We always try to go to a new tasting room when in Paso Robles but sometimes there are other things to do besides tasting new wines. Like touring a facility we have not seen and then tasting some of our favorites. On a recent trip we had the privilege and pleasure to get a tour of the Historic Halter Ranch. The historic Halter Ranch Victorian farmhouse was originally built in 1885 and has the additional fun fact that it was the site of the first 'kill' in the 1990 film ‘Arachnophobia.’
On what was a rare rainy day in Paso we arrived at Halter Ranch. Due to the rain the tour skipped the walk to the production facility and winery. We got to drive on the super cool covered bridge. The bridge was built in 2009 by a company in Oregon to fulfill the fire department’s mandate of access to the new winery across Las Tablas Creek.
Arriving at the winery our tour guide 'T' talked about the vineyards and how they use 100% estate-grown grapes in their wines. These vines are all sustainably farmed on the Terroir of the Westside limestone soils. We then were ushered into one of the premiere winery's around.
After many many years of planning (well planned) and construction, this amazing new winery facility was finally completed. The Halter Ranch wine making team worked closely with the Architect to design a state of the art multi level facility. The winery utilizes gravity flow in every aspect of the wine making process. Gravity flow allows the winemaker to handle the fruit in the gentlest way possible, with no pumping. This starts from right where the grapes are dumped into the de-stemmer at the top level then into the tanks, and ultimately all the way into the barrel.
Beyond gravity flow, the new building employs a wide range of environmentally friendly features from rain water harvesting systems on the roof, in the floors, and in drains around the exterior of the facility that retrieve more than 100% of total water used in the wine making process. The water collected beyond the needs of the facility itself are used to fill the vineyard’s irrigation pond. They even built in a means to use the cool night air in the hills to purge the hot air out and cool the winery without air conditioning. The architecture and construction spared no expense to be an efficient and functional facility but also one of substantive beauty.
When we emerged from the caves T directed us to our final stop. The beautiful Members Lounge where we had great views of the countryside and into the winery and we enjoyed a private tasting of Halter Ranches current premium release wines. Yum!
A magnificent facility that is way more than meets the eye, great hospitality and some crackin good wines. When in Paso Robles do not miss an opportunity to pay Halter Ranch a visit and take a tour, its a 'must do'. Tell em we sent you.
Happy Tasting Adventures,