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Did You Know Zinfandel can create medical advantages for your health?

The black grape Zinfandel, one of the more common varieties in California, along with Italy and Croatia where the grape was likely first discovered, is very good for your health. Studies have discovered a wide range of advantages to your well-being.

It’s been argued that the darker the grape, the better it is for you, but regardless,Zinfandel grapes studies have shown over-and-over that Zinfandel is great for your heart. More specifically, the black grapes offer protection against heart attacks and vascular disease. Other benefits are better eyesight due to increased levels of carotenoids along with helping brain functions and reducing migraines. Zinfandel has high levels of vitamin A, C and K which helps with healthier skin and hair – very important to know for the head honcho’s here at Paso Wine Barrels.


Daryle W. Hier






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20,000 Tweets And Counting

Twitter is and probably will always be a unique and unusual platform in the social media realm. I first signed up for it right after they started but after several months of trying to figure out what to do with it, I closed my account. I opened it back up a few months later as a political outlet, but that soon was tiring and didn’t help me with anything businesswise, so I abandoned it again. In early 2009 with others telling me I needed to be on Twitter, I gave it a try once more. 20,000 tweets later, I’m still using it. What this means I’m not quite sure, but regardless, that’s a lot of 140 character statements over five plus years. Yeah, I’m tired just thinking about it.Twitter logo

Twitter is a messaging platform – they call it a micro-blogging service – that allows a person or business to follow someone’s tweet who might be like-minded or interesting. If in turn the other person likes you, they will follow your tweets. In a most basic breakdown, Twitter isn’t unlike Facebook but without all the clutter. Another way to look at it is Twitter is for the shorter attention spans than those on Facebook, Google+ or most other social medias.

Many reasons

To think I started out on Twitter – the third time around – with a race marketing angle, changed to a drag racing approach, all along it was an outlet for my sports writing and then made a u-turn into the wine barrel business. That’s a whole story unto itself.

Regardless, I took up Twitter full-time, so-to-speak about the same time I started writing professionally. Yet, let it be said, writing a story or article isn’t anything like sending a quick sentence off using no more than 140 characters. However, I learned early on that Twitter forced you to put thoughts down in a micro-quip. Writers will understand that it’s easy to drone on about something without getting right to a point – Twitter helped me quite a bit in that regard. Not that Twitter is necessarily a great place to brush up on your pinpoint writing. Often words are reduced to abbreviation or just left out for the reader on the other end to figure out.

Twitter logo (bird)By the way, you could estimate that I’ve written roughly 2.8 million characters down on Twitter, which calculates out to easily over half a million words written (five is the average characters for a word). I should note that I’ll talk about almost anything on Twitter, whether it’s about the Central Coast, sports, my business, wine, politics or anything else. I’m probably more diversified in my comments on there than any other social media.


Instagram has come along as the image dominated Twitter. What Twitter has done with words, Instagram is short and sweet with sometimes nothing more than a picture.  Facebook owns Instagram.

It always appeared that someone was coming along to replace Twitter. Remember MySpace? Yeah, I was on that before any of these other social medias; but, it became apparent it was too sleazy and most of the people using it were just into music. Twitter and Facebook replaced MySpace and so did I. I exited MySpace, closed the account and then showered. Bleh!

20,000 Leagues Under The Sea

Twitter’s Fail Whale wasn’t exactly like Jules Verne’s whale – which was actually a submarine.

Facebook and later Google+ were supposedly going to knock out Twitter, but the tweets just kept on coming. While Facebook and Google use algorithms and reduce who sees your timeline – you’d be surprised at how few of your friends actually see your status comments – on the other hand, Twitter shows everything and has kept its platform simple, while properly monetizing the business, all-the-while keeping their program straightforward.  Twitter has their fair share of ‘Fail Whales’ along the way, but overall they’ve kept the system working well.  If you’re not familiar, a picture of a Fail Whale came up on the screen as a nice way for Twitter to say the system is down.

20,000 more?

For now, I’ll keep using Twitter and at some point in time, in all probability, use it for advertising as well. You can check me out at @PasoDr and whether I ever do another 20,000 is questionable, but likely I’ll always use Twitter in some fashion or form.  Plus, I like the number – 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea by the great French writer Jules Verne is one of my all-time favorite books, along with being one of the first novels I ever read.  I know, you’re confused by what the heck any of this has to do with my narrative.  Hey, the book can be confusing too.

Anyway, I’ve written thousands of articles so my tweets don’t amount to nearly as many words.  Still, speaking of novels, you know how many I could have written using those 2.8 million characters on Twitter?  Mon Dieu!


Daryle W. Hier

PS: Check out our May Special – Get the world’s best with an incredible value if ever there was one.



Racing To Wine – Gerald Forsythe

The associations and connections that happen along the way of life can be simple or complex, but with Gerald (Gerry) Forsythe, owning a large and successful winery in California could hardly have been considered from his beginnings in a small rural town in east central Illinois.

Broken Earth Winery

Broken Earth Winery

Forsythe is the man behind the investment to bring the winery back that was once Arciero, EOS, Sapphire and now is Broken Earth Winery.  To be clear, Chris Cameron is the winemaker and in charge of the winery as it races quickly along but Forsythe’s money is what purchased the business end of the deal – however, note the land is still owned by Chinese investors who acquired the property from Sapphire Wines.  It’s a longer story than that but in short, Forsythe owns the lease on the land and use of the facility, which is quite extensive.  The company is under the Continental Vineyards name.

Power and racing

Born and raised in Marshall, Illinois, Forsythe was known more for his building of a giant power industry empire, amassing nearly a billion dollars of personal worth.  Still, his most public achievement may have been a more notable exploit with Gerry known as an open wheel car owner in the world of IndyCar and then owner of a series.

Gerald (Gerry) Forsythe

Already quite wealthy from his growing cogeneration power plants and equipment businesses under the company name of Indeck, Forsythe became a winning car owner in CART during the ‘90s with famous Canadian drivers like Jacques Villeneuve, Greg Moore and Paul Tracy.  Notoriety would follow when Gerry along with Kevin Kalkhoven and Paul Gentilozzi acquired CART in 2003 – which was competing against IndyCar.  The new series was renamed ChampCar and it would continue to be head-to-head versus IndyCar for five more years before a merger (acquisition by IndyCar) helped bring Forsythe’s involvement in motorsports to an end.

Back in the hands of a racer

A soured and bitter end to his racing entities may have helped turn his attention to sweeter investments such as the purchase of the old EOS winery.  For those in motorsports, it may seem ironic that a property originally owned by Frank Arciero and his brother who themselves were highly involved in racing including IndyCar, brings the vineyard and wine-making operation full circle and back into the hands of another racer.

Broken Earth winery is more than self-sufficient with a very profitable solar panel farm.

It wouldn’t be a Gerry Forsythe company if Broken Earth Winery weren’t more than self-sufficient with a very profitable solar panel farm for all their power.

Little more than five miles east of Downtown Paso Robles on Hwy 46 East, Broken Earth has a very nice tasting room and café along with a large outdoor area to enjoy the sites of east Paso Robles.  The winery is also large with a huge commercial wine-making ability.  Interestingly enough, the property is completely self-sufficient with a good size solar-panel farm directly south of the winery and in-fact sells energy back to the power company.

Making a name

The grapes were prized by Napa almost a half a century ago but never sold under a Paso Robles banner until recent decades.  Thanks to Forsythe and Cameron – who is doing a fabulous job so far – now they’re world renown just like the Paso Robles region as a whole.  Note that Forsythe also owns resorts and golf courses in Michigan, along with a 28,000 acre cattle ranch in Illinois.

Gerry Forsythe may have many other businesses under his belt but none of them is as attractive and productive for sheer enjoyment like Broken Earth Winery.  Gerry partnered with a dynamic vintner in Chris Cameron and the winemaker has the vineyard racing forward, likely making this business venture as successful as all the other Forsythe companies.

The green flag has just flown – there are many more laps for Forsythe to watch over as his winery business speeds forward.

Additional source: Autocourse Official History: Cart: The First 20 Years, 1979-1998,, Broken Earth Wines

Salootie Patootie,

Daryle Hier



Route 66, Burma Shave And Wine

I have a certain amount of knowledge and information about Route 66 and Burma Shave because of our background in cars and motorsports.  Heck, some years back we were able to acquire special permission from the owner of the trademark to use the legendary Burma Shave jingles – which in fact we still possess.

I’ve lived in wine country for several years now – however, to tell you the God’s honest truth, I did not know there was any connection between the famous highway called Route 66, Burma Shave and wine.  Still, indirectly or otherwise there are links between the renowned road, shaving products company and the always delectable nectar-of-the-gods called wine.

The highway – often called ‘The Mother Road’ – runs from Chicago down through and across Illinois, Missouri and Oklahoma before traversing up the Texas Panhandle, New Mexico and then Arizona before coming down into the desert and ending up on the Pacific Ocean in Santa Monica, California.  See related article below for more info on Route 66 and Burma Shave.

Route 66 wine

Admittedly, it’s hard to contrive the idea that the lonesome, dusty and sometimes desolate Route 66 Highway would ever have wine associated with it.  The fact that there are some from the Midwest that left places like Oklahoma for better farming in California, makes the idea of vintners working the land in the Southern and Central Plains to create wine seems unusual.

When I did little extra snooping around to see if in fact there was a connection, not only did I Route 66 Wine Trailfind a blend of interest between the road and wine but also a winery trail guide.  Yes, you heard that right – if you want to travel the Mother Road and you’re a lover of wine, or maybe just need an excuse to travel Route 66 while imbibing along the way, here’s a Route 66 Directory of wineries along the famed highway.  I don’t know how up to date it is but you should be able to get your kicks on Route 66.

Keep an eye out for an event called Stroud’s Historic Route 66 Wine & Food Festival held in June every year.  Stroud likes to call themselves Oklahoma’s winery and grape capital.  Also, in September, Kingman, Arizona, has a Route 66 Cocktail and Corks Spirit Tour.

Here’s your sign

Burma Shave was famous from the Depression until the mid-60s for hundreds and hundreds of slogans with a marketing program that used them along highways all across the country including Route 66.  Each red sign was a few hundred feet apart – note that cars weren’t whizzing by at 75 mph back then – and would say for instance: ‘It’s best for’, then a few hundred feet later ‘One who hits’, then ‘The bottle’, followed by ‘To let another’ and finally ‘Use the throttle’.  Each set of signs would end with ‘Burma Shave’.  There’s even a Route 66 wine and glass rack that looks like an old-fashioned gas station pump (click here).

Burma Shave was a long ago tradition that faded but never disappeared in the American fabric and lexicon.  Every once in Burma Shave Stickerawhile, a company will use small billboards or signs to effectively do the same and if you look around the countryside in wine regions, some wineries are trying the same gimmickry.

Nostalgia is fun and there’s certain good-feeling that Route 66 and Burma Shave bring to the Americana culture.  In that vein, we’ve decided to offer a select amount of shirts and caps with our store in the coming days and weeks.  It will be for a limited time and we’ll have some giveaways you can be involved with.  Be on the lookout very soon for a Burma Shave sticker giveaway.

Stay tuned to our website, blog and Facebook page (like us for additional specials) for a multitude of offers coming up.  Oh, and one of the last jingles Burma Shave ended with in the ’60s was:

“If our road signs – Catch your eye – Smile – But don’t forget – To buy – Burma Shave.”

Salootie Patootie,

Daryle W. Hier


Source: Verse by the Side of the Road: The Story of the Burma-Shave Signs and Jingles

Related article:

U.S. Route 66 and Burma Shave

What The Heck Is A Diurnal?

With Paso Robles As Example

A diurnal sounds like a … uh, uh uh, easy guys, this isn’t toilet humor (pun intended). Actually, diurnal has more than one meaning and we’re not dealing with a daily journal.Partial Earth

No, what we will talk about is the diurnal (meteorologically speaking) that means the difference between day and night pertaining to weather temperatures. And in Paso Robles, on the California Central Coast, we have a doozy.

Summers offer big diurnal

In its most basic description, the diurnal is a spread of temperatures relating the highest in one day to the lowest of that same day or within the next 24 hours. For instance, one of the first summers I had here in Paso, we had a high of 106 and a low of 44. That differential was 62 degrees – an amazing temperature swing for 24 hours. And in actuality, it wasn’t even 24 hours as the high was around 4:00 p.m. and the low was about 5:00 a.m. In roughly half a day, the diurnal was 62 degrees.

Although this anecdotal example is a bit on the extreme, this huge change isn’t that unusual in Paso Robles, especially during the summer month cycle and is an interesting aspect to the area. In fact, August has highs averaging in the low to mid 90s with lows in the low to mid 50s. June, July, September and October also have wide-ranging diurnals. 50 degree disparity in highs and lows is common fare in summer and early fall.

Desert vs Ocean

Without going into another entire story on temperatures in Paso, the area lies at the backside of the Coastal Range and typical of many regions in California, the temperatures soar in the late morning through mid afternoons. Sea breezes begin blowing in from the Pacific Ocean, working their way through the mountain passes and dramatically cooling the air – thus, large varying temperatures from night to day.

Ranches and orchards once dotted the landscape as much as vineyards do now.

A large diurnal allowed for ranches and orchards, which once dotted the Paso Robles landscape as much as vineyards do now.

A slight offshore keeping the marine layer away with warm air aloft during the day and a sun beating down, allows temperatures to climb quickly up. When the late afternoon winds bring in the much cooler air: voila! You have a large diurnal. It should be noted that humid regions and/or areas with bodies of water tend to have a low diurnal. When thinking about moderate diurnals, think Great Lakes region along with the Eastern Seaboard, Gulf Coast and the immediate coastal areas of the Pacific Northwest. They see little change from day to night in temperature swings.

Those that live in the desert might know about the large temperature variation or diurnal. The Great Basin (Nevada) has normally huge divergences between high and lows in one day. If you look up wide swings in diurnal temperatures, you will inevitably hear about the Upper Plains like the Dakotas also having tremendous climatic variances – due in part to not having any large body of water to moderate the temperature. The continental landlocked plains of the Central Asian Steppe region also has severe temperature fluctuations due to lack of any major body of water. The record diurnal at 100 degrees is held by the small town of Browning, in northwestern Montana (source: National Park Service).


The Mongolian highlands or Steppe region is one of the areas of the world where the diurnal is wide ranging.

A day in Paso

Breaking the diurnal down inside a day, the greatest change is normally from late afternoon before the sun is low in the sky until just after sunset. Normally here in Paso, it might be 90 in summer on a typical late afternoon around 6:00 p.m. and by 9:00 p.m. it could be 65, possibly changing more than 10 degrees in one hour. By the way, several years ago, shortly after leaving a winery on a blistering hot August day, I looked up on the temperature inside the car and it read 110 degrees outside … and it was 5:30 p.m. And still the lows were in the 50s.

Paso Robles is generally a dry region and the only reason it isn’t a desert more so like the Central Valley – such as Bakersfield (100 miles east) where day time Summer temperatures don’t drop as severely in the evenings – is the effects of the Coastal Range; plus, Paso is only 20 miles from the ocean and the water temperatures blow in to keep it cooler.

Carrizo Plain

The lands just southeast of Paso Robles called the Carrizo Plain has quite a divergence between high and lows called a diurnal.

Soon I will be talking about how that diurnal directly affects Paso Robles and its grape vines. Hopefully this didn’t confuse you and I didn’t confuse myself – it has been done. Daily diurnal cycles are interesting characteristics of weather and your daily life, so the next time someone asks you about diurnals, now you know. And no, it doesn’t have anything to do with strange restrooms … keep it clean.  😉

Additional source: Idaho State University,, State of California

Salootie Patootie,

Daryle W. Hier




Wine And Alzheimer’s

As a longtime advocate for Alzheimer’s, I’ve noticed a great many advances in treating and perhaps even curing Alzheimer’s disease.  You can write several books on the subject but there’s one particular area that has been brought to the fore lately – the affects of wine on Alzheimer’s.

Researchers have discovered a link between a beneficial compound in red wine called resveratrol compared with the cholesterol-carrying protein (plaque) that can create and/or exacerbate the memory-wasting disease, Alzheimer’s.  Resveratrol has been determined to negate the debilitating actions of these oppressive plaques.Wine and Alzheimer's

The findings have placed wine front and center in the battle of terrible dementia’s like Alzheimer’s.  Essentially what the good compounds do is impede development of Alzheimer’s and therein lies the essential good affect that wine has with inhibiting the debilitating disease.

Wine is good

Without getting too technical about this natural disruptor, wine is good.  Indeed wine has been associated with properties that are good for your heart as well as fighting cancer due to the anti-oxidant assets.  Obviously moderation is the key because too much alcohol can produce other problems such as liver disease and hypertension.

Nevertheless, they found this chemical compound and now are working towards supplying a medication to give potential patients.

Alzheimer’s is a hideous disease that unlike other illnesses attacks the brain and renders the inflicted person helpless to fight it, especially in the latter stages.  When fighting other ailments, at least you have your mind but with dementias the will is gone and having seen it first hand, the person has no idea … and I mean no idea, as they are essentially a vegetable.

Hopefully this latest bit of research will bring even more advances with the possibility of a cure for Alzheimer’s in the future.  Remember, in moderation … drink up!


Daryle W. Hier

Source: Alzheimer’s Association


If you happen to be associated in any way with the wine industry, you probably have come in contact with the word ‘terroir’.  Generally, I knew the word and its basic understanding … or so I thought.

The large rolling hills on the Croatian peninsula of Istria in the Northern Adriatic Sea, offer a unique terroir for wine making.

In normal terms, the word as I knew it stood for a type of geography and lay of the land, so to speak.  I looked the word up and although I was right in the simplest sense, the word means much more than I realized.  Merriam Webster calls it a ‘taste of the earth’.  Simply stated, that’s about right.  However, what does it really mean?

Well, you’re not going to get very many folks agreeing on the exact meaning but we’ll give it a try and maybe in the end, you’ll be a little wiser when you describe to your friends what it means.  By the way, its origin is French and it’s pronounced ‘tear wahr’ as in going on a ‘tear’ and armies going to ‘war’.

Any in case, the word has gone through a transformation of sorts.  Before the last decade or so, the word was given to mean more about wines or any beverage (or food for that matter) that had an earthy tone or taste to it.  This could be good or bad depending on exactly what was being described. Recently though, it now pertains more to a descriptive nature regarding a region, terrain, weather or soil conditions and types.


For instance, a terroir’s region or terrain might be rocky, or high in elevation as compared with another terroir which may be in a valley with much fauna.  A terroir’s weather could be hot and dry or cool and damp.  If a ground composition is a sandy terroir, that would be in comparison to a clay-like terroir.

Think of a terroir as the filter for what a vine works through.  A terroir’s soil along with the temperature and terrain can affect a wine grape and make it taste decidedly different than a same grape in an entirely different environment … or more accurately, a terroir.

Note that I’m no expert – just someone who has thoroughly researched wine barrels and with that exercise combined with being in the middle of wine country has brought many of these descriptions dealing with terroir, to the forefront.


A mile up elevation-wise in the far northern reaches of Argentina, lies the Calchaquí Valley with a particular climate that helps to produce great wines from its distinctive terroir.

So you see it’s a combination of factors that give each terroir its uniqueness or character.

The precise and distinctive locality of a region including the topography and weather of a place differentiating from other places, producing a certain quality and personality, if you will – is in a word: terroir.

Hopefully that didn’t confuse you, but in fact, now gives you a leg up on family, friends and cohorts.

We often use the term here in Paso Robles, because certainly we have a distinctive terroir what with a vibrant soil and inimitable terrain combined with a huge diurnal (the difference between high and low temps in a day – we’ll have to have a quick dissertation soon on that term too).

All these differing attributes collective with changing environs and climate make for distinguishing features in terroirs all across the world.  And now you know the rest of the story … or most of it anyway.

Check out these books on terroirs of France and America:

Terroir: The Role of Geology, Climate, and Culture in the Making of French Wines

American Terroir: Savoring the Flavors of Our Woods, Waters, and Fields

Daryle W. Hier

A ‘Toast’ – What is it?

A successful harvest, a gold medal vintage, a sports victory, a wedding, a special birthday, a successful business venture or New Years Eve: if the occasion presents itself, we honor it with a “toast”.

All the times you have made a toast to something, somebody or event, have you ever glasses clinking to a toastwondered how clinking glasses to celebrate a special occasion ever got started and why it is called a “toast”?

Old beliefs

Ancient mythical stories regarding the fear of poisoning and thus spilling or splashing the drink into your host’s glass so you both would be drinking the same mix, seems to have been discounted.  Another aged tale is that many old seafarers believed there were demons in the rum they were drinking and it could make you do things you didn’t want to do.  They believed the sound of glasses clinking would drive old demon rum out, thus the clinking of glasses.

A somewhat substantiated story indicates that back in the 17th century, a spicy flavored piece of toast would be put into each glass or the crystal drinking bowl before dipping glasses prior to honoring a respected person, usually a lady – thus the word toast.  The lady in whose honor the drink was proposed would figuratively have given the drink a beautiful flavor.  You’ve heard the phrase, ‘toast of the town’?  That’s because the toasting was a tribute for those that were accomplished.

Another thought was that the sound was a good signal of a fruitful marriage at weddings or a prosperous year for a birthday.  Still others say that the lift upwards of the glasses is in reverence to God.

Living in wine country and being associated with the wine business, there are many occasions to offer a toast.  We will be gathering the grapes in one week and yes, we look forward to “toasting” a successful harvest.

No, there won’t be any poison here, just medal award winning wines as we will clink our glasses to those beautiful grapes, to good health, happiness and a long life.

Cheers! & Salootie Patootie!

Ron Hier

Salootie Patootie?

At the end of some of our website pages or blog stories, you will see the closure “Salootie Patootie”.

What the heck is Salootie Patootie and how did we arrive at it you might say?  You might have other ideas as to its origins but we’re here to clear that up.  Salootie Patootie is a Beegle-ism.  Well, what is a Beegle-ism?

A Beegle-ism is a word or phrase originated from a long time close friend of ours Mr. Ray Beegle.  Ray and I (Ron) met when stationed at the same fire house while members of the Los Angeles City Fire Department.  We fought fires together, dodged bricks and bullets during the Watts Riot, associated with each other’s families and along with another fire department friend, bought an airplane together.Wine & beer glass

We vacationed together and after retirement when I chose to become a part of a wholesale auto parts warehouse business, Ray was right there with his support;  always with an uplifting Beegle-ism like “Hey buddy, the colors on those uniforms stick out like a s–t house in the fog”.  He had a million of them, some I can’t print but would crack you up laughing.

Ray was always ready to hoist one for a celebration thus the salutation, “Salootie Patootie buddy” or

“Salootie Patootie, beautiful day”.

To us, it’s a lot like Aloha and can mean many things.  Hello, Goodbye, Cheers, Bottoms up, Down the Hatch or Here’s mud in your eye … you get the idea.  The guy was one of a kind.  Sadly for all of us, Ray passed away a few years ago but his Beegle-isms will be in our hearts forever.  Now you know where it came from.

In deference to the Italian language,

Salootie Patootie