Business

Winery first on coast in 20 years

When Stolo Family Winery’s tasting room welcomes its first visitors in September, it will be the first new winery, tasting room and vineyard to open along the California coast in more than 20 years, family members say.

Currently, Harmony Cellars in Harmony is the only North Coast winery with an on-site sales and tasting facility.

The Stolo winery is two miles east of Cambria on Santa Rosa Creek Road, about a mile from Coast Union High School. Historic buildings — including a restored farmhouse at the base of a 9-acre estate vineyard, an old dairy barn and ranch-hand quarters — date back to the late 1800s.

Getting approval for the winery was difficult. It was a five year process to get an application through the California Coastal Commission. Owner Don Stolo made several design changes, and commissioners approved the final plan in April 2010.

The Prian family planted the vines in 1998 on their 53.3-acre property, then called the Dos Cruces Ranch. It was an unusual move because the ranch was close to the ocean. The Prians sold the ranch to the Stolos in 2002.

The vineyard now produces rare, coastal style pinot noir, chardonnay and syrah grapes. The winery’s handcrafted boutique wines have won awards in San Francisco, Monterey, Los Angeles and Orange County.

The tasting room may not be open, but grapes from the vineyard already are making an impression.

In 2008, San Francisco Chronicle wine editor Jon Bonne wrote that he recently discovered the vineyard and said, “I first saw the vineyards in mid-2007, tasted the wine later that year, and didn’t put the two together until this spring, when I was dazzled again by its potential. It gives new meaning to the second word in Central Coast.”

“Our family loves Cambria,” owner Don Stolo said in a news release. “We are excited to become a new part of what makes this town a special place.” For more information, go to www.stolofamilywinery.com or on Facebook at Facebook.com/stolofamilywinery.

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