Unlock Paso Robles Wine: Vines to Wine

Grapevine tendrilsby Stasi Seay

Wine can be intimidating. With
unlimited varietals, blends, wineries and prices, wine can become overwhelming.
What’s great about wine is that there’s so much more to wine than the glass you
enjoy. Years of planning, growing, crafting and skill go into each bottle
produced. In Paso Robles, this couldn’t be more true. It’s about local people
taking their passion to a new level of excellence for you to enjoy. Let me help
you make wine easy and a part of your lifestyle as I guide you through all that
the Paso wine culture has to offer.

Vines:  In the wine business, fall is celebrated. It’s
when the “vintage” is put to the test by turning grapes into wine. To me,
however, spring brings even more excitement of the vintage to come.

Spring is when the vines, after a long
winter’s nap, wake up and begin anew. Leaves grow, roots stretch and little
clusters of what could someday be an epic bottle of wine, begin to develop.
Warm spring days encourage astonishing growth. On average, vine shoots can grow
3 cm each day during this period of development!

month, clusters are also beginning to bloom all around Paso. This is a very important
time of year. Grapevines self-pollinate and rely on warm, steady weather to
complete the job. Too much of anything can kill the small flowers. Heat, wind,
rain and even early morning frost can have negative effects. Each flower on a
cluster is a forming berry. If berries are damaged they will not fully develop and,
poof, there goes your crop! Growers are nervous weather-watchers this time of
year because Mother Nature can be a bit fickle!

Wines: This is a great time of the year in
the winery. Last year’s wines have finished fermentation and are now being
evaluated for quality. This is where the rubber meets the road for last year’s
vintage. Though, if you ask a winemaker who sometimes tastes 60 new wines a
day, they may call it “grueling.” I have sat through these long tasting days
and I agree. But, hey, a “grueling” day in the winery is awesome work! You will
always know the winemakers when you see them around town: They’re the ones with
purple teeth and stained hands! 

It’s a fantastic
time of year to get out to local wineries where you can find barrel tastings,
new releases and vineyards “waking up.” Warm days at
tasting rooms make for wonderful opportunities to slow down and enjoy our
lovely surroundings with a good glass of wine. What could be better?

Yellow flowers form grapesPast Times: Did you know that the Paso Robles
AVA was formed in 1983? An American Viticultural Area is a designated wine
grape growing region. AVAs are defined by the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade
Bureau (TTB) and are distinguishable by geographic features. Wine grapes have
been grown around Paso Robles since the early mission days but it wasn’t until
growers and vintners came together in 1983 to petition that the Paso Robles’
wine growing region was a distinct area worthy of designation. Happy 30th
anniversary! Well done, Paso, well done.

Stasi Seay, owner of “Unlock Wine
is a third generation California farmer who was literally raised in a vineyards
where she fell in love with agriculture. 
Staci has worked for the world’s largest wine and spirits company and
has collaborated with some of the best winemakers and growers in
California.  As a result, she has been
involved with the best-practices for winemaking and winegrowing on both large
and small scales. This experience has cultivated a deep understanding of the
science, passion and commitment contained within each bottle.  Stasi also holds a
WSET Level 2 diploma.