wine

Wine has long been connected to religious practices and communities. The act of drinking wine is at the heart of many rituals and celebrations. But what about the spiritual lives of those who grow the grapes, tend the vines and create the wine that is enjoyed by many? The reverence that goes into making wine may be key to the elixirs magic. 

Can drinking wine deepen one's spiritual life and act as a surrogate for traditional religions? Host Elizabeth Barrett and her guest Dr. Stephen LLoyd-Moffett, professor of comparative religions and author of "The Spirit of Wine," discuss the rich history of wine.

San Luis Obispo’s wine history begins in the late 1700s when the Franciscans brought vines and winemaking from Spain to establish two of the most successful mission vineyards in California. Since that time, innovative and enterprising growers and winemakers have had a significant influence on the economy of California and wine culture world-wide. The Wine History Project of SLO County believes in actively engaging the public to educate and delight them in discovering this distinctive wine and food history.

Thirty years ago, the only Rhône grape most Americans knew about was Syrah. Then a French family and an American family together purchased some land west of Paso Robles, in the Adelaida wine district. They set out to import Rhône grape varieties to the Central Coast, with the aim to grow them using organic, dry farming and other sustainable methods. 

Tyler Pratt/KCBX News

Spencer Johnston is the chef/owner of Danior Kitchen, a catering company in San Luis Obispo. He recently launched at pop-up dinner series called the Turntable Supper Club, an intimate and curated food and wine experience. Johnston stopped by the KCBX studios with fellow chef A.J. LaRosa of the wood-fired catering company, Bear and the Wren, and Lannon Rust, owner of Rust Wine Company and former wine director of Thomas Hill Organics in Paso Robles, to talk about the region's access to incredible food products, the challenges of opening a restaurant on the Central Coast, and how they are doing things a little differently to bring food—and wine—to local consumers.

On this week's Issues and Ideas: Monday marks the transition from Jerry Brown to Gavin Newsom as California's next governor; we'll hear stories about "Brownisms" and Newsom promises. Tyler Pratt reports on a new California prison integration program has inmates' families worried for their safety. And Greta Mart attends a recent public forum on offshore wind energy and reports on how state and federal officials are taking public comment on locations proposed for offshore wind energy development—two of which are off San Luis Obispo County's coast. 

Playing With Food: The Spanish grape varietal

Nov 26, 2018
Fr. Ian Delinger

There is no doubting the Spanish influence on California. The indelible imprint of Junipero Serra and his Spanish missionaries is everywhere, including much of our Spanish-native flora. Yet, our wine industry is dominated by French grape varietals. But that is changing here on the Central Coast. Come along with Father Ian as he discovers more about the Spanish grape varietals.

Lodi, California Mayor Mark Chandler
Thomas Wilmer

Lodi, California’s Mayor Mark Chandler talks about Lodi’s 150-year history as a premier grape growing region. Chandler shares insights on “Lodi Rules” pioneering sustainable grape growing practices that became a national model, his roots at Cal Poly, water conservation and re-use, and moderating development.

KCBX News - Randol White

This week's heat wave hit during mid-harvest for many local wine-grape growers—one of the Central Coast's top crops.

Degher sold his recording studio in L.A. and retired in Paso Robles just after the turn of the millennium. By chance he made a batch of wine that turned out to be quite good. And his feel for winemaking comes from his musical instincts. He gives us an example in this interview.

John Flandrick / Flandricka Photography

Learn how variety makes the Central Coast the perfect place for a 31-year-old wine event. Marisa Waddell talks with Archie McLaren, founder and chairman of the Central Coast Wine Classic (Aug. 10-14, 2016), which raises thousands of dollars for area non-profits. The Wine Classic has recently expanded many of its events into Santa Barbara.

Karen Garcia, KCBX News

UPDATE: June 20, 2016

Sine we first published this story on Friday, June 17, 2016, additional restaurants have announced their plans to pull Justin wines from their menus. These include:

Still from Dronesey YouTube video

Controversy is growing over a vineyard-expansion project in the Paso Robles Wine Growing region.

The plan calls for the clear-cutting of an oak forest on land owned by Justin Vineyards. Much of the project has already been completed, but what remains currently on hold.

Alta Colina, Paso Robles - 2015

A new study shows San Luis Obispo County's wine industry helps generate $1.9 billion for the regional economy. 

Flickr member Sharon Mollerus

An annual look at the nation's wine industry was released on Thursday and says this year could show an unusual decline in consumption.

Alta Colina, Paso Robles - 2015

Winemakers on the Central Coast say the 2015 harvest started and ended early with a low yield. 

Flickr member Damian Gadal

New wineries in Santa Barbara County could face new rules if local leaders approve a list of proposed changes to the county's Winery Ordinance. 

KCBX News - Karen Garcia

California's agriculture sector is struggling as the state heads through a fourth year of drought. Water tables are shrinking and state water project allocations are at near record lows.

The Central Coast's two largest crops are strawberries and wine grapes. Vineyards do have the ability to go into survival mode during dry spells, but managing that period is a tricky and a scientific game.

ROH-blays or ROH-buhlz: How do you say wine country?

Apr 20, 2015
Randol White - KCBX News

ALSOAre you using the original pronunciation of this popular California tourist destination? 

Step into the J Lohr Winery tasting room and there's a good chance you'll meet up with Willis Rieser, or Willy as he's called by most. He deals with tourists from around the world, all day long, and he tells them the "grapes are coming from Paso Robles (said ROH-buhlz), from J Lohr."

Video Still: Santa Rita Hills Winegrowers Alliance

Wine Spectator is out with its Top 100 Wines list for 2014, including wines from producers wordwide, and only one California wine cracked the Top 10 this year.

Lompoc's Brewer-Clifton 2012 Pinot Noir Santa Rita Hills came in at No. 8.

One of the winery's founders, Greg Brewer, says when he found out about the ranking he was just as thrilled for the Lompoc area as he was for his winery.

Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance

Vintners in the Paso Robles Wine Growing Region will now get the chance to be far more specific on their labels as to where their grapes were grown. The Federal Government announced Thursday the creation of several new American Viticultural Areas (AVA).

The greater Paso Robles AVA will still be the headline regional signifier, but if at least 85-percent of the grapes come from within one of the eleven smaller zones, then that specific area can be signified on the label as well.

Robert Hall, Local Winery Founder, Passes Away

Oct 7, 2014
Robert Hall Winery website

Robert Hall, the founder of the Paso Robles winery that bears his name, passed away Saturday according to a letter to the media released Monday morning.

A winery spokesperson says the 85-year-old died peacefully at his home from complications related to an extended illness. Hall fell in love with the idea of winemaking during a trip to the South of France in the 1970s and eventually chose the Central Coast as the location for his vineyards and winery. His vision was realized when he began making wine in 2001.

He is survived by his wife Margaret and his three daughters.

Mesa Lane Partners

Santa Barbara's Funk Zone is a district just off of lower State Street between Highway 101 and the beach. It has gained attention in recent years because of its artsy mix of residents and businesses. However, some are worried that gentrification could ruin, the very essence that makes this neighborhood attractive. 

In August 2013, we aired a Funk Zone focus piece by KCBX reporter, Leslie Westbrook. This week she won a Lowell Thomas Travel Journalism award for the piece from the Society of American Travel Writers Foundation.

Allan Hancock College

The Santa Maria campus of Allan Hancock College is offering classes in winemaking, tasting, and a wide variety of ag-related wine curriculum this fall.

The winemaking classes will be held in the school's new Industrial Technology Complex with its state-of-the-art winemaking facility. It has more than 35,000 square feet of lab space. There will also be an online-only version of the class offered.

Professor Alfredo Koch says the expanded wine curriculum is attractive to students looking to continue a degree at Cal Poly, Fresno State, or U.C.Davis.

AvilaBeachPier.com

This summer, KCBX News is interviewing the people who run farmers markets throughout the Central Coast to learn what challenges and issues they're facing, including the ongoing drought.

We are also interested in new state laws that effect direct marketing events, like farmers markets.

Finally, it gives us all a chance to learn what's fresh and in season at the various markets from Soledad to Carpinteria.

Flickr member Sharon Mollerus

Wine Enthusiast Magazine is out with its annual list of the 100 best wine restaurants in the United States, and two Central Coast locations made the cut.

Les Marchands in Santa Barbara was selected for its blend of European and local wines showcasing small grower-producers "that make wine in a natural, noninterventionist style."

San Luis Obispo's Novo Restaurant made the list for its large selection of wines made within a 60 mile radius.

Jason Lopez

Not so long ago, the Paso Robles groundwater basin was thought to be practically limitless, at least by pro growth adherents. But times have changed, and this Central Coast wine growing region is now facing the most severe drought in recorded history. As might be expected, many are now looking for ways to protect the basin from further depletion, including a limit on further vineyard expansion.

Flickr member Dan'o

The Central Coast is well known for its award-winning wines, and in recent years, the Paso Robles region has become a favorite of wine critics.  

The area also faces challenges from drought and rapid growth.

Randol White shares insight into the many aspects of our local wine industry during his latest interview.

Information on the 32nd Paso Robles Wine Festival can be found at PasoWine.com

Steven Puglisi Architecture - San Luis Obispo

The City of Paso Robles is in the midst of a hotel boom with more properties before the planning department than at any time in the city's history.

Susan DiCarli is the Paso Robles Planning Manager and says while every hotel or resort property may not make it to fruition, the level of potential development is impressive.

April is 'Down to Earth' wine month in California

Apr 2, 2014
Wine Institute

Eco-friendly wines and winery events are featured this month as part of the Wine Institute's third-annual Down to Earth celebrations in California.

The month is aimed at bringing attention to the state's leadership in sustainable winegrowing and winemaking.

"Our California Sustainable Winegrowing Program leads the world in comprehensiveness and size with wineries and vineyards that produce nearly three-quarters of California’s wine grapes and wine participating,” said Bobby Koch, President and CEO of Wine Institute.

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