Tag Archives: Wine Region of the Year

Magazine Names New York Wine Region Of The Year

The New York based magazine Wine Enthusiast, has named the state of New York as its wine region of the year. New York beat out four other nominated regions: Champagne, France; Chianti, Italy; Red Mountain, Washington and Sonoma, California.

The reasons sited for this tribute were the quality of wines, the tremendous growth of the industry along with a believed improved business climate. The states uniqueness and diversity of wines were also made note of and credited as to why the Empire State was given this award.

Adam Strum, publisher and editor of Wine Enthusiast said of the somewhat surprising honor:

“The New York wine industry has made a remarkable comeback in the past 30 years in terms of the quality of wines, number of wineries, and economic impact. All of those positive indicators have accelerated tremendously during the past four years, making New York state one of the most vibrant and promising wine-producing destinations in the world.”

Less than 30 years ago, there were but 37 wineries who called New York home. However, now there are nearly 400 throughout the state, with the Finger Lakes district alone representing about one-third of the total wineries. Though limited to a certain amount of years and business-type, New York is allowing tax credits and giving new companies that move to the state, tax incentives and reduced regulation, which have helped the wine industry grow.

This past year, Paso Robles reigned as the world’s top wine region, recognized by the quality of wines, but also innovation and excitement created by a unique and booming industry on the Central Coast of California, drawing young talent from far and wide.

New York's Riesling ranks high among wine experts.

New York’s Riesling ranks high among wine experts.

New York ranks third nationally among wine producing states and not unlike Paso Robles, has made a comeback after an old history of wine production stalled.

A panel of judges from around the world voted with Finger Lakes Riesling wines critiquing particularly well.

The award will be presented as part of the Wine Star Awards gala at the New York Public Library in Manhattan next January.


Daryle Hier






Templeton, California: Secret Is Out

With so many honors being bestowed on Paso Robles including the world’s ‘Wine Region of Secretisout-oldladieswisperingthe Year’, it might be difficult to believe that one of the main reasons that Paso Robles is receiving so many accolades is the unassuming next town south of them: Templeton, California.  That’s right, when articles and association as well as websites talk about Paso Robles and wine, they likely are talking about none other than Templeton.  The secret is out.

You may be wondering why I’m mentioning Templeton.  It’s true that the Paso Robles AVA (American Viticultural Area) is a wide swath of San Luis Obispo County that starts in the north with San Miguel at the Monterey County border and heads south to Santa Margarita, east to Shandon and all the way west through to the center of the Coastal Range.  In other words, there are many different towns and areas within the Paso AVA.  However, when discussing Paso Robles vineyards and wineries, many of these vintners are outside the city limits of Paso Robles and actually are in what was once the obscurity of the Templeton zip code.

Templeton Gap

Templeton Gap allows cool air from the Pacific to reach inland and moderate temperatures for great grape-growing.

Numerous vineyards set up shop in the Templeton Gap.  It’s a low point in the Coastal Range that allows the Pacific Ocean’s air to come through and essentially moderate the temperatures of the upper inland San Luis Obispo County valleys.  That moderation gives vintners an ability to grow a wider variety of grapes without the harsh highs in summer and lows in winter.  Also, the land is rich and has very favorable soil, yet the terroir is diverse.

A step back

The town itself of less than 8,000 is a lot like what Paso Robles was 50 or more years ago and sits roughly halfway between Atascadero and Paso – the two major cities in northern San Luis Obispo County.  There’s a simple downtown area that goes through Main Street (what else) and gives you the feel that you’ve entered into a different dimension – maybe a combination of the ‘old West’ and a typical small Midwestern town.  By the way, Templeton is full of excellent bed and breakfast inns.

As the end of the line heading south out of San Francisco in the late 1800’s, the town was originally called Crocker after an executive of the Southern Pacific Railroad, but then was promptly changed to Templeton, the executive’s son.  Known for its railroad yards in the early years, it was a major town in the region.  Never incorporated, the town was eventually bypassed by the trains and their larger brethren cities north and south of it, remaining just a small community.  That is, until Paso Robles began acquiring praise and reviews as a great travel destination and more importantly, as the number one wine region in the world.

Templeton has had its own Chamber of Commerce for more than 30 years now but remains a relatively quiet and small town reflective of a bygone era.  And yet, that era may be ending as folks find out where many of the now famous wineries are actually located.  When they discover how charming and quaint the town itself is, there won’t be holding Templeton’s seeming anonymity back any longer.

In fact, Paso Robles is the largest undivided AVA in California, but soon the region will be subdivided into approximately 11 new AVA’s including the Templeton Gap District.  Although still technically under the Paso Robles AVA umbrella, each of these districts will be able to label their wines with the new AVA designation if they wish.  At that time, the Templeton name will be splashed across all over the world as a major wine producing region.

So the secret is out.  None of us who love Templeton necessarily wanted this secret to get out but what heck, we’ll share.


“Plum Blossoms” Fine Art Photo Templeton, California By Michael Verlangieri


Daryle Hier




Paso Robles History

Paso Robles Library Museum

Paso Robles Historical Society – Downtown Museum

Here we’ve combined the very early years of Paso Robles with the establishing era and then more recent developing times to give you a small picture into the history of Paso Robles.  Paso Robles has an interesting past on the American frontier and makes the current period all that more amazing when you consider the Paso Robles AVA is now the world’s top Wine Region of the Year.

I should note that the Paso Robles’ Library is a museum of sorts and has an incredible wealth of information pertaining to the town and its history.

Some folks asked where the rest of the history was because they would read just one section of our three-parter – so here they are spliced together.  Just click on the story headline for the full period rundown of each of the three eras.


The Earliest Years Of Paso Robles’ History – Paso Robles, California, is growing in popularity, especially in regards to the wine industry and in fact was just named the top wine region of the world (see related articles below).  Wine has been a part of the history of El Paso de Robles but the early beginnings of the town had as much or more to do with ranching, farming, orchards and hot springs. … continued …


Paso Robles History Moves From Wild To Wines – As we noted during the earliest years of Paso Robles, founded by James Blackburn and Drury James, the 19th Century offered up the town as little more than a respite for those traveling up and down the coast of California.  They had the sulfur mud hot springs and a train depot but for the most part, the region was ranch and farmland during the Wild West. … continued …


Current History of Paso Robles – In our two earlier stories (see related articles below), we talked about the beginnings of Paso Robles with its connection to the mission and then how the town morphed from the Wild West into a growing viticultural area by the 1970s. … continued …


Daryle W. Hier




Wine Region of the Year

As someone who has visited the Paso Robles region for over four decades and lived here for seven years, I know how great this part of the world is.  And of course, the region is dominated by the wine industry so most of everything associated with the area has to do with wine and grapes (such as our barrel business).

“It’s that happy willingness to forge forward, to press relentlessly into the future and craft its own identity for the 21st century that makes Paso Robles Wine Enthusiast’s 2013 Wine Region of the Year.”

Still, it’s nice when others from around the world also acknowledge how fabulous Paso is.  That’s what Wine Enthusiast magazine did when it awarded the ‘2013 Wine Region of the Year‘ to Paso Robles.

The growth of the region as a wine producing appellation has skyrocketed this century thanks to a more open-minded flexibility to making wine grapes.  With terroirs that our significantly different than more traditional areas of California like Sonoma and Napa, innovative winemakers have proliferated in this Central Coast of California expanse.

Sitting in the northern half of San Luis Obispo County, Paso Robles has given flight to an abundance of unique yet high quality wines.  With hot summer days but cool evenings, the diurnal is unlike most other terroirs and combined with ideal soil … well, the grapes love it.

Paso Robles: One of the great wine destinations in the U.S.

Paso is already considered by TripAdviser as one of the top wine destinations in the United States to visit.  With over 26,000 acres of vineyards including its well-known Zinfandels, we’re happy to hear there’s another feather in the cap of Paso Robles as the number one wine region in the world.

Additional source: The Travel Paso Robles Alliance

Salootie Patootie,

Daryle W. Hier