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Beaverstock to Whale Rock: Why the name change?

By now, I’m sure most of you have heard about the “cease and desist” order we received from Woodstock asking us to stop using the name, logo etc for our festival “Beaverstock.” Upon receiving the notice we were bummed but we weren’t completely shocked as we had a feeling something like this may happen eventually. We have put so much heart and soul into Beaverstock and its development over the past 4 years and our biggest fear was changing the name could set us back or give the impression that something drastic had changed about the event, which is NOT the case.


After many discussions with our lawyer and amongst ourselves we decided not to fight the order and to pursue a new name. Many of you have written us asking us why we aren’t fighting it etc and the best answer I can give is that fighting the name is a costly endeavor win or lose and the purpose of our festival is to raise money for our local community. Spending that money fighting the name change just didn’t seem like it aligned with our mission.

Having said that, we decided to change the name to “Whale Rock Music & Arts Festival” as the festival takes place in the heart of our beloved Whale Rock Vineyard & Ranch. The ranch got its name from the plethora of petrified whale bones scattered throughout the property that date back millions of years to a time when Templeton was under the ocean! The vineyard is also the site of our very popular Whale Rock Disc Golf Course.

We know many of you loved the “Beaverstock” name and may continue to use it, we only ask moving forward for your support and help getting the word out about the change. Nothing about the festival is changing aside from the name and 2017 is looking to be the best one yet! Tell your friends what you know and come help us keep the Whale Rock Music & Arts Festival alive for years to come!



2017 here we come!

With 2016 in the bag, we’ve got a lot to be thankful for and a lot to reflect on! 2016 was a crazy year around the world and also a great year. For starters, Lauren and I got married, which is pretty dang cool if you ask me! It was also a great year for Castoro, Beaverstock and Bethel Rd. Distillery.


Our winemaking team has continued to produce award winning wines including the recently awarded Zinfusion (Gold at the SF Chronicle Wine Comp) and Viognier Reserve (Double Gold at the SF Chronicle Wine Comp). Even after 30 plus years our wines continue to get better and better as do our vineyards and vineyard practices. In the past year, for example, we experienced great results from our newly converted Biodynamic vineyard blocks and thus we will be converting more acreage to Biodynamic.

In terms of rain, 2016 did not turn out to be the epic rain year that was projected but we were able to manage and luckily nothing too drastic or devastating happened weather wise to negatively impact the harvest. 2017, on the other hand, is turning out to be a very wet year so far and we can only hope it keeps on coming. We have had well over 10 inches to date with more projected through next week. As a result, it’s incredibly green on the Central Coast and we are dust free!


Bethel Rd. Distillery is continuing to progress with a projected “appointment only” opening coming this winter. We have a lot of work to do on the property but we now have three spirits in bottle and a lot more in the works. On top of that, the space is really gorgeous and something we are very excited to share with you all. If you’d like to follow the progress, please follow us on Instagram @bethelrddistillery or on facebook for updates.

Another highlight of 2016 was Beaverstock, which turned out to be our biggest yet and most established. The event has really come to life over the last 4 years and it has been amazing watching the community come together and enjoy the festivities. Most importantly, we were able to raise $18,000 for the Templeton High School Band which will directly benefit the High School music program. Beaverstock 2017 is currently in the works and something tells me it is going to be another incredible year that you will not want to miss out on!

In terms of other Castoro experiences our Yoga and Disc Golf programs have continued to blossom and garner attention from all over the country. Epicure and Culture recently named our Yoga and Brunch series a Top 10 Yoga experience around the world and our disc golf course has been visited by players from all over the country, including professionals (yes there are professional disc golfers)!

As always, we hope to see you this year and please check our website for event updates, new releases etc as there is always something new happening at Castoro!







Beaverstock Barn Sessions are here!!

The 2016 Beaverstock “Barn Sessions” are here and we could not be happier to share the magic of these sessions with you all! We are so fortunate to have such amazing local musicians here on the Central Coast and we are even more fortunate to have all of these artists performing at Beaverstock 2016!

Two years ago I started this series with my buddy Dustin Wise and we have truly come a long ways! The sessions started out with one camera, one microphone and a very simple concept. We wanted to capture our local artists performing their wonderful music in a live, stripped down, raw setting. We learned a lot the first two years and most importantly we learned that doing this is something we love. We’ve made great friends at these sessions and have captured some truly amazing moments.



This year we could not be more proud of what we have put together and we hope you enjoy these candid sessions. The 2016 sessions feature multiple camera angles and professional studio quality audio. We were fortunate enough to pick up an endorsement from AKG microphones, which we use exclusively in these videos, and wow do they sound fantastic! Our very own Sam Jacobs took on the task of audio engineer and did a great job editing and mixing these sessions.

It is our hope you take some time to sit back and enjoy this wonderful music in anticipation for Beaverstock 2016, heck even if you can’t make Beaverstock these sessions will hopefully bring some joy to your day.

Peace & Love,

Luke and the Barn Sessions Crew

Summer 2016 Update!

As usual, we’ve got an abundance of amazing things happening at Castoro this summer and it’s never too late to get in on the fun! From live music and yoga to disc golf and art exhibits there is a little something for everyone! Not to mention we’ve always got new releases and special offers in the Tasting Room.


Our summer so far in beautiful Templeton has been great and hot….very hot! Until the past week or so we were seeing temperatures well over 100 degrees almost every day and it was starting to be a bit much, even for us locals. Summer heat is definitely typical here but not the sustained heat we were seeing through the second half of June, which is typically the coolest of the summer months. The heat can definitely put stress on the vineyards and cause a multitude of things to happen including early ripening and need for water. Luckily our vineyards did pretty well through the heat wave and have enjoyed the recent weather pattern that has seen temperatures in the low to mid 80s. Like I’ve mentioned in the past, we never know what we’re going to get and the best we can do is roll with the punches and keep our chins up!



If you’re looking to visit this summer there are plenty of reasons to do so! We are very excited to be working with SLO Folks to bring singer-songwriter Sean Hayes July 30th and the amazing sounds of the Latin rock group Las Cafeteras August 19th ! We are also beyond excited to welcome back Allen Stone with his full band on August 7th for an outdoor concert. The last time Allen came he performed solo so this will be a real treat.


If paid concerts aren’t your thing we’ve also got our Lazy Locals Free Summer Concerts with Próxima Parada on Sunday July 24th and Up in the Air on Sunday August 14th. Lazy Locals shows are from 1-4pm and are the perfect way to spend an afternoon. Bring a chair, bring a picnic and just relax in our beautiful gardens, it’s as simple as that!



In a totally different and very relaxing direction we’ve also got our Summer Wine Down Disc Golf Tournament on July 30th and a Summer Adventure Day Retreat planned for Sunday July 31st! The all-inclusive retreat features a guided vineyard hike, yoga, massage, acupressure, VIP wine tasting and delicious lunch. The group size is very small making it a great way to make new friends and never feel overwhelmed. The last two retreats have sold out so getting tickets in advance is a must!



The Summer Wine Down Disc Golf Tourney will also sell out and is a great way to spend a day in the vineyard while sprinkling in a little healthy competition. This two-year anniversary tournament also features lunch and craft beer tasting so this is truly a one of a kind event at Castoro!

Putting on all of these wonderful events on top of making world-class wines is a lot of work but we love what we do and we love having all of you to share these experiences with! We truly hope to see you out here this summer and if not this summer we’ll see you at Beaverstock on September 17th and 18th!





Castoro Cellars ‘Dam Fine’ River Cruise 2017

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Who wants to join me on a trip of a lifetime cruising the Enchanting Rhine River next summer? By popular demand, Castoro Cellars is sailing abroad and we’re inviting you!

July 22-29, 2017
Basel, Switzerland to Amsterdam, Holland

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I’m really excited to be the host of our Inaugural River Cruise! I haven’t been to Europe and it’s been a dream of mine to visit Germany because I have German heritage. I’m also looking forward to tasting through Alsace since our Castoro wine making parallels their style- wines that are crisp and clean, with bright fruit and acidity, and great minerality. That’s what makes them so food-friendly. Let’s taste through Europe together next summer. July is the prime travel season for Western Europe!

I’ve chosen a trip to include my favorite things: food, wine, beer, scenery, relaxation, and adventure, and history. Here are some highlights:

– Top notch food prepared by on-deck chefs using locally sourced ingredients
– I will hold multiple wine tastings and a special Winemaker Dinner pairing our wines with the regional cuisine and wines, working alongside the chef
– Reserve wine and beer tasting tours
– Fondue in Switzerland
– Gondola ride over Riesling vineyards in Germany
– Explore historical and Medieval towns along the way
– Relax at the spa on board the ship
– Swim-up pool bar on the sun deck
– Bicycles on board to venture off the boat and ride through the cobblestone towns and villages
– Breathtaking scenery- Swiss Alps, hilltop castles, vineyards, canals, cathedrals, tulips, and windmills
– Comfort and luxury on the AmaSonata that holds only 164 passengers, rather than large ocean cruise liners that carry 3500+ passengers

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For all of the details:
Book by June 30, 2016 to receive $500 Discount per Stateroom.

Call Georgia Shoemaker at our tour operator Expanding Horizons with questions or to book:
Tel: 1-714-988-6408, email:

I look forward to seeing you aboard!

Sherrie Holzer

An Evening with Greg & Al Recap

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A couple months back, on Friday March 18th, we were able to host a truly special event and one that I will never forget. It was “An Intimate Evening with Greg and Al” aka Greg Ehrlich and Allen Stone. As many of you know, Allen Stone headlined Beaverstock 2014, and his organ player/chef Greg Ehrlich has been doing guest blogs for us since with recipes and food/wine pairings. Since meeting at Beaverstock, it had been our dream to put this event together and after almost two years we pulled it off!

The concept was simple, Greg comes down and cooks up a storm and Allen performs an intimate acoustic set after dinner. The not so simple part is getting it on the calendar, as these guys play over 200 shows a year all around the world at major festivals, venues, theaters etc. Luckily, Greg was very passionate about making this happen and after many conversations over the phone, texts, e-mails etc. we were able to nail it down!

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From start to finish, it was one of those things that just felt right. I picked up Greg and his sous chef, Chris, in San Jose on the 15th and right from the start we were having a blast and friendships were solidifying. We shopped, ate, drank, laughed and worked our tails off all week. Allen showed up on the evening of the 17th and was genuinely excited to be there. After getting Allen settled we all relaxed, ate dinner and stayed up late enjoying the wonderful company around us. Perhaps some Bethel Rd. spirits too : )

The next morning Allen insisted on cooking us breakfast and that he did! “Breakfast Bouquets” to be exact and they were very tasty. We sat outside, something these guys from Seattle don’t do much this time of year, and took it all in before heading over to the Tasting Room to set up for the big night. Greg and his crew put the final touches on the multi-course dinner while Lauren and I, along with our wonderful staff got the event gallery ready for the roughly 100 guests.

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Across the board it was a wonderful party and we couldn’t have asked for a better outcome. The food was amazing, the music was unreal and the company was top notch! I feel very blessed to be able to do what I do and hopefully we will be able to make this happen again in coming years.

Till Next Time!



2016 will be a great year!

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2016 is here and we hope you all had a wonderful holiday season and are as excited about the New Year as we are! Inevitably, this time of year invites reflection, goal setting and appreciation for what we have. Our intention is to keep things fresh and innovative while staying true to the values that have made Castoro Cellars what it is today. 2016 is going to be another exciting year for us and we’ve got quite a bit up our sleeves!

One development that will begin to take shape this year is our distillery, Bethel Rd., which will be located across the street from our Tasting Room in Templeton. This project has been a long time in the making and has gone through a whirlwind of brainstorming sessions. Recently, we had our first bottling, which included Moscato and Primitvo Grappas. These Italian style “digestivos” (after dinner “digestive” drink) are made from the grape pomace that is left over after the winemaking process. Our Grappas are 90 proof or 45% alcohol and have wonderful aromatics that are very distinct to the grape they are made from. We are still working out the kinks in our packaging etc but hope to have a release in the near future. One place our spirits will be available to taste is at the SLO Distillers “Fire & Ice” event February 27th at the Paso Robles Inn Ball Room. For information and tickets visit To stay in the loop on Bethel Rd. please follow us on Facebook and Instagram @bethelrddistillery

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Another “little” project that will continue to grow in 2016 is our annual music and arts festival, Beaverstock. After the success and growth of 2015, our excitement for this year’s event couldn’t be higher. We’ve gotten such great feedback from you all and many wonderful suggestions that are a huge help in us continuing to evolve the festival. As of yet I don’t have much in the way of specifics to share but I can tell you to save the dates, September 17th and 18th!

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On the farming side, it’s no secret that 2015 was a very tough year. From unusual weather patterns to a historic drought it was likely the most challenging year we have ever faced. It is too soon to tell what 2016 has in store but so far we have definitely been benefitting from the El Niño weather pattern with quite a few days of rain to date and talks of much more to come. Obviously it will take more than a year of good rain to end the drought but everything helps! It also makes everything nice and green which is very refreshing to see!

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One vineyard experiment we starting in 2016 is Biodynamic farming in select blocks in the Whale Rock Vineyard. Biodynamic farming is a philosophy of farming based on lectures by Rudolf Steiner in 1924. Basically the farm is to be treated as a whole organism. The focus is on soil health, non-use of synthetic fertilizers, use of compost, and planting cover crops along with a holistic approach to pest and weed management. The holistic approach takes in the effect of the moon and planets on timing for certain practices in the vineyard. Some of the practices can seem a bit odd but as a whole we think it could be something we see long term benefits from.

As always, we appreciate you being a part of our story and we look forward to bringing you more Dam Fine Wine and Dam Fine Times in the New Year! 2016 is going to be fantastic…I can feel it!



Harvest 2015 update!

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Believe it or not, harvest at Castoro Cellars is almost completely over and it’s still October! For many of the smaller producers in the area, harvest has been over for weeks, which is crazy considering that we usually go through Thanksgiving. To be completely honest, not much has changed since the last blog I wrote on this harvest, and if you remember I said that typically “small harvests get smaller and big harvests get bigger,” well this one continued to get smaller.

To put it in perspective, this has been the smallest harvest, in terms of yields, that we have ever seen. Vineyards that typically give four tons per acre have given one or less in many cases. Yes, it is even smaller than the harvest of 2011 that was seriously impacted by frost. On the positive side, however, the fruit we have gotten has been of great quality and possibly the best color we have ever had.

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As I mentioned in my last post, the reason for the low yields we have experienced is not a simple one. Many people are quick to assume the sole reason for the small yields is the drought when in fact there is a little more to it than that. A big reason for the small yields comes from bad berry set/poor pollination that was a result of unseasonably cold weather in May. The cold weather, coupled with the extra stress put on the vines by the drought, teamed up to give us the most challenging and humbling harvest to date.

As always, we need to focus on the positives, and luckily there are many to highlight! In California, for example, we experienced record yields in both 2013 and 2014, which make things much more tolerable in regards to the low yields of 2015. Also, we have seen great color and quality as I mentioned earlier, and some of our blocks have gotten the ripest we have seen to date. Our Whale Rock Cabernet and Charbono are two that fit into that category and are also two of the three varietals left to be picked at Whale Rock.

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It is my hope that these blogs help you to understand what we are going through as farmers but also get you excited to experience the ever-changing vintages we produce. No two years will ever be the same and that is a big reason we love what we do. Fingers are still crossed for the el Niño and in the meantime we will be making the most of this small but intense harvest.



Grilled Sirloin paired with Due Mila Nove! Mmmm

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Greg Ehrlich is the organ player and band chef for Allen Stone. A big fan of Castoro Cellars, he periodically guest blogs exploring the relationship between food, wine, and being a touring musician.


Recently I’ve been on a tear exploring cuisines that feature fresh ingredients presented in a simple manner. I’ve been particularly obsessed with Vietnamese cuisine and how they use a wide array of fresh herbs to complement dishes, be it soups, salads or grilled cuts of meats.

This philosophy of cuisine has completely turned my world upside down in the way I approach food and cooking. For years I’d try to construct elaborate dishes in the attempt of trying to prove myself on par with the local hipster restaurants. You know the type – one type of meat with two different sauces, several different veggies each prepared and presented in a different way. It can easily be over the top. Don’t get me wrong – I love artfully and thoughtfully presented food, but when I was introduced to Vietnamese food, nothing was ever the same again. It was so (deceptively) SIMPLE. Grilled meat, a little bowl of seasoned fish sauce, and a topping of a few different herbs. Some might say basic but a complete explosion of flavor.

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After completing our summer tour, I arrived home to a bottle of Due Mila Nove waiting for me. Perfect. My first impressions upon uncorking MM9 was that the wine could hold up well to big flavors, and my mind immediately went to grilled, smoky beef. I glanced in my fridge and already had cilantro and parsley on hand. Simple. Easy. Fresh. In the spirit of Vietnamese cuisine (but realizing I had no fish sauce on hand), I decided to make a famous and very simple herb sauce from Argentina. Tonight it would be grilled sirloin and chimichurri.

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Here’s my recipe. It’s bright, easy, fresh and delicious. It pairs great with bbq beef, but also works well with chicken. Avoid the temptation to blend your herbs in the blender, and chop them all by hand. I can’t tell you why but it just tastes better.

Chimichurri (Yields 6 Servings)

• 1/2 cup olive oil
• 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
• 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, washed
• 3/4 cup fresh flat leaf (Italian) parsley
• 2 garlic cloves, peeled, finely minced
• 1 shallot finely chopped
• 1/2 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
• 1 teaspoon dried or fresh oregano
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1/2 teaspoon pepper

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Combine parsley, cilantro (and oregano if using fresh) on cutting board and cut roughly into medium sized pieces. Toss into medium sized bowl with remainder of ingredients and let sit at room temperature while bbq’ing. Even more delicious if you make it half a day in advance.

Grill your sirloin to your preferred level of doneness. Heap chimichurri on top. Generously pour yourself a glass of MM9 and enjoy.

If you’d like a recipe shoot an email ( my way or hit me up on social media and I’d be happy to share mine with you. On instagram @gregoryehrlich



Harvest 2015 Update!

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It’s that time of year again and by that time of year I mean Harvest! As farmers we live for this season and all the ups and downs that come along with it. As you know, California has been in a historical multi-year drought and we are definitely feeling the consequences. We have been blessed over the years with many great harvest seasons and definitely some challenging ones as well. This harvest in particular is ranking up there as one of the most challenging seasons we’ve seen. Drought, coupled with irregular weather patterns, including a July thunderstorm that brought 3 inches of rain, have put many of our vines to the test.

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What we are seeing, across the board, are very small yields and very small berries with concentrated flavors. One thing we are noticing is that our younger, newly producing vines, are handling the drought conditions better than our older vines which seem to be really struggling in these conditions. Another factor we are dealing with at the moment are high sugars and a low PH or high acid. The intense heat we have experienced in the past week has led to spikes in sugar level and typically when we hit these sugar levels we also start to see lower acid, which is not the case this year in many vineyard blocks. Being at the whims of Mother Nature is just part of the game and rest assured we are making the most of it and this ain’t our first rodeo!

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On a positive note, our Whale Rock Grenache and most of our Zinfandel/Primitivo is looking pretty good, especially in comparison to everything else. Cabernet, however, is looking to be pretty light and our Sauvignon Blanc is about 50% of our average yield. Before you jump to conclusions and write off the 2015 vintage, remember, what we are getting is looking very good and has concentrated flavor and intensity. Despite production being low this year, the wines we do make should be very good and memorable!

Stay tuned for more harvest updates and hopefully we’ll see you soon!