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Frosted Leaves and Goodbyes

As we near the end of 2012 and hope the world doesn’t explode by New Year’s Day we say hello to the 2013 vintage year and goodbye to many of our harvest workers. We shed a few tears for each one and wish them the best, but most will not venture too far from the winery. However, a few are heading to far off lands to explore and others to warmer areas to escape the cold. Max Udsen and Patrick Elstead are heading out on a 2 month trip down to South America, flying over to Dubai and then ending in New Zealand to work a harvest “down unda”. The harvest season in the Southern Hemisphere begins in March because they like to do everything differently and of course because their seasons are opposite ours. Malik Hurd is heading back to Hawaii to get his teaching credential while he waits for a firefighting position to open up on the island. Wes Spittler is heading back to Santa Barbera and Chris Klein to San Luis Obispo to spend some time with college buddies and to figure out their next big career moves. Bill Sheffer and Chris Hawkins say they are going, “wherever the lord takes ‘em,” but most likely that means back to New Zealand for both of them. The rest of us are here to stay for now, bunkering down in the office to escape the 28° mornings or bearing them head on out in the cellar.

The below freezing temperatures mean the start of another winter season and time to turn the water off at night to prevent the pipes from exploding. The vineyards are blanketed by frost covered leaves and bare vines soon to be pruned back in preparation for new growth come March. As the vines grow, their stocks become harder allowing less leaves and grape clusters to grow. Pruning allows us to prevent this loss of production, while at the same time it helps us keep the vines as healthy as possible by removing dead or damaged wood. In the end it is all for the health of the vines and to ensure the highest quality of grapes for the next year. The cellar work has died down a great deal as most of the work is geared towards barreling, aging, filtering and bottling the wine. I’ll go into more detail in future blogs. The Tasting Room is decorated in the Christmas spirit and the fireplace is packed with wood and lit every morning. It is impossible to escape the feeling of the holidays around here with cookies, treats and gifts flowing in from wine club members and employees from all around the country. As Luke mentioned in his last blog, the Castoro holiday party was unforgettable as I became part of my first ever crowd surfing train. Check his blog out to see a picture! That’s all for now because I’m running out of time to do some Christmas shopping of my own. Apparently not everyone wants wine for Christmas again, who would have ever thought that?

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from all of us!






Tis the Season to be Jolly . . . and Party!

Tis the season to be Jolly . . . and to have really fun Holiday parties! As most companies do, Castoro hosted the annual Holiday party this past weekend and it was quite a good time. We decided to host the party this year in our newly renovated “Grappa Barn” and let me tell you, the space was perfect. All of the hard work and reconstruction is definitely paying off!

Anyways, back to the party. To keep things new and fun, Niels and Bimmer decided to theme this year’s Holiday party after the German Oktoberfest, lederhosen and all! The costumes were great and we even had multiple home brew beers provided by employees. The biggest hit of the party was definitely the photo booth, which was exercised many a time with some classic outcomes (see below). You never know what’s going to happen once you step behind the curtain!

Last but not least, every good party needs music and live music is always the best! The band this year was dubbed “the Mystics” and they were on fire, playing into the late hours of the night as we danced to our soul’s delight. As things slowed down, the last of us huddled around bonfires in our lederhosen, sharing stories and recounting the epic dance moves we’d displayed moments before.

Now we must wait another year for another Holiday party, but luckily we’ve got many parties to keep us occupied in the mean time!

Until Next Time,

Prost (cheers) and Happy Holidays,






Monet’s, a Real Small Town Treat!

Just to the South East of Fresno (on the way to Sequoia National Park), in the fertile California valley lies a small town with lots of charm known as Exeter. Until recently I had never heard of Exeter and until last night had never been. The quaint downtown is known for its many murals (29 of them), antique shops and of course Monet’s Restaurant and Café. You don’t often venture to small rural towns for fine dining but after reading this you may!

A couple months back I had the pleasure of meeting Jennifer, one of the owners of Monet’s, while working a sales trip for Castoro. After exchanging stories I was very intrigued and we set up a date for me to come pour Castoro at Monet’s and introduce the wines to her patrons. As I drove out to Exeter I had no idea what to expect but I had been told the food at Monet’s is to die for and the atmosphere quite charming. To my delight I found both to be true!

As customers arrived, I made my way from table to table telling the story of Castoro Cellars while tasting them through the lineup of wines we had chosen. Having grown up in the small town of Templeton I have an appreciation for “small town charm” and I felt very comfortable in Monet’s, where everyone seemed to know one another and no one was in a hurry. As I poured and chatted, the food began to come out and I immediately knew I was in for a treat. The meal started off with a creamy soup, cooked to perfection, and went straight into the main course of chicken cordon bleu over wild rice with veggies and a delectable sauce. Of all the wines, I felt the Castoro Cabernet was a great compliment to the main course. For dessert they served a delicious cake that went very well with the final wine, Zinfandel Zinfusion.

I know Exeter may not be on your radar, but if you find yourself in the greater Fresno area or you’re on your way to Sequoia National Park, it is well worth the detour for a great meal in a beautiful historic town.

For more info and reviews check them out on Yelp:

Till Next Time,









There’s Always Something New!

As with any new vintage there are always many things to be excited about, such as new vineyards, new varietals, winemaking techniques etc. Even though we’ve been in the game for a while we are constantly learning and striving to make our wine better and better year after year. It isn’t always easy but it is always an adventure and definitely keeps us on our toes.

2012 has been a big year for us for many reasons and we’ve got a lot to look forward to. This vintage we will be introducing some long lost friends, new blends and even new varietals. To say the least we keep our winemaking team very busy, but we couldn’t do it without them!

First off, we are proud to resurrect our Blind Faith Chenin Blanc, which is a wine that was very much a part of our portfolio (and many other wineries) in the early years and dropped off the map for quite some time. We’ve decided to bring back this wine as it is a very refreshing white and the grapes grow very well in our climate. Regardless of the past, this wine is well worth a shot and although I’m not a betting man my gut tells me you’re going to like it! We’ve also got a couple new blends coming out, one of which I dedicated an entire blog to. East meets West and Pasofusion are two blends that live up to their names. East meets West, as I mentioned in the last blog, is a marriage of Syrah from our vineyards on the East and West sides of Paso Robles (for more info check out the blog “When East meets West”).

“Pasofusion” is another brand new blend we are introducing this year and the sky is the limit for this wine. We have decided to keep this blend open ended to ensure it is always living up to its name. The first blend, which was bottled for our Gold Club members, was Zinfandel and Petite Sirah but we are not restricting this wine and look forward to many variations of Paso’s finest wines!

For new varietals we will be introducing another Rhone wine with our 2012 Grenache. Granache is actually the most widely planted grape in the world, predominantly in France and Spain, and Paso is a great home for this wine. There is still some time before its release but I have a feeling it will be well received!

Till Next Time,



Holiday Open House

For many who work retail, or do the family shopping, the Holiday season can be a nightmare. With all the Christmas music, crowds and eager shoppers, it can be hard to retain your sanity, unless of course, you are pouring/drinking mulled wine and cider and tossing the occasional log on the fire! At Castoro we embrace the Holidays with an open mind and an annual open house. I know it seems like time is flying, but alas the seasons have changed and this coming weekend our doors will be open and there will be more reasons than wine to attend!

We know the Holidays can be stressful and we are here to help you relax and wind down. Our open house will feature complimentary mulled wine and cider, tasty treats and free mini massages brought to you by Vino+Therapy! There will also be a gift fair in the Event Gallery from 11am-4pm, featuring great gifts made by local crafters. There is really nothing more original than handcrafted, unique gifts, which are my personal favorite, because you get the satisfaction of a great gift while supporting the arts and helping out the local economy.

If you’re looking to treat yourself while getting some treats for those you love, come on out to our open house this coming weekend Dec. 8th and 9th from 10am-5:30pm. You won’t regret it, I promise!

For info on Vino+Therapy you can visit their website here:

Cheers and Happy Holidays!