Our First Wine Seminar Experience

Today, Thomas and I had the pleasure of attending our first wine seminar through an invitation from our friend and leisure travel consultant specializing in food and wine adventures, Lisa Baserga of AVA Wine Adventures, LLC. The seminar was presented by the Rhone Rangers, an organization dedicated to advancing the knowledge of Rhone grapes grown in the Paso Robles region and throughout the United States and was hosted at the Broken Earth Winery located in Paso Robles.

The day’s event included a 1-1/2 hour seminar, catered lunch, grand wine tasting and a silent auction. The seminar was moderated by Patrick Comiskey, Senior Contributor for Wine & Spirits Magazine, Principal Wine Columnist for the Los Angeles Times, and author of “American Rhone: How Maverick Winemakers Changed the way Americans Drink”.  The panel of speakers was composed of a team of 8 winemakers who have chosen the Rhone Ranger route in Paso Robles, and who are forging the area’s reputation as California’s “Rhone Zone”, the speakers included Paul Hoover, Still Waters Vineyards; Kevin Sass, Halter Ranch; Chris Eberle, Eberle Winery; Jeremy Leffert, Tooth and Nail Winery; Carl Bowker, Caliza Winery; Damian Grindley, Brecon Estate; Terry Hoage, TH Estate; and Jeremy Weintraub, Adelaida Vineyards & Winery.

As a novice vineyard owner and babe to the wine industry, I found the seminar to be professionally organized, informative, and although there was well over 100 people in attendance, the venue felt intimate and the winemakers were accessible, friendly and willing to answer questions. The information the winemakers shared certainly gave me an education, especially about many varieties of grapes that I was not familiar with. I enjoyed the way they set up the table with a placemat labeled with each winemaker’s wine sample so that as each winemaker presented their wine, you could experience the wine as they spoke about it.

Each table was headed by a winemaker and I had the privilege to be sitting With Jason Hass of Tablas Creek Vineyard and founder of the Rhone Rangers Paso Robles Chapter.  Jason was named the 2015 Paso Robles Wine Industry Person of the Year for his outstanding contributions toward the success of the Paso Robles wine industry.

Jason presented a not-yet-released 2017 Barrel-Sample Rosè called Dianthus, that I truly enjoyed as well as one of his exclusive vintage bottles, 2003 Panoplie, which he described as the best-of-the-best. It was a real treat and well enjoyed along with a gourmet buffet-style luncheon.

After the lunch, we were able to visit with all the attending winemakers who were pouring their wine and enjoy some one-on-one time with them. There were several nice silent auction items up for bid, some baskets containing wine, apparel and more; some were providing private tours of the winery, along with hotel stays and wine tours in vintage cars. I tried my hand at a few items but it seemed that I was always quickly outbid.

This was a very pleasant experience with an educational edge for me and I now look forward to visiting many of the wineries that were represented there.

The Aftermath

I want to again thank Lisa Baserga (AVA Wine Adventures, LLC) who made this day possible. Lisa is an experienced travel consultant specializing in food and wine adventures throughout the world. Please visit her site for more information on how she can create your own personalized wine adventure. www.departurelounge.com/travel-advisors/lisa-baserga

 

James Dean’s Memorial

 

 

James Dean was a popular actor in the 1950’s who is remembered as a cultural icon for his Hollywood movie roles. He became a legend of sorts after his life came to a very untimely and tragic death at the early age of 24 when he died in a car accident at the intersection of Hwy 46 and Hwy 41 in Central California near Paso Robles. I was always told that there was a memorial for him but thinking it was on the West side of Hwy 46 from the 101 freeway, I could never find it.

Today I discovered the memorial site while traveling on Hwy 41 (East of Hwy 101), cutting across from Interstate 5. The memorial site is just a short distance from the actual crash site (the intersection of Hwy 41 and Hwy 46) where you will see an American flag on a chain link fence and his adoring fans still bring flowers 60 years after his death.

The memorial structure honoring James Dean stands on Hwy 41 located next to the Jack Ranch Cafe and adjacent Hearst Winery tasting room.

 

The Jack Ranch Cafe seems to be frozen in a time capsule with its retro decor and, as expected, the walls are flanked with images of James Dean and they sell some memorabilia, but the pleasant surprise was that they have quite an extensive menu and the food was good. The Hearst Winery tasting room is adjacent to the cafe and a nice way to cap off the visit.

 

So for any James Dean fans out there who might want to visit his memorial and pay tribute to him, I would recommend a stop here and, while you’re there, grab a bite to eat and taste some wine! Cheers!
Address:
James Dean Memorial / Jack Ranch Cafe
19215 CA-46, Shandon, CA 93461