Pear Valley – The Spicy Side of Paso Robles

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The Drier Side of Paso Robles’ Bottles of Wine The winemaker at Pear Valley Winery must be a big fan of peppery wine, and his bottles of wine showcase the peppery dry side of Paso Robles.  If you’re looking for spice and pepper, make sure this is a stop on your wine journey through the […]

Glunz Family Winery – Paso Robles

These Bottles of Wine Started With a Few Beers

Many wine aficionados dream of becoming winemakers, purveyors of grape and bottles of wine. The Brothers Glunz have become just that, wine makers in Paso Robles.

Brothers Steve and Matt, descendents of Chicago beer brewers, purchased the former Chumeia Vineyards with their 10 brothers & sisters, extending the family’s business from beer to wine, naming it Glunz Family Winery & Cellars.

The Brothers Glunz

The Brothers Glunz

The folks at Tobin James recommended this winery, as Glunz is located immediately west of the Tobin James facility (east side of town on Highway 46.) There’s not a lot to it, a gravel parking lot, a small bar in their production facility.

Lining the entry wall are many pictures of their great-grandfather (the patriarch of the brewery and distributor) as he grew up, including a photograph of him as a young barefoot boy in front of a horse-drawn wagon. The family also produces wine in Grayslake, Illinois.

Brother Steve took us deep into their production facility to sample their reserve 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon from a barrel. It was a nice soft version. He also shared some of their barreled reserve Zinfandel, again tasty.

Here are our tastings.

2013 Whispers Pinot Noir $22 ✰/✰+
2012 Adelheid’s Grenache $20 ✰+/✰
2012 Bunzer’s Blend Zinfendal $20 ✰/✰+
2012 B the B Syrah $20 ✰/✰+
2013 Barrel aging Cabernet Savignon ✰+
2013 Barrel aging Zinfandel ✰+

They charge no tasting fee and staff the bar on their own. It’s well worth stopping here and tasting their bottles of wine. The true test of a purchased bottle of wine is how tastey it is at home, away from the winery. We enjoyed one of their bottles with dinner the other night and it was as good as we remembered. The Brothers Glunz have a long way to go, but with their beer distribution background we’ll bet they find success.

Bill Hodge & Erin O’Neill-Hodge enjoy a good bottle of wine, visiting and enjoying California wineries from Lake County to Orange County, from the Paso Robles Gold Coast to Gold Country and from Lodi to Temecula.

Some notes on our wine ranking system.

– -✰ 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 our opinions differ.

Bottle of Wine From Eos Estates- They Finally Define An Identity

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The winemakers in the Paso Robles AVA make a great bottle of wine, and we’ve not written about them much even though it’s a favorite place for us to sample California wine. Since it is wine club delivery season, we’ll review one of the wineries in this area, Eos Estates, whose shipment just arrived. Eos […]

Tasting Wine Vs. Drinking Wine – What Do You Prefer at a Winery?

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“Just a single taste for us, we are tasting, not drinking.” While visiting California wineries we find ourselves saying this constantly. While my wife sips, and then disposes of her wine, I prefer to spit my wine so that I might continue on with the art of tasting.  When we visit, is it wine tasting? […]

Tobin James wines continue to satisfy


Tobin James again shows they’re for making great wines and great times. We stopped in there on our way to Monterey and visited on New Year’s Day. Thankfully they were open and we sampled a wide variety of great wines from,  Sangiovese (Primo) to Zinfandel (Ballistic) to their Petite Sarah (Black Magic – formerly known as Bodacious.) As well, we gave a Star ++ to their Zin Fat Boy and as well their Barbera – Bella Bella. We continue to enjoy most of their wines, and their wine tasting facility. You should too, it’s a must visit on any Paso Robles trip.

Taste Palete of the Female Winemaker

California is full of men creating wine.

Winemaking males have created their product in California for over two centuries. Because of the brute strength it takes to plant, grow and manage a vineyard for creating wine, we see male winemakers everywhere we go from Temecula through Santa Barbara on it into the Foxen Canyon to Monterey on into Northern California.

New Information:
Since this was written in 2012 Derby Wine Estates moved and is now located in Historic Almond Growers building at 525 Riverside Ave. in Paso Robles.

During our last visit to Paso Robles the local media reported on two women creating wine in the area and we thought to ourselves, “What does a female winemaker’s taste palate want to create?”

Tiffinee Vierra and Janell Dusi both create wine in a male-dominated industry. Ms. Dusi’s Wine is not available in any standalone tasting room (it’s available in the downtown Paso Robles wine center.) However, Ms. Vierra’s wine is available in a small tasting room on the Highway 46 corridor through Paso Robles, so we visited there. Derby Wine Estates tasting room is a temporary trailer located at 5620 Highway 46 directly across from Broken Earth Vineyards (The old Eos Winery.)

I was expecting a soft wine palete, expecting not to see any big  tannic acid reds. And, that’s exactly what we found. She creates a full line of five white wines and six reds, included in this grouping are two Rhone wines.

Here’s the rundown on her wine and our rankings (we didn’t taste all wines):

2008 Pinot Gris
✰   2008 Pinot Noir
2007 Reserve Pinot Noir
2007 Sparkling Brut Rose
2008 Fifteen 10 White Rhone blend (Viognier, Roussanne & Marsanne)

+ 2007 Fifteen 10 Red Rhone (Syarah, Grenache & Mourvedre)
+ 2007 Zinfandel
+  2006 Implico (Cab, Merlot, Cab Franc & Petit Verdot)
✰  2007 Petite Sirah
2006 De Facto Port

We purchased three bottles of wine here, the Red Rhone, Zinfandel  at $28 each and the Implico. We recommend you explore her wine and compare it to the other wonderful wines of Paso Robles. If you like softer wines this is the place to go. Her pricing ranges from $20 for the Pinot Gris’s and as high as $54 for her Sparkling Brut Rose and produces anywhere from 98 and 847 cases of her wines.

Notes on Our Wine Ranking SystemWe use a very simple way of ranking wines. We do this with a ✰ system so that no wine maker is ever insulted by our note taking. A ✰ means the wine is good, we have no problem drinking this wine anywhere (specially at a party when the wine might be hosted.) When you see a minus sign before the ✰ we’re not liking it too much.

The exciting part is when you see pluses after the ✰. A ✰ + Means you’ve got our attention and we might buy this wine. A ✰ ++ Means we’re hooked and were going to buy this wine. Our codes are listed below.

– –  means -What’s next on your list of wines
  means -Not liking it too much
means  -We’ll drink this wine, expecially 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.