Business

Pipestone in Paso Robles was sold, but the wine label will continue

Jeff Pipes of Pipestone Vineyards and Winery in Paso Robles used a weighted tape measure in March 2013 to measure the depth of the groundwater in his vineyard.
Jeff Pipes of Pipestone Vineyards and Winery in Paso Robles used a weighted tape measure in March 2013 to measure the depth of the groundwater in his vineyard. jjohnston@thetribunenews.com

Pipestone Vineyards recently sold its west Paso Robles property, but the label will carry on, owner Jeff Pipes said.

The winery, begun by Pipes and his wife, Florence, in 1996, still has two vintages of Pipestone wine aging in barrels and is looking to start sourcing other westside fruit to carry them forward, he said.

The family will make future vintages at a custom crush facility and sell its wine mostly through its wine club, telephone and website sales, aiming to keep production at about 1,500 to 2,000 cases per year.

The Pipes sold their 28-acre property, including a winery, tasting room, residence and 8 acres of vines, to Clos Solène owners Guillaume and Solène Fabre in January for an undisclosed sum.

Pipes, a former environmental engineer and lawyer, said it’s getting harder to make a living running a small vineyard and winery without outside investment.

“We wanted to get away from the risk of farming it and making it and selling it,” Pipes said. Plus, he added, “it’s hard work, man.”

The Pipes used draft horses and sustainable methods to farm their 8 acres of mostly Rhône varietals themselves.

“We’re becoming more like a modern, virtual winery,” he said.

Sally Buffalo writes about wine, beer and spirits. Reach her at sallybuffalo@gmail.com or on Twitter @sallybuffalo.

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