Business

5 new tasting rooms opening near Tin City in Paso Robles

Aaron Bergh is founder of Calwise, which plans to open a new distillery, tasting space and upstairs specialty bar in April in a 6,000-square-foot space in Tin County.
Aaron Bergh is founder of Calwise, which plans to open a new distillery, tasting space and upstairs specialty bar in April in a 6,000-square-foot space in Tin County.

A new tasting hub is taking shape along Ramada Drive in Paso Robles in a group of industrial buildings by the road leading to the Tin City tasting complex.

“I jokingly call it Tin County,” said Tyler Russell, owner and winemaker of Cordant and Nelle wines, which opened a tasting room at 3310 Ramada earlier this year.

Calwise Spirits Co., Seven Oxen Estate Wines and Anarchy Wine Co.—a new project by well-known winemaker Christian Tietje—are set to join Russell in coming months, along with another yet-to-be-announced tenant.

Tietje founded Four Vines, growing it into a national brand before selling, starting other labels and setting up shop in Paso with Cypher Winery. “Anarchy is coming,” announces the website for the new project, with a timer counting down days, hours, minutes and seconds.

Seven Oxen is preparing to move into its 3,800-square-foot space by the beginning of the year, consolidating its production and tasting room under one roof.

“We're thrilled to offer our guests a glimpse into our production and can't wait to host events including winemaker dinners and barrel tastings,” the winery said in an email announcing the move.

The estate winery, with a 26-acre vineyard in the hills of the Templeton Gap, has been making its boutique wine at Pacific Wine Services and pouring at the bar at Thomas Hill Organics in downtown Paso for the last couple years, where it will continue through the end of the year.

The move will allow Seven Oxen to further increase production, following a jump to 1,300 cases this vintage from between 400 and 850 cases each year since they began production in 2013, said General Manager Adriana Neal.

Neal said the design of the space will reflect the building’s industrial feel and the winery’s clean, simple branding.

“It will be bright, light, and airy,” Neal said, with photos of the vineyard on the walls “so our customers can visualize the place our grapes are grown while they're tasting the wines and experiencing the sights and smells of the wine making.”

Calwise — which started producing blonde and spiced rum and gin under the name Calivore Spirits — plans to debut a new distillery, tasting space and upstairs specialty bar in 6,000 square feet by April.

“We need a larger operation to keep up with our sales demand, and we also want to have a destination people can visit,” said founder Aaron Bergh. They plan to offer food as well as craft cocktails with fresh ingredients to complement their spirits.

Calwise2
Calwise plans to debut a new distillery, tasting space and upstairs specialty bar in April in a 6,000-square-foot space in Tin County.

“We want to create a tasting room where people can come to hang out with a refreshing drink or learn how they can make their own delicious libations when they buy and take a bottle home with them.”

Russell’s space embodies that hang-out vibe, with a couch, turntable spinning tunes and cool art from artists including Jim ApRoberts. There he pours his two labels: Cordant’s pinot noir and Rhône varietals from vineyards around the Central Coast and Nelle’s blends.

Bitten by the wine bug in his early 20s, Russell moved to Paso and learned winemaking through stints at Dover Canyon, Justin, Zenaida and Calcareous wineries, all while making his own wines on the side. He now produces about 1,600 cases with business partner David Taylor, which he hopes to grow with demand.

Russell expects the complex to draw more visitors once the other tasting rooms start opening, but doesn’t mind being just outside the increasingly busy Tin City neighborhood.

“We’ve got more parking and less rules,” he said.

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

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