Wine & Beer

Can shipping containers be a vacation getaway? This Paso winery wants to make it happen

A rendering of Geneso Inn at Cass Vineyard & Winery. The design of the beams has changed since this initial rendering, Steve Cass said.
A rendering of Geneso Inn at Cass Vineyard & Winery. The design of the beams has changed since this initial rendering, Steve Cass said.

They won 2018 Central Coast Wine Competition’s Winery of the Year award, now they are building an on-site bed and breakfast — with a twist.

Cass Vineyard & Winery is constructing a new guest stay, Geneseo Inn, out of recycled steel shipping containers.

The inn is the first of its kind in Paso Robles, with the eight suites sitting 8 feet above ground level on red iron beams overlooking the vineyards, winery owner Steve Cass said.

The inn is slated to open spring 2019.

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Seven of the suites are composed of two 8-by-20-feet steel containers, and the eighth is a “family suite” that uses three. Parking will be available under each suite.

Cass said the suites will have a modern contemporary style, with floor-to-ceiling windows to maximize the view of the vineyard and chef’s garden.

“Its hard to tell it used to be a container,” Cass said.

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A rendering of Geneseo Inn. Cass Vineyards & Winery

Not only will the suites be unique, but Cass said he has challenged his chef and kitchen staff to create a one-of-a-kind menu for the inn.

“We want people to leave the unit thinking they’ve never had an experience like that before,” Cass said.

The winery owner began conceptualizing the “wow-factor” project in 2014, but had to work through years of planning.

Now, the winery is nearing the final permits necessary to begin construction on site, but they have already begun retrofitting the containers, which are expected to be finished by December, Cass said.

Cass said he will likely open the inn to wine club members exclusively for the first 30 to 40 days and ask that they report on how the inn can improve, in a trial run of sorts. He hopes to have the soft opening April 1 for wine club members and an official opening in May.

Steinbeck Vineyards & Winery on Union Road in Paso Robles has offered vintage Jeep tours of its extensive Paso Robles property since 2003. In this 2009 video, Cindy Steinbeck Newkirk drives a 1958 Willy's Jeep over the bumpy roads.

Once the inn is closer to completion, they will begin taking reservations.

The inn’s opening will coincide with the opening of Cass’ new Barrel Room, a storage space that will double as an event venue. The new barrel storage was necessary for the growing winery and is already under construction, Cass said.

“We are a 10,000-case winery, and we are just totally out of space; I don’t think we could store 10,001 barrels right now (in the current space),” Cass said.

Cass said the new building will not only be able to store more of their wine, but also comfortably seat 200 people for events or weddings. The building also will have a commercial kitchen for those occasions.

For more information and updates on the Genesso Inn, visit casswines.com.

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