As Paso Robles becomes recognized as one of the world’s premiere producers of Cabernet Sauvignon and red Bordeaux varietals, the area has seen significant growth in red Bordeaux plantings. Today, more than 57 percent of Paso Robles vineyard acreage are made up of Cabernet Sauvignon and other Bordeaux varieties. The resulting wines are approachable, complex and age-worthy, and continue to win over critics and wine enthusiasts alike with their terroir-driven nuances.
Situated inland on the Central Coast, but close enough to the Pacific Ocean to enjoy maritime influences, Paso Robles is a superb region for growing grapes. Here, mountainous slopes, diverse soil types and large diurnal shifts in day to night temperatures result in idyllic growing conditions for grapes.
“Paso Robles is a rare phenomenon,” shares Daniel Daou, Co-owner and Winemaker of DAOU Vineyards & Wines, “it has the soils of Bordeaux and the climate of Napa, and when you put this combination together, it’s something that is rare and special. It allows us as winemakers to take a very minimalist approach to making wine.”
Adds Doug Filipponi, Co-owner of Ancient Peaks Winery, “The climate here in Paso is quite unique. We get heat during the day, but at night we have these intense diurnal shifts in temperature, putting more minerality into the berries and creating unique flavor profiles.”
The CAB Collective
The growing recognition for Cabernet and Bordeaux varieties has led Paso producers to plant more of these varietals than ever before, especially amongst members of the Paso Robles CAB Collective (PRCC), a grass-roots organization which strives to promote the full potential of the Paso Robles appellation through quality Cabernet and red Bordeaux varietal wines. In fact, since the PRCC’s inception in 2012, Cabernet acreage has increased an astonishing 42.2 percent. Today, Paso Robles represents 15 percent of the total red Bordeaux acreage in the entire state of California.
The growth of Bordeaux plantings in the region is attributable to the increased quality of the wines produced in Paso Robles and their price to value ratio compared to other regions.
“We’re growing quality fruit, but you’re also getting a lot of bang for the buck with Paso Cabernet,” says Filipponi.
It’s also the efforts of the PRCC and its members, who have devoted themselves to crafting true terroir-driven Cabernet and Bordeaux wines, which have helped Paso Robles position itself alongside the world’s top Bordeaux varietal regions. This increase demonstrates the staunch vision of the PRCC and the overall belief in the future of the region.
“Cabernet is really helping to define Paso Robles as a region,” shares Steve Peck, Winemaker of J. Lohr Vineyards & Winery. “Cabernet really is the king of grapes in Paso Robles.”
Family Roots Run Deep in Paso Robles
The Paso Robles CAB Collective celebrates the family roots that run through member wineries. In many cases, multiple generations work together to create exceptional, age-worthy Bordealais wines that are highly coveted. It is this family commitment to winemaking and grape growing, and to the continued stewardship of the appellation, that has contributed to the growing success of Cabernet Sauvignon and red Bordeaux varietals and blends from Paso Robles.
For Riboli Family Winery, the legacy of winemaking began 100 years ago when San Antonio Winery was founded. To this day, rich history and the importance of family is the strong foundation the business is built on.
“Family has always been the most important thing to us,” shares Anthony Riboli, fourth generation winemaker. “We grew up watching our parents and grandparents work hard to build the business, while always putting family first. This value has been instilled in me, and I strive to pass it on through my family.”
Riboli Family Wine Estates continues a proud heritage of winemaking that spans four generations. The commitment to producing award-winning wines includes investing in some of California’s most prestigious regions, including the El Pomar District and Creston AVAs of Paso Robles.
First generation grape grower and winemaker, Michael Mooney, and wife Margene, proprietors of Chateau Margene, are fulfilling their dreams of owning and operating a family winery and vineyard in the area where his forefathers settled. Their family history in San Luis Obispo County dates back five generations when Mooney’s great, great grandfather, Victor Linares, received land in the area as part of a Mexican land grant in 1842. Today, Mooney’s sons have followed him into the wine business.
“Our oldest son Chris worked for the family winery for 10 years and our younger son Jon is now an integral part of the operations at the estate and winery,” shares Mooney. “Margene is the CFO and her brother Bill manages the horticultural side. Bill’s son also works in the vineyard and tasting room. We’re proud to say that we are a family-run business, in every sense of the word.”
One of the founding members of the CAB Collective is DAOU Vineyards & Winery. Daniel Daou who, along with his brother, Georges, connected to their experience playing in their grandfather’s ancient olive groves in Lebanon and eventually began their winemaking journey. After immigrating to France, the brothers became passionate about the wine country lifestyle and following their careers in technology, the Daous returned to their agricultural roots, planting vines on Daou Mountain in the Adelaida District of Paso Robles. Ten years after founding DAOU Vineyards & Winery, the business continues to be a family operation, with daughter Lizzy joining the winery as assistant winemaker after graduating from the Wine & Viticulture program at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, and daughters Anna and Katherine involved in winery hospitality and trade relations.
“Nothing makes me happier than working alongside my children,” says Daniel Daou, “the future of DAOU will someday be squarely in their hands.”
Lohr Vineyards & Wines, also a founding member of the PRCC, celebrates 43 years of family winemaking and grape growing in Paso Robles and the Central Coast. Respected internationally, the Lohr family’s success is attributable to founder Jerry Lohr’s vision and the longevity of key personnel who collectively craft iconic wines from 3,700 acres of sustainably farmed estate vineyards. The second generation, including CEO Steve Lohr, Trade and Brand Advocate Cynthia Lohr, and Director of Education Lawrence Lohr, work alongside Jerry to relentlessly champion Paso Robles’ promise.
“Our father approaches J. Lohr with a farmer’s acumen and an engineer’s precision, drawing from his South Dakota roots and his engineering education,” shares Cynthia Lohr. “His wisdom guides the collaboration between our vineyard, winemaking and production teams each vintage.”
Visit pasoroblescab.com for more additional insights into the members of the Paso Robles CAB Collective and their superlative wines.