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California Closes Paso’s Hemingway Winery for Selling Wine Without Liquor License the Past 3 Years

Pulitzer Award winning author Ernest Hemingway lived a vivid life on the outer edge and apparently the owner of Paso’s Hemingway Winery is following his path.

We’re hard-pressed to put author Ernest Hemingway and California Wine in the same paragraph, much less the same sentence. Hemingway traveled the world writing, then dying in 1961 before the ascent of California wines at the 1976 Judgement of Paris event. So when we tasted here in February everything seemed great, another good winery in Paso Robles. Little did we know in three days they would pour wine to undercover agents from California’s Alcohol Beverage Control (ABC) who found to winery lacking a state license for the sale of wine. In fact, they allegedly had no license for the past three years, Ooops.

Owner Daryn Pastuf visited with our group when we tasted, sharing stories of how he bought the estate on the east side of Paso in 2019 crafting wine from local grape as well as California’s Mendocino and Sonoma AVAs. He’s also created a downtown Paso Robles steakhouse with the same name. Good news though for Pastuf, Hemingway’s the restaurant does appear to have an ABC license. But, you’ll probably not be able to enjoy Hemingway wine with your steak.

What alleged illegally served wine did we taste?

2018 Carte Blanc Chardonnay, Sonoma $39 ✰+

2018 Reserve Chardonnay Russian River Valley, Sonoma $42 ✰

2019 Barbera, California $53 ✰+

2014 Malbec Paso Robles Estate $54 ✰+

2016 Monte Smith Cabernet Sauvignon, Mendocino (a blend primarily Cabernet) $59 ✰+

2018 Cabernet Sauvignon Paso Robles estate $78 ✰+ +

If you’re a wine club member you’ll probably not receive your next shipment. Hold on to your wine, it may gain in value in the coming months as it becomes a hard to find bottle. We’re still digging for more info on this.

We’ll leave you with a quote from the Papa Hemingway himself, reinforcing our philosophy about wine. “Drinking wine was not a snobbism nor a sign of sophistication nor a cult; it was as natural as eating and to me as necessary.”

Touché Papa Hemingway, though we’ll be enjoying wine from other wineries as your wine may be a rare find in the future.

Some notes on our wine ranking system.

Bill & Erin Hodge write about California Wine, the estates & winemakers producing them and educational information about Vino. Living in California Wine Country provides a front row seat to the places you want to visit the most here in the Golden State.

– -✰  means -What’s next on your list of wines
-✰  means -Not liking it too much
✰ means  -We’ll drink this wine, especially if it’s hosted!
✰+ means -You’ve got our attention and we might buy this wine.
✰+ + means -We’re hooked and we’re going to buy this wine.
When you see -✰/✰+  with a slash, it means we disagree.

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