Paso Robles' Villicana Winery now making vodka, gin

Villicana Winery has opened a new side business, Paso Robles Craft Distilling, to use wine grapes to create vodka and gin.

The new business plans to debut the first bottles of its handcrafted vodka on Feb. 14. At an estimated $38 a bottle, the product will be available at local bars and retailers, but not sold at the Adelaida Road winery.

Gin bottling is set to follow in late April. Annual production for both at the micro-distillery is set for 600 to 1,000 cases total to start, owners Alex and Monica Villicana said.

The couple said they had long wanted to use their grape byproducts instead of tossing them aside.

And they’re not alone. Other local wineries, such as Grey Wolf Cellars and Silver Horse Winery, are also dabbling in plans for distilled spirits.