Quaint stone buildings, cool dark cellars full of oak barrels, and fertile fields of grapevines?these are the images that Carina Cellars hopes to evoke with its European-style wines, which celebrate grapes that originated in the Rhone region of France. The winery sources its favored grapes from vineyards all along the central coast, especially Paso Robles and the Santa Ynez Valley. In the late 2000s, Carina also purchased 83 acres of land it called Rancho del Cielo??ranch of the sky,? after its steep slopes?to grow its own vines of viognier, syrah, grenache, and other grapes.
Though Carina Cellars? wines are manufactured using Old-World techniques and grapes, the terroir of California?s central coast shines through to define each style. Its whites feature a smooth 2006 viognier from Stolpman Vineyard, whose limestone soil adds a hint of minerality to the flavors and aromas of fruit before a butterscotch finish. In addition to several single-vineyard reds and carefully harmonized red rhone blends, Carina Cellars cultivates a list of reserve wines that includes Iconoclast, its rich flagship blend of cabernet sauvignon and syrah. Iconoclast's initial earthy aroma gives way to lush currant notes and a mocha finish, showcasing the care with which it was aged in small batches.
Vintner Joey Tensley found his calling at the tender age of 12, when a radioactive wine bug bit him in a Bordeaux winery. He broke into the business 10 years later in 1993, eventually establishing his own brand that exclusively creates vineyard-designate syrahs. In 2002, he partnered with longtime enophile and businessman David Hardee to create Carina Cellars.
The impressionist painters who inspired winemaker Bion Rice raised shimmering mirages in which soft-edged daubs of paint seem to grant motion to ballerinas or swaying river rushes. At Artiste, Bion draws inspiration from their work, attempting to raise distant landscapes with grapes rather than rough brushstrokes. Cabernet sauvignon and merlot grapes call up the sun-steeped fields of the Napa Valley, and chardonnay grapes carry one away to the Russian River Valley on straw-hued sweetness. Bion calls the blends “impressionist cuvees,” and he produces small batches of them, their corks sealed beneath thick, hand-dipped cloaks of crimson wax.
The bottles are labeled with colorful impressionist paintings, and in a tasting room and studio, the harmonious relationship between wine and art is even further cemented. The whisper of brushes on canvas drifts from paint-dappled tables, where guests bring to life sweeping forest vistas or criminal lineups of pine trees. A rotating array of paintings lines the walls, including works from artists such as Aldo Luongo, an Argentinian artist whose contrasting colors and rippling brushstrokes seem to gaze up from a clear lake. Wine glasses chime together, punctuating the lilting rhythm of classical guitarists or the constant weeping of trombone players during live music events.
From red-wine facials to grape-seed-oil massages, the vinotherapists at Vino + Therapy Spa Studio introduces wine and beer components to their soothing spa treatments, aiming to exhibit the healing and rejuvenating properties of wine and beer used during the beautification process that are said to date back as far as Cleopatra and the Romans. That?s thanks to owner Nena Benson, who draws inspiration from the vinoterapia spas popular in Tuscany. She touts the revitalizing effects of wine grapes; the acids can enhance circulation, for instance, and age-fighting antioxidants and resveratrol help strengthen delicate tissues and reduce inflammation. Beer hops, meanwhile, are rich in magnesium, zinc, and vitamins B1 and B3, and can help promote healthier skin.
Vino + Therapy Spa Studio provides a welcoming environment for beer and wine enthusiasts to sip boutique wines at the sidewalk patio before or after a variety of treatments. Travelers and locals alike can pair a day at the spa with a wine tour, during which they sample sips from the capacious cellars and naturally occurring wine geysers of several Central Coast vineyards.
Passport Central Coast celebrates the rich viticultural heritage of California's Paso wine region with all-access passes to the area's finest wineries and olive-oil producers. After clients pick up their passports at Clavo Cellars or Kaleidos winery, they embark on a delicious journey through different wineries and olive-oil producers, enjoying complimentary tastings of local reds and whites, passport stampings, and honorary citizenship at each vineyard. As guests sample crisp chardonnays, flavorful tempranillos, and robust extra-virgin olive oils, they bask in the warm, fuzzy feeling that Passport Central Coast donates part of its proceeds to a different local nonprofit each week.
Paso Robles doesn't have one climate. Instead, it encompasses a diverse cluster of microclimates and a correspondingly diverse array of wineries. The grapes that ripen on their vineyards here vary widely in flavor and harvest date, and the resulting wines are predictably eclectic even though they all hail from the same region.
With First Crush Wine Experience, wine enthusiasts can sample the region's bounty—and even stomp on its grapes. Hands-on, multi-day tours let participants follow a bottle of wine from vine to finished product and on some trips, participants get to custom blend their own bottle of wine. The company's seminars, meanwhile, focus on topics such as honing the palate to help wine drinkers better differentiate between wine and wine-flavored Gatorade.