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About the Podcast
Each episode is an intimate journey with owners, winemakers, growers, and personalities as they discuss the places and wines that have shaped the Paso Robles Wine Region. Where Wine Takes You promises to be an interesting and educational podcast that tells the stories of our unique and authentic wine country. New episodes will be released every two weeks.
Learn More about Paso Robles Wine Country.
The Host – Adam Montiel
The Where Wine Takes You Podcast is hosted by radio personality Adam Montiel, a well-known wine lover in Paso Wine Country. Adam has lived on the Central Coast since 2003 and became a wine lover shortly thereafter. He hosts several popular radio shows on The Krush 92.5, including the ‘The Cork Dorks‘, as well as his weekday morning show, ‘Up & Adam in the Morning’ on Coast 104.5. He enjoys reds, whites, blends, all of it, but mostly the story and the people and personalities behind the wines.
In addition to wine tasting, Adam stays active in the community, enjoys traveling, and asking too many questions.
Love Where Wine Takes You? Here are some other great wine-centric pods Paso Wines loves: VinePair – VinePair’s Drinks Podcast, I’ll Drink To That! – Wine Talk with Levi Dalton, Wine For Normal People with Certified Wine Dork Elizabeth Schneider, The Swirl Suite, Matthew’s World of Wine & Drink.
About the Episodes
Our host Adam Montiel catches up with two winemakers, Janell Dusi and Josh Beckett, to talk about breathing new life into old Paso Robles Wine history. Both Janell and Josh speak to their ideas and thoughts about reopening, and what’s on the horizon for both brands as they get into Summer, and beyond.
On episode two of Where Wine Takes You, Adam talks to Owner and Paso legend, Gary Eberle about trekking early to mid 70’s with his crew from UC Davis to test the soils of Paso Robles. And meet Jordan Fiorentini of Epoch Estate Wines, although definitively more new ‘new school’ than Eberle, there is a rich history here as well.
Why Paso? That’s the question we ask on today’s podcast of Where Wine Takes You. Paso Wine Country is unique and special, and with this episode, we are thrilled to ask this question of two great guests, Austin Hope and Eric Jensen, that are never short of one, their love for Paso, and two, a clear opinion.
While the number of wineries and tasting rooms on estate vineyards is steadily growing in Paso, the number of urban wineries is on the rise faster than ever. Host Adam Montiel shares with you the insanely popular urban scene within Tin City, as well as Paso Robles’ Downtown District which is also bursting at the seams with new tasting opportunities.
These days, there’s a lot more to enjoy and experience in Paso Robles besides wine tasting. In episode five, Adam talks to two folks who are taking their wine-tasting to a whole other level, and in some cases, even taking it airborne! Alex and Monica Villicana came to Paso in the ’90s and when they started Villicana Winery and then years later created RE:FIND Distillery crafting high-end grape-based spirits like vodka, gin, and even limoncello. Amanda Wittstrom Higgins, of Ancient Peaks Winery, Margarita Adventures, Wine Speak Paso Robles, and Dream Big Darling, shares with Adam ranch history and how Paso Robles is officially more than just wine tasting.
Adam Montiel spotlights two iconic Paso Robles wine brands, J. Lohr and Tobin James. These are brands with of course history behind them, but also name recognition and acclaim that spans far and wide, that helped put Paso Wine Country on the map! Listen to stories from Chief Brand Officer and fan of the WWTY podcast, Cynthia Lohr, and the iconic Tobin James.
Paso wine country grows more than 60 different grape varieties to world-class success. Two of France’s most prolific and historic wine regions, Bordeaux & Rhône, have popular varieties of grapes that are epic when grown in Paso. We talk to Alta Colina‘s Father/Daughter duo Bob & Maggie Tillman, as well as their winemaker Molly Lonborg about this brand, and their pursuit of not only world-class Rhône variety wines but the way they have risen to the top of a shortlist of farmers who do it with some of the best success. Bordeaux is in the blood of Daniel Daou who came to Paso during the Rhône explosion with a mission to keep at the forefront of the mind, what is planted most here, and why this variety to him is King.
We have two great guests, Jason Haas of Tablas Creek and Julien Asseo of Les Petites Canailles. For over 30 years, Tablas Creek Vineyard has been leading the way with one of the most unique stories not just out of Paso, but out of any winery in our country. Also on today’s show, our first chef, Julien will take time out before a busy service to chat about where wine has taken him. Opening a restaurant is tough enough, but during a pandemic, and to a great amount of acclaim and success takes a lot of heart.
Harvest 2020 is full steam in Paso and we get the low down on Harvest from Joel Peterson, Executive Director of the Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance. We also talk to Joe Barton of Grey Wolf Cellars and Barton Family Wines. Joe has been in the game since the late 90’s and his story of perseverance, and his journey is a true testament to the good guy coming out on top! He just won Winemaker of the Year from the Central Coast Wine Competition which spans to almost a dozen California counties. He was also Adam’s first winemaker interview ten years ago almost to the day!
There are many untold stories in Paso Wine Country, and it’s fun to just even scratch the surface and see where the stories, just like wine, takes you. This episode is jam-packed with three great conversations. We feature two winemakers, Edgar Torres and Tyler Russell, who don’t make a ton of wine, but their wine is fantastic and made even better when it’s paired with the story on how it, and they got here.
Host Adam Montiel gets a rare interview with couple Valia and Russell From. They discuss their own unique, and very successful brands, and how they pay it forward to other up-and-coming winemakers.
You know in Paso you can taste at a kind of place that has had its roots here for decades. By all accounts a Paso pioneer that helped put this area on the map. A place where the already great wine still gets better, and get a great experience. In the same way, you can find a brand that has maybe been around only a couple of years, but the hustle, the quality, the personality still fits the great tenants of what we love here about Paso Robles wine country. Today we feature both by talking to Justin Baldwin, and Elena Martinez and her husband Stanley Barrios of TOP.
For the last episode of 2020 we sit down with Maggie Cameron and Debbie Thomas. We wanted to show some special love to a group of folks who definitely deserve it after giving all they got and then some this year: and that’s our restaurants. The restaurant scene has grown so much these last several years, with cuisine easily rivaling the big metro areas of Los Angeles and San Francisco, which Paso sits right in the middle of. Winemakers and the most popular wine brands in the area all maintain the growth and explosion of the Paso Robles wine scene, which could not be possible without these important players in the hospitality game.
Thrilled to be back to offer a new season, a new year, which means more stories and roads to travel to see Where Wine Takes You. This episode features a family and a brand that is a bonafide pioneer of Paso Wine, Peachy Canyon Winery. Their story is delightfully imperfect, and it is so Paso. It’s full of heart, hard work, and never being afraid to trust yourself through all the ups and downs of life, and this business can throw at you.
The small, but mighty. Wineries that maybe don’t make a huge amount of wine, but the wine they do make is certainly special. Often there are charming aspects of the smaller production brands that are harder to find than the big boys. The two brands we meet today, Torrin and Thacher, both pack a significant Paso-punch, but do it on their terms, and with small production. The lesson here should be never to discount or dismiss a small producer because more often than not, there is a special hands-on and intimate approach to the process that is something to behold.
Episode 16 epitomizes more than that feeling of, ‘wow, small world”, but just how tight-knit the Paso Robles wine country community is. We talk to two brands that have definite and recent interconnections, with also their own unique takes and expressions of what Paso means to them. One from Paso’s westside, and one from Paso’s eastside. We meet Caine Thompson, the Managing Director of Robert Hall Winery, and Jeremy Leffert, the Director of Winemaking at Tooth & Nail Wine Company.
Just as the wine scene has absolutely taken off here in Paso Robles, the cuisine has not been far behind, and now both work just as hard in successfully making Paso a worthy destination to celebrate, in our own way, that ever special connection between food and wine. Join us as we talk with Carole Macdonal of La Coesha & Il Cortile and Cris Cherry of Villa Creek Cellars.
About to embark on the first of the three big weekends in Paso Wine Country, Vintage Paso Zinfandel Weekend. Always the third weekend in March, we celebrate the history of Paso and its heritage varietal, Zinfandel. While there are many ‘Zin-Houses’ in Paso wine country, there are also many wines that don’t make a zin, and these wineries also have special reasons for you to visit as well. Adam meets up with Karl Wicka from Turley, and James, Chris, and Robert from Opolo.
This episode of Where Wine Takes You is called, ‘The French Connection’, as we interview two of the hottest names in Paso Wine, Stephan Asseo of L’Aventure and Guillaume Fabre of Clos Solène. Both French winemakers who came from the Old World to do wine THEIR WAY, and chose Paso to do it.
We go from the west side to the east on Highway 46 this episode, starting at Niner Wine Estates and a conversation with Andy Niner. From there, we head east to Vina Robles Vineyard & Winery where Adam talks to Vina Robles winemaker Kevin Willenborg from the Sensory Lab of their three-year facility. We’ll talk about everything from sustainability in the vineyard, cellar, and what wineries are doing to have as least an impact as possible. We learn its not always easy, and it doesn’t end in just the vineyard, or the cellar, but like so many aspects of Paso, the people play a huge role.
In this episode of WWTY, we explore all that is, ‘Beyond the Tasting Room’. Two fun brands that both have a little something for everyone with both their wine and beyond.
One thing you can call Paso is ‘Authentic’. The personalities here are real. The two guests today are the epitome of Authentic Paso. Both describe themselves, and each other for that matter, as salty, so this is sure to be a fun conversation that we’re not even sure Adam can fence in.
Saxum Vineyards. Owner and Winemaker Justin Smith sits down with Adam Montiel in the caves at Saxum.
In this episode of WWTY is another deep dive into a long-standing and respected name in Paso Robles Wine Country. Adam talks to Matt Trevisan of Linne Calodo.
Today’s episode of WWTY takes us to a back alley downtown Paso. Of the best parts of Paso and arguably, the hub and where the heartbeats is downtown Paso Robles. We have a town square, a picturesque 5-acre park, and it’s surrounded by some of the best foods, wines, craft cocktails, popular boutiques, art galleries, and accommodations, that you will find anywhere in San Luis Obispo county.
In this episode of Where Wine Takes You we are getting into the philosophy behind winemaking. Ideas and concepts that don’t always have the fundamentals or the numbers behind them, methods that stem from perhaps intuition or feelings, often subjective definitions of connecting to the grapes, the vineyards, the barrels in the process, and how it makes sense, and sometimes doesn’t.
Today we talk about the “Consulting Winemaker”. Essentially, a hired gun is commissioned to make a wine for a person, or maybe a brand, that wants to achieve a certain standard.
Today’s episode of WWTY features two winemakers and two popular brands we are calling, ‘Well-Schooled, Well-Surfed, & Well-Traveled’. We are featuring Philipp Pfunder of Law Estate Wines, as well as Aaron Jackson, of Aaron Wines. Both of these gentlemen, very different, but with some striking similarities. Both are smart, very educated, in fact both have Master’s within their craft. Both have traveled and done harvests in other places, actually other hemispheres. Both also love to surf, and to see how that shapes them as men and winemakers is pretty fascinating.
‘Young Guns with Young Ones’ is the theme for this episode where we meet two young men, with two young brands, with young families where the familial connection runs through more than their household, but through their respective brands as well.
Our first conversation with Daniel Daou of Daou Family Estates was one of our most listened-to episodes. In that episode we touched on a newer and higher-end brand, than even Daou if you can imagine, he coined, Patrimony.
Today we talk to two well-experienced and talented winemakers who are in their own sort of revival and renaissance of late. Both sharing exciting times for their brands and doing it less than a block away from each other.
We have talked a lot about what makes Paso so special – in addition to all the tangible stuff we list often, one thing about Paso that’s so remarkable is it’s distinct. There is nothing quite like it. It is far beyond just another great area for grape growing and winemaking.
There is a saying…. There is white wine, red wine and then there is Pinot Noir. When Cabs and even Zins can be a perfect gateway into wine, and understanding what you like, Pinot Noir is not normally one of the first varietals that brings you in. That being said, the deeper you dive into what you like, into your understanding of fruit, of soil, of earth, terroir, crossing paths with Pinot Noir is inevitable. Its acquired taste, a brilliant window into a sense of place, and arduous requirements in both the vineyard AND the cellar make Pinot’s intrigue and appreciation something to savor.
Today we talk to the winemaker of Paso’s newest 100 Point Wine! Don Burns of Turtle Rock Vineyards has been used to receiving several 99 point wines, but recently was working his harvest when he found out his 2019 Turtle Rock G2 Syrah got rated a perfect 100 points by Jeb Dunnuck.
In this episode of WWTY we celebrate Veteran’s Day and the service and heart behind the men and women who served in our Armed Forces.
Paso Robles Wine has a great relationship with the city of Chicago. You can find Paso wines at all the best spots and on the best lists, but we also have attracted some of the best from The Second City to Paso Robles Wine Country. In this episode, we will meet two brands where the owners and winemakers hail from Chicago.
Kenneth Volk is a pioneer and visionary in wine-making here on the central coast. One of the early ones, he founded Wild Horse Vineyard & Winery in the early 80’s and over 20 years scaled it from 600 cases to over 150,000. He sold the brand later and started Kenneth Volk Wines which produces to this day.
It’s been a fantastic year for Paso Wine country, and we thank you for being along for the ride. Enjoy this highlight reel / montage of shows leading up to 2022!
On the first episode of WWTY for 2022, we introduce you to Billy Grant, who is Paso Wine’s Industry Person of the Year. Billy has been in the Paso wine game since 2002, and although he doesn’t make wine or farm grapes, his personality, love for Paso, and brilliant mind for sales and businesses development have made him a fixture here.
Two heavy-hitters on today’s episode. Eric Jensen of Booker Vineyard and Juan Mercado of Realm Wines and a new soon-to-be-announced brand in Paso!
We know times change. We know people change. We know trends change. Today we are going to talk to two folks that share the essence of embracing reinvention.
On the latest episode of WWTY, we’re exploring some new and exciting names in Paso for great food & wine experiences. I always get asked where to go, and even more, where to eat, so this episode has got two new places you will need to try the next time you’re downtown Paso.
Today we’re talking to the Owner of Epoch Estate Wines, Bill Armstrong. A Geologist as well as a Wildcatter, Bill shares the rush of what makes him put it all on the line, and how his Geology background made him choose to build a world-class winery where he did in Paso Robles in pursuit of making the “world’s best wine”.
Today we meet Jim Moroney, owner of Sixmilebridge Vineyards, as well as revisit with his winemaker Anthony Yount.
Today we meet Ikimi Dubose with The Roots Fund. The Roots Fund was created to nourish and enrich the lives of communities of color in the wine industry. She led a team of scholarship benefactors, folks wanting to learn more about how they can grow in the wine industry by coming to Paso to get a hands-on approach. They not only lived it up, but went to work, we’re going to hear all about it, and how Paso grows by partnering with groups like The Roots Fund. For more info: TheRootsFund.org
Hospice du Rhone is in town, and Paso is bursting at the seems with excitement! Paso and event organizers are welcoming winemakers from all over the world for this bi-annual event that really was four years in the making cause of well, 2020.
Paso Wine Fest is upon us and to get us pumped up about Wine Fest Weekend (5/19-22), and the marquee event, Saturday, May 21 at the Paso Robles Event Center, Adam has Joe Barton (Barton Family Wines / Grey Wolf Cellars/Grain + Vine), and Austin Hope (Austin Hope / Treanna / Hope Family Wines) on this episode.
The Side Hustle – Whether you’re trying to fill your piggy bank or your passion bank, the side hustle is more common than ever, especially in the wine business. Being a winemaker is already a tough job, so there has to be a lot of heart invested to finish a day in the cellar for the brand you work hard for, just to spend the evening making wines that ultimately is all you, both figuratively and literally.
Today we’re talking to two winemakers who took the leap and went flying. Both are owners of brands that lead with their passion, are great winemakers, and have found success with their style and fingerprint on Paso Robles fruit.
We learned about the book, ‘Drive Through Paso Robles’ at Blend Fest, and since meeting Paul and Naushad then, We couldn’t wait to get them on the show. ‘Drive Through Paso Robles’ is a resource book, and it’s a must for learning more about the area in an approachable way much like this show.
Today we talk to well-respected winemakers that have second labels to their original brands.
Excited to chat with two brands who have thriving tasting rooms downtown Paso Robles, but ALSO have estate fruit they are farming in Paso wine country as well. We talk to Neeta and Kunal Mittal of LXV Wine, who’ve had a downtown tasting room before it was even cool. They just celebrated their 12th anniversary, and their story, passion, and path is something special, and I’ve always loved sharing time with them on and off the air.
Today we are learning the man and the mission behind LAW Estate Wines. Adam sits down with Don Law and their Vineyard Manager Levi Glenn. One of Paso’s popular luxury brands, LAW is located on Peachy Canyon Road and enjoys the unique soils, aspects, and elevation that come with that slice of Paso wine country.
With Paso’s bursting popularity, folks are coming to Paso for more than just wine tasting. People are getting tickets for performances, they are booking weddings, and more. On this episode, we will talk to two brands that have their own unique form of hospitality and entertainment, and not only does it fit in with Paso so well, but Paso is far better, having their unique life stories having brought them here.
Harvest is full swing, and we have two brands on today who deliver big in sharing their excitement about harvest with their fans. While Cass Winery and Opolo Vineyards have different levels of production and are on different sides of town, these two brands and the guests today are infectious and their enthusiasm plays big roles for their wineries.
You might have heard you cannot make a good wine with bad grapes. But what about a world-class wine? A cult wine? A 100-point wine? Where are these grapes coming from? Who are these farmers? Today, you’ll get to meet and get the low down from two of them. Adam is joined by Bill Gibbs of G2 Vineyard, and Lucas Pope of Coastal Vineyard Services as well as Haliotide.
We’ve been hearing a lot about In Bloom, the hot new restaurant in Paso, located at the Paso Market Walk. Today we talk to Owner Chris Haisma about his history with great restaurants, and more importantly, his love for Paso. With Chris, and back on the pod, Cris Cherry of MAHA Estate and Villa Creek Cellars. Cris has a connection to Chris we will learn, as well as see what Cris thinks about all the comparisons to his old haunt (his old insanely popular haunt) Villa Creek.
It is our Veterans Day Episode, and we talk to two brands that are owned by some incredible Veterans of our Armed Services. We’re joined by Melani Harding of Bon Niche Cellars, and Adam LaZarre of LaZarre Wines and Broadside Wines.
POV: We’re inside Gary Eberle’s living room in the leather chairs by the fireplace. The dogs are sleeping around us, and we’re drinking wine, and just chatting. Jumping in to join us is Chris Eberle, winemaker, and no relation. We talk about everything from Turkey Day pairings, what is real limestone, to drawing up the Paso AVA almost 40 years ago, and a lot more. Good convo on how York Mountain AVA got started too!
Find out how our local brewery Firestone Walker Brewing Co. has been collaborating with RE:FIND Distillery and Villicana Winery to make something really special. We also talk spirits, the craft brew scene, and what kind of distiller or beer producer you’re shaped into being smack dab in the middle of a world-class wine country.
Founder Madeline Puckette & Wine Folly CEO David Gluzman talk about their unique backgrounds and the paths that led to their exciting partnership. In addition to sharing her story, Madeline tries Adam’s wine, offers essential advice to influencers, and more. David is a wealth of information, and any brand listening should take notes on what he says wineries are doing wrong, and some of it is right on your bottle.
Today we have Josh Beckett of Thibido and Peachy Canyon Winery. Josh shares his and his wife’s new vineyard and wine project called Thibido. We also chat with Randy Heinzen of Vineyard Professional Services. Randy is a career vineyard professional and drops some major growing knowledge as it relates to wine.
Today we’re talking to two folks who have massive ranches, and all they want to do is share them with you. Santa Margarita Ranch, home of Ancient Peaks Winery, is an ancient sea bed of 14,000 acres and 100 acres of vineyards planted. Zip lines, foraging tours, and horseback riding are some of the adventures you experience. Halter Ranch Winery sits on about 2,700 acres with 200 acres of vineyards planted. Train tours, a private airstrip for club members, winery tours, cave tours, and more are just some of the awesome offerings going on at Halter Ranch.
Today we have two memorable guests on their own, we can’t believe we have them together. Adam interviews Eric Jensen of Booker Vineyard and Justin Smith of Saxum. Eric, honored by Paso Wine as 2022 Paso Wine Industry Person of the Year, is always an exciting guest. Presenting his award to him is one of his two mentors, Justin Smith of Saxum. The first Booker wines were made at Saxum and we will actually be opening one today. That wine, The Ripper, from 2005.
New Winery, Who Dis? Today we meet two new brands, Dresser Winery and High Camp Wines. Both of their stories are similar, but as we have learned far too often, different paths to the same spot have a unique story all their own. Remember the Matt Damon movie, ‘We Bought a Zoo’? It’s like that. Both these folks came from different walks of life and now have land to farm, wine to make, and customers to keep, while making their own fingerprint on the fruit be felt and earning new fans on their own.