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4 Boutique Wineries Small On Production, Big On Flavor

Savvy wine drinkers know: “small” is often mighty. The following boutique wineries may produce less output than their larger counterparts, but the resulting levels of flavor, quality, and character are too big to ignore. Scaled-down operations not only allow for more hands-on winemaking and an attention to detail you can see, smell, and taste. Chance are, you’ll also run into the winemaker/owner/vineyard manager right there in the tasting room! These hand-crafted wines are truly as rare and unique as a work of art…which makes it all the more difficult to store them away in your wine cellar. Whether you plan to age them, drink them, or gift them, get your hands on these artisanal offerings now—while supplies last!

1. Michael Gill Cellars


Located on Paso Robles’ famed westside, Michael Gill Cellars enjoys mountainous terroir, calcareous soil, and varied sun exposure, making for the perfect environment to grow a range of elegant Rhône varietals. This boutique winery is small, yet drips with larger-than life style you’ll experience the moment you walk through the front door. Inspired by illustrious French hunting lodges, vintner Michael Gill has decked out his tasting room in bygone treasures reminiscent of a classical painting. The wines—of course—are just as inviting.

BUY-THE-WINE_ButtonTry: The winery’s 2013 Michael Gill Cellars Oso Blanco Vermentino won double gold at the recent 2015 Florida State International Wine Competition for a reason. With apricot and white peach on the nose and vanilla/Mandarin orange flavor throughout, this thick luscious white pairs beautifully with Thai food or on its own (FYI: only about 140 cases were produced).

2. Lusso Della Terra


Want small-lot/high quality? This is the dream and mission behind the Italian-style wines at Lusso Della Terra, which features a swanky tasting room located in downtown Paso Robles. Sink back into a comfy leather couch and sip on hand-crafted, ultra-premium wines that reflect a limited supply of top shelf fruit sourced from Paso Robles and Sonoma regions. When partners Edward Cholakain and Megan Van Hook named their winery after the Italian phrase “luxury of the land,” it wasn’t a coincidence.

BUY-THE-WINE_ButtonTry: A Central Coast Wine Competition Gold Medal winner, this 2011 Lusso Della Terra Sangiovese is a dark cherry red color bursting with aromas of chocolate, malt, spice and notes of deep plum goodness. At once creamy and structured, this wine is “luxury” in a bottle.

3. Hug Cellars

Hug-Cellars_Wine-Corks_Paso-RoblesWith the retirement of winery founders Augie and Raquel, Hug Cellars has been handed over to the very capable hands of Edgar Torres of Bodega de Edgar. Not only was Edgar a close friend of the Hugs, he also shared winery space and worked alongside them for years. Edgar shares their passion of pouring heart and soul into making incredible vineyard-specific wines (location is everything). Spanning everything from refined Santa Maria Valley Pinot Noir to bold Paso Robles-grown Mourvedre, these wines are artfully crafted with a keen eye on terroir. Stop into Hug Cellars’ tasting room located off 46 East and taste for yourself. It’s like going on a trip of the best wine regions in California without stepping a foot out of Paso Robles.

BUY-THE-WINE_ButtonTry: Only 65 cases were produced of Hug Cellars’ 2011 Derbyshire San Luis Obispo Pinot Noir, a beautiful reflection of San Simeon-grown grapes. With fresh strawberry and rounded tannins, this is an easy sipping wine as seamless as lapping coastal waves.

4. Hammersky Vineyards


With limited production Bordeaux wines and a charming tasting room located on a 100-plus-year-old estate, Hammersky Vineyards’ westside winery is the whole boutique package rolled into one. Although Douglas and Kim Hauck were enchanted by the property’s romantic farm house and sweeping views, they knew the vineyard was the true heart of their story. Combining temperate Templeton gap weather, uncompromising vineyard practices, and purposeful low yields, these small lot wines are rich and true to character. What more could you ask for in a wine (or a wedding venue)?

BUY-THE-WINE_ButtonTry: With a name like “Limited Resource,” every drop of this silky Hammersky Vineyards 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon is worth coveting. Doug’s pride and joy, this wine comes from selected estate fruit and boasts a crisp clean nose full of red fruit and vanilla. The mouthfeel is rich and full, with complex flavors of black raspberry, cinnamon, and earth. A true Paso Robles Cab, age it for five years or pop the cork immediately. I’d choose the latter, but I’m bad!

This blog was written by Hayley Thomas, food and wine writer for New Times and You can reach her at [email protected]

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