Tablas Creek Vineyard of Paso Robles took the top spot – and four other local wineries were recognized – on The Daily Meal’s List of 101 Best Wineries in America for 2015. The list, which spotlights the wine rather than the aesthetics of the winery, selected wineries based on input from a panel of sommeliers, wine writers, chefs and restaurateurs. About two-thirds of the wineries listed were Californian. Tablas Creek Vineyard, located at 9339 Adelaida Road in Paso Robles, was recognized for its leadership in the use of Rhône varietals in the Paso Robles region, in fighting for approval of 11 sub-districts in the area and advancing sustainable and biodynamic vineyard practices throughout California. Four other local wineries were also recognized on The Daily Meal’s list:
- Talley Vineyards of Arroyo Grande was recognized as No. 31 for its highly acclaimed chardonnay and pinot noir as well as its embodiment of family winemaking.
- Peachy Canyon Winery of Paso Robles was named No. 48 for its varied range of strong red wines, particularly its zinfandel and syrah.
- Saxum of Paso Robles, ranked 51, produces 4,000 to 5,000 cases of red Rhône varietals annually -- grenache, mourvèdre and syrah -- both single varietals and blends.
- Hope Family Wines of Paso Robles, which ranked 99, offers everything from Rhône-style wines to chardonnay from a group of labels that includes Candor, Troublemaker, Austin Hope, Treana and Liberty School.
To create the list, wineries were nominated by experts in the field. The Daily Meal factored in their own tasting notes of recent vintages and consulted leading wine publications and newsletters, as well as recent awards from competitions.
In addition, innovation, unique growing regions, influence and value were taken into consideration. Tablas Creek Vineyard is owned by wine importer Robert Haas and the Perrin family of Château de Beaucastel. The families created a partnership in 1985, and four years later purchased the 120-acre property. The organic estate vineyard uses biodynamic techniques, including a herd of sheep, alpacas and donkeys that eat the winter cover crop, fertilize the vineyard with their manure and mix it into the soil with their hooves. The winery produces between 25,000 and 30,000 cases of wine a year. Weeks after the list was announced, Tablas Creek Vineyard Partner and General Manager Jason Haas said traffic in the wineries’ tasting room has increased 30 percent from the same time last year. While some visitors were from outside the area and visited the winery as a result of its top ranking on the Daily Meal list, Jason Haas said much of the traffic has been local residents who heard about the ranking but hadn’t yet visited the tasting room. While it’s too early to see an impact on the wineries’ commercial sales or whether more venues will look to feature its wines, Hass said that distributors have been placing additional inquiries, wanting tools to talk about the wines with customers. Moreover, Jason Haas said, “It was great to see Paso get the attention it got; three of the top four (wineries on the list) are Central Coast wineries. Anything we can do to be a part of that and help focus attention on the great wine community that’s here is a great long-term thing.”