Wine Tasting at Eberle Winery in Paso Robles, California

by Pamela Hamilton on 02/14/2011, 04:42 PM

Categories: PAMELA'S POSTS
Tags: wine , caves , wine country rv , paso robles , wine tasting , tours , eberle wine , vineyard , grapes , fermintation , penn state football , lsu , uc davis

While I'm not a wine drinker, (non-alcoholic wine only)  it was a lot of fun visiting the Eberle Winery in Paso Robles, right next door to were we are staying at Wine Country RV.   I really didn't know what to expect, I've never been to a winery or a wine tasting before but I was surprised by the number of people there and people who brought their kids!

The winery sits on top of a hill that overlooks the vineyard...rows and rows of grape vines as far as you can see. It's a beautiful sunny day with temps in the 70's so there's a lot of people at the outside tasting bar, some sitting on the patio and others with an Eberle's picnic lunch on a blanket on the grass.  It's a gorgeous sight.

Inside we meet Marcy Eberle.  She and her husband, Gary, own this winery and its vineyards.  We were shown over to where Gary was sitting next to a fireplace signing bottles of his wine.  Over the fireplace was a wild bore's head and I had noticed a huge metal bore sculpture outside so the first thing I ask is, "what's with the bore?"  Gary introduces me to George.  George the wild bore.  He says that in old German, Eberle means small bore.   It's almost like a game of hide and seek, seeing if you can pick out all the images of George around the place.   There's even a bore fountain.  It is considered good luck to rub the boar's nose and toss a coin in the water below.   By the way, all money collected at the Eberle boar fountain is donated to local children's charities.

Now, Gary is a big guy.  Tall, robust and a strong, deep voice.  As he tells his story about how he got into the winery business, we find out that he played on the defensive line (football)  for Penn State under legendary coach Joe Paterno.  I can't even imagine how scary he must have been with his pads and helmet on!   His  jersey and other football momentos are hanging over the inside wine tasting bar.   After Penn State, Gary went to LSU to get his masters where he says he was introduced to fine wine and right there and then, he decided to pursue a life of making wine.  After researching the best place to hone his craft, he attended the University of California, Davis to get his PhD. in wine making.

Eberle is one of the few wineries that not only has free wine tasting, but its one of the few remaining that also give a free tour of the facility.  A host begins tours every half hour, seven days a week.    First stop is the crushing station.  All the grapes at Eberle are hand picked so as not to damage the grapes or lose any of their juices.    Next the settling tanks where the grape skins and other solids fall to the bottom and the juice at the top is clear.

Next on the tour is to go into the 16,000 square feet of underground caves.  This is where we see that the grape's juice has been removed from the tanks and poured into barrels where the aging process continues.  Some of the barrels have already been there for several years. I get a kick out of everyone knocking on the barrels to see if they are full or not, I resisted.   It's just not barrels  we find in the caves.... 

The caves also create the perfect romantic place for the 100-seat Wild Boar Room where they have monthly Guest Chef Dinners and Private Events.   Halloween is the locals favorite to celebrate down here!

The day we visited, a guest chef was preparing a romantic Valentine's dinner.   It's absolutely gorgeous in person.  Sorry my camera doesn't catch the ambiance of this room.

There's also a VIP wine tasting room.  Here you can enjoy a private wine tasting in the coolness of the cavern.   Our tour guide also told us about the wine barrels and the different tastes that the different types of barrels give to the wine.   Barrels come from all over the world, are very expensive and can be used only several years.   You can see the different kinds of barrel panels on the counter by the table.

Eberle Wine has collected over 400 ribbons and accolades in Gold and above.  Only about 55,000 bottles are made each year so it is considered to be a boutique wine.    While I wasn't a taster, the wine must have been very good because those who did enjoy the many varieties offered, were buying cases to take home.

As for RVer's, Gary says we're always welcome.  There's plenty of room for your rig and turning around.  He even says that if you've tasted too much, you're welcome to spend the night and dry camp in the parking lot! 

To get there, head east four miles on highway 46 off highway 101 in Paso Robles, California.
Tell Gary that RV Dream sent you...