Owners of Paso Robles' Daou Vineyards buy Twilight Cellars

jlynem@thetribunenews.comJanuary 8, 2013 

The owners of Daou Vineyards & Winery in Paso Robles have bought neighboring Twilight Cellars, a small winery with historical significance.

Brothers Georges and Daniel Daou recently purchased 112 acres of the old Hoffman Mountain Ranch Winery property in western Paso Robles for an undisclosed sum. The Daous already have 60 acres of grapes planted on the existing 100 acres they purchased in 2007 for their mountaintop winery in the Adelaida district. They plan to plant 60 more acres on the newly acquired, adjacent property off Hidden Mountain Road, which has the same limestone soil and other characteristics that make their property unique, Georges Daou said.

“We are a very small winery, and we will always be a very small winery, but in order for us to be able to keep up with our customer demand, over the next 10 to 15 years, we must have over 200 acres planted,” George Daou said. “We have set out to buy as much land as possible in the vicinity.”

Georges Daou said a big influence is the Shafer family in Napa Valley. The Shafers, Daou said, have more than 200 acres of their own fruit, which they use to produce premium wines.

With the purchase, Georges Daou said he and his brother, who come from a family of French farmers and emigrated to the United States in the 1980s, will be able to farm the entire mountain, create a better product “because we have more to pick from to get the best fruit,” and give current wine club members more privileges, which will be announced in the first quarter of this year. Daou Vineyards produces a variety of eclectic wines, including Bordeaux varieties, zinfandel and Rhône blends.

The former Twilight Cellars property was also attractive, the Daous said, because of its storied past, having been originally owned by local wine pioneer Dr. Stanley Hoffman, who along with renowned winemaker Andre Tchelistcheff, established the winery in the early 1960s.

Daniel Daou said the property had been for sale for about three years by a family from Wisconsin, who wanted to leave the area. A Twilight Cellars website listed Richard and Aurora Gumerman as the previous owners. The Gumermans announced the tasting room closure last year and said they were moving to the Santa Cruz Mountains.

“They dropped the price, and we thought it was too good to miss,” Daniel Daou said.

The Daous will embark on a total renovation and rehabilitation of the winery, including a few buildings and barns on the property. The renovation, which will retain the charm and character of the original winery, should be done by the next harvest, Daniel Daou said. The brothers declined to disclose the cost of the renovation.

“We’re investing money into it, but the money is not the thing,” Daniel said. “It’s really a labor of love. We’ve received three phone calls from neighbors thanking us for purchasing this property, cleaning it up and renovating its history.”

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