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Love at First Sip

February 13, 2018

Love is in the air in Paso Wine Country. Celebrate Valentine’s Day with us and learn about our wine-loving industry couples. Read about the perks of both partners working in the wine industry (wine, wine, and more wine?) and the challenges!

Brian Brown and Natalie Darr

Brian – ONX Wines & Natalie – Four Lanterns Winery

brian brown natalie darr

How and when did you meet? Harvest of 2014. Natalie was an enologist at The Workshop in SLO and Brian had just moved ONX into The Workshop as a new custom crush client. The rest is history.

What did you drink on your first date? Everything.

What is the best thing about working in the same industry? Our wine fridge is never empty. We are always speaking the language, and we are always on the same laundry schedule. #dirtydirty

What is the most challenging? Everybody knows your business. And all of your relatives want free wine- all the time.

Living and working in Paso Robles Wine Country appears very romantic and idyllic… what is your most romantic experience in Paso? Living with my in-laws and killing ground squirrels. Actually, we joke about the romance of living in the country all the time. We never have a dull moment between our personal jobs, brands, and keeping up with the farm. It’s a labor of love.

Most romantic thing your partner has done for Valentine’s Day? Stay tuned.

What’s the most romantic thing that’s happened in your tasting room? We can’t talk about that. OSHA Violation.

What wine of yours best pairs with a box of chocolate (and roses)? Chocolate? 2015 ONX Reckoning.  Roses? 2017 Rococo Viognier.

Jonathan and Melanie Greer

Jonathan – Pack n’ Ship & Melanie – Brochelle Vineyards

greers

How and when did you meet? Mont Bleu Hotel, Lake Tahoe, California in 2008

What did you drink on your first date? Martini’s at the bar – it all started with a drink…the traditions continue!

What is the best thing about working in the same industry? Working with like-minded, passion-driven people, industry parties, and of course the wine!

What is the most challenging? Working with like-minded, passion-driven people, and of course which wine to select for dinner.

Living and working in Paso Robles Wine Country appears very romantic and idyllic… what is your most romantic experience in Paso? We love everything Paso has to offer, the sunsets are probably at the top of our list.  Our favorite memory is sitting on the Beach in Moonstone, drinking wine and eating cheese while the sun set on Christmas eve our first year living here. It was 70 degrees and epic! (we took lots of shadow pictures too)

Most romantic thing your partner has done for Valentine’s Day? Probably the Tiffany Boxes presented at The Hatch followed by Madonna Inn Pink Champagne cake at home.

What wine of yours best pairs with a box of chocolate (and roses)? Brochelle Petite Sirah – any vintage

Sterling and Roxan Kragten

Sterling – Cass Winery & Roxan – Villa San Juliette
sterling roxan

How and when did you meet? So, coincidentally, we met on Valentine’s Day in 2007. We were both at an international student mixer at a bar on campus. At the time we were both studying abroad (well, Sterling studied “abroad”) in Newcastle, Australia just outside of the Hunter Valley wine region.

What did you drink on your first date? We consider our dating anniversary to be St. Patrick’s Day and we had shots of Tillamore Dew. Horrid stuff. But it was while living close to wine country that our wine education and passion had started.

What is the best thing about working in the same industry? Best thing about working in the same industry is that we get to go to all the same pourings together and get to taste and discuss the wine together. And then, of course, the industry parties and dinners!

What is the most challenging? The most challenging part is that harvest season and wedding season overlap so we rarely see each other for at least a couple months out of the year.

Living and working in Paso Robles Wine Country appears very romantic and idyllic… what is your most romantic experience in Paso? We don’t celebrate Valentine’s Day in a “traditional” way. It is usually spent with a picnic and a bottle of wine. Or we tend to be traveling or doing something adventurous. We are currently in Rio De Janeiro for Carnaval. We have celebrated another one in Malawi (Africa) and two in Australia.

A romantic day in Paso for us is a Sunday afternoon in the summer spent on Lake Nacimiento with a cold bottle of rose.

Most romantic thing your partner has done for Valentine’s Day?

Sterling: A couple of years ago Roxan was telling me that Valentines Day was coming up and we both have the day off together… Right when I’m thinking she would want to do some nice dinner she said, “So, do you want to go snowboarding?” Real romance.

Roxan: Sterling is the most talented chef, so naturally he has made me the BEST dinners for Valentine’s day, but my favorite Valentine’s day memory was 7 years ago when he proposed to me. It wasn’t actually on Valentine’s Day (which I appreciated), but closed enough. He took me skydiving and went we were landing he had spread out a banner on the runway asking me!

What’s the most romantic thing that’s happened in your tasting room?

Sterling: Any time Roxan comes to visit me at Cass.

Roxan: Many lavish and very romantic weddings are held at Villa San Juliette, to narrow it down would be too much! I have set up a few beautiful proposals on site which are always so much fun to watch.

What wine of yours best pairs with a box of chocolate (and roses)?

Sterling: The Cass Dessert Syrah (port-style) is always good with chocolate, but I think Valentine’s Day is better suited for my Cass Sparkling Marsanne!

Roxan: Since VSJ doesn’t make a dessert wine, pairing with chocolate is a bit tough, but my personal favorites for Valentine’s Day celebrations is our fabulous dry rose and our red blend, Romantique.

Jordan and Molly Lonborg

Jordan – Tablas Creek Vineyard & Molly – Halter Ranch Vineyards

mojo

How and when did you meet? We met in Costa Rica in January of 2006, two hours down a dirt road, at a bar called Blew Dogs in the beach town of Nosara located on the Pacific Coast.

What did you drink on your first date? Imperial (local beer) and a shot of flaming Sambuca.

What is the best thing about working in the same industry? The collaboration, shared passion, and never-ending discussions.  We often spend hours critiquing various pruning styles, different farming methods, and winemaking techniques; you can imagine how long our dinner conversations can be!

What is the most challenging? Harvest time.  Our hours are completely opposite during harvest; Jordan is in the vineyard from 1am till about 3pm, and Molly is in the winery from around 5:30am to 7pm. It’s near impossible to get food on the table and have a minute to spend together.

Living and working in Paso Robles Wine Country appears very romantic and idyllic… what is your most romantic experience in Paso? In November of 2013 on one of the last Saturday’s that I had to work for harvest, we were both at Halter Ranch and were planning on doing some wine tasting after work.  At Halter Ranch we have a tree called the Ancestor tree that is the world’s largest Coast Live Oak on record.  Jordan explained that one of his co-workers wanted to see the size of the tree and that he wanted to get a picture of us in front of the tree as proof.  I set up my camera, and right when I ran into the picture Jordan dropped on one knee and proposed!  We captured it all on camera, and even our dog, Miles Davis, made it in the picture.

Most romantic thing your partner has done for Valentine’s Day?

Molly: To be honest, we aren’t big Valentine’s Day people. I prefer plants over flowers, so usually Jordan brings me home a nice plant that we can enjoy for years and cooks a nice dinner, and of course, we pull a nice bottle out of our cellar to enjoy.

What wine of yours best pairs with a box of chocolate (and roses)? 

Molly: For Halter Ranch, either the Ancestor, our Reserve Bordeaux blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec and Petit Verdot, or our Block 22 Reserve Syrah that is a rich and delectable wine made from barrel-fermented Syrah.

Jordan: As far as Tablas wine, most definitely either our Panoplie, Esprit Rouge, or our Tannat!!