A Change of Season

It’s Spring. A cool breeze blows through the olive tree branches as I prune them. I stop and let the breeze brush across my face as I listen to the faint voices and laughter from a field crew working in the vineyard next door, their joy makes me smile. I feel content.

This lifestyle is new to me. My husband and I have recently retired from our respective jobs in the busy San Francisco Bay Area. We are fortunate, we were able to retire fairly young, in our mid-fifties. After searching for several years for the perfect retirement location, we end up in California’s Central Coast ~ Paso Robles, or as my husband likes to refer to it by its official name, El Paso de Robles. This area is growing into a beautiful wine country region and we’re happy to have settled here while it is still accessible and affordable.

This location is a perfect compromise between what we both wanted. For me: the California lifestyle, still close to the beach, and located in between the Bay Area and Los Angeles where we have both family and friends. For him: 10 acres of land where he can spread his wings and putter around all day long.

We’re two months into this journey and so far we are thrilled. The move to this area has exceeded our expectations. We have met many nice people and feel very welcomed into a community where we had no ties.

The 10-acre ranch will keep us busy for quite awhile as we go through some renovations inside the home and clear brush and landscape around the property…but what else do we have to do, right? Nothing but time.

Today, I pruned some of the 50 olive trees we have on the property, as I have already finished pruning the 1-acre Petit Sirah vineyard a few weeks ago. We don’t really know what we’re doing but we’re having fun learning the process. So we settle into a change of season, both literally and figuratively as we shift ourselves into a new lifestyle and journey in life.

 

 

 

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

 

A New Year, A New Life!

Hello and welcome to Rover Hill Ranch. We are a retired couple who purchased a 10+ acre gentleman’s ranch in the Paso Robles Wine Region of California’s Central Coast.

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In December 2017, we closed on our retirement dream home that we had been searching years for. It was quite a journey to get to this point but after much exploratory travel to numerous locations throughout the Western U.S., many compromises between husband and wife, a few ups and downs such as having to find a new agent mid-stream and losing out on a home we thought we so desperately wanted, and a lot of praying for guidance…our perfect home revealed itself. In January 2018, we moved into our home.

January also marked our new life into retirement…and therefore, a new year brings a new life for us. We will be documenting our journey through the ranch renovations, our explorations and discoveries in the Central Coast region, and everything else that comes along with this so-called retired life.

We named our ranch Rover Hill Ranch after our furry Rovers (two German Shepherds) and after the definition of the word Rover – ro•ver (a person who spends their time wandering) because it is our intention to enjoy some travel adventures throughout our retirement.

We hope you join us as our story unfolds and share your journey and stories as well. We encourage everyone to go out there and live your best life.

Susan + Thomas