Canada and Mexico can add duty tariffs to products including wine. Exports of vino in California would suffer, so the U.S. wine industry is asking Congress to intervene.

Ironically, California wine sales topped the one billion dollar mark this past year in exports to Canada, making them the single biggest consumer of U.S. wine. However, those sales could see a tumble if the presumed taxes from Canada increase substantially.

NOTE: Congress has made a move to help winemakers in U.S. Click here for more.


Daryle W. Hier







Romantics Love Paso Robles

Personally, I’m not the most romantic guy. Sitting at the 50 yard-line at Lambeau Field in Green Bay is what is romantic to me. Still, after almost a decade of living in Paso Robles, and more than 40 years of visiting this unique Central Coast town, I’ve come to realize there is some special qualities about El Paso de Robles (pass of the oaks).

Look out Paris

However, don’t take my word for it. The relatively new women’s online magazine Bustle, states Paso Robles, California, has little equal when it comes to being a great, if unexpected, romantic getaway … in all the world.

The magazine asks: What Are The Most Romantic Cities? Wine country on the Central Coast may not be the first idea that comes to mind when thinking romantically. I mean, wasn’t this a dusty little out-of-the-way town between the giant metropolis’ of Los Angeles and San Francisco? The history of this area, is more about cattle, grain and almond orchards than anything quixotic, like say Paris. Well, Paso Robles has no airs about itself and certainly will never be like the ‘City of Light’, but that’s part of the attraction to this still somewhat quiet little town.

From wine-tasting, bike-riding, cultural attractions and the ever-present rolling hills and back country, the delightfully reserved atmosphere makes Paso Robles, or Paso as locals call it, the magical place that others are starting to find out about. Or as Bustle states:

“Known for its warm hospitality and rolling hills, Paso Robles is an unexpectedly romantic city and the perfect destination for romantic getaway.  Whether interested in outdoor recreation, wine tasting or cultural attractions, Paso has a plethora of activities for you and your partner to do together. Nestled in the Santa Lucia Mountains of the Central California Coast, the city is home to expansive vineyards ideal for an afternoon bike ride or culinary treat. Couples will love strolling through the beautiful City Park – complete with majestic oaks and a picturesque gazebo – before enjoying an intimate dinner at one of Paso Robles’ renowned restaurants. “


Paso is ranked number two behind the oldest city in the United States, St. Augustine, Florida. Rounding out the top five are: Galena, Illinois – San Sebastian, Spain – Galway, Ireland.

The news and entertainment online magazine was started the year before last by Bleacher Report founder, Bryan Goldberg. Very briefly, I wrote for Bleacher Report, which is a website for sports. Maybe there’s some odd symmetry here, but I digress.

The website states that everyone has the own idea of perfection in what a romantic place would be, whether it’s:

“… beautiful cafes, the castles and landscapes that seemingly time has forgotten. Sharing a bottle of wine in a classic European city or in the rustic American woodlands can make you forget time as well, and just spend some time enjoying together.”


There are dozens and dozens of bed and breakfasts location in Paso as well as hotels. The Paso Robles Inn is one of the most historic landmarks in town and offers all amenities, while sitting across the street from the cities main park. The Hotel Cheval offers quiet elegance in the middle of town, while La Bellasera at the south edge of town, gives you a head-start towards all of the hundreds of wineries in the region.

Hotel Cheval is a beautiful little hotel sitting right in the middle of downtown Paso Robles.

Paso is located nearly four hours north of Los Angeles and nearly that far south from San Francisco. It sits right off Highway 101 and is about 20 miles inland from the Pacific Ocean in San Luis Obispo County.

I should note my parents vacationed in Paso on their wedding anniversary for years before finally moving here permanently.

Unpretentious by comparison to much more popular wine regions like Napa and Sonoma, this mainly untapped vacation destination, which was voted the number one wine region of the world back in late 2013, is comparatively untapped by travelers. However, as accolades and notoriety such as this latest tribute, will likely make Paso more popular in the years to come.

What Are The Most Romantic Cities? It appears romantics love Paso Robles.

Source: Bustle


Daryle W. Hier



Essential Oils Display Holder

Nearly since the beginning of time, essential oils have been used by humankind. Extracted from plants, essential oils or EOs, have been apart of medicinal history and formed a backbone for medical aids. Recently, it appears the homeopathic popularity of EOs has created a buzz and become somewhat of a leader in natural health and healing therapies.

Whether as an alternative too or complementary of traditional medicine, with this growth, the essential oil business has boomed. And why is a blog on wine barrels talking about a rather obscure world of EOs? Well, companies like multi-level marketer doTerra are leading a charge of sales advocates who are promoting and distributing EOs around the world.

As with any sales demonstration, the product needs a eye-catching display, and that’s where wine barrels come in – or more specifically, used wine barrel staves. Similar to the craze of essential oils, so too wine barrels and their components are becoming popular and more widely seen in a broad assortment of uses.

A strikingly unique display

One of those uses is as a holder of the small bottles that essential oils come in. The display is just starting to be used by wellness advocates from doTerra, but actually can be used by anyone who would like the eclectic use of a wine barrel stave to show off your oils in a home or business.

Currently, this Essential Oils Display Holder is available in its natural form with no changes other than holes drilled in the stave, for placing the vials of essential oils into. This exhibit holds a total of 11 bottles, with 10 spaces for 15 milliliter (ml) bottles and one for a 5ml bottle. The stave offers the usual patina of a wine barrel stave with an aged look, possible stains and the rustic appearance barrels can get.

No two staves are the same, so each is unique, distinctive and inimitable in its own way. The new product from is available, however, the interest and want to have this one-of-a-kind creation is outpacing production, so don’t be surprised if there’s a few days delay in receiving the essential oil display holder.

There are plans underway to produce a Decorative EO display holder as well, but the release of this latest product is still weeks away. In the meantime, for all you wellness folks, you can go to the Paso Wine Barrels website to purchase the display or go to one of our occasional appearances at arts and craft shows, mainly in Downtown Paso Robles. Our next show is Trading Day on the first weekend of summer (June 20th).

This stave holder can be utilized for a wide variety of applications outside of the essential oils like doTerra – anything that can fit into the inch and an eighth hole. The uses may be endless, so check it out.

Note: Other than Paso Wine Barrels, I am not a part of any company including doTerra. 

Additional source: doTerra – Melinda Hier-Goetz


Daryle W. Hier