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Paso Robles Rhône Rangers draws a crowd in fifth year

Posted: Thursday, Feb 23rd, 2012


Rhône Ranger fans flocked to Windfall Farms for the fifth annual Rhône Rangers Wine Experience.


This past Sunday, Rhône Ranger fans flocked to Windfall Farms for the fifth annual Rhône Rangers Wine Experience.

Each year the event kicks-off with a seminar and luncheon. Paso Robles Rhône producers provide an in-depth look, and taste, of a collection of Rhône varietals and blends produced in the area. After the guided tasting of nine wines, attendees have the opportunity to linger over lunch and chat with local winemakers. This year the luncheon was catered by Cass Catering, and each table enjoyed a taste of a library or rare wine produced by the hosting winemaker at the table. With limited seating, this event sells out early.

Even by moving to the larger facility at Windfall Farms to increase the available seating, the 120 tickets were all sold more than six weeks prior to the event.

The big draw is the Grand Tasting. This year 400 attendees were able to wander from stall to stall and taste some of the finest Rhône varietals and blends produced in the area. A total of 39 Paso Robles wineries poured a selection of more than 150 wines during the grand tasting. The setting at Windfall Farms allows two to three wineries to pour together in what was once used as horse stalls. The long, wide hallway was a gathering spot for attendees to discuss the wines they had sampled, to pick their next taste and stop for a nibble of cheese and bread. The event was extremely well-organized, especially given the entire event is executed on a volunteer basis.

The Paso Robles Rhône Rangers is a chapter of a larger national group. Tablas Creek’s Jason Haas, a board member of the Rhône Rangers, realized there were so many Rhône producers in Paso Robles, yet very few represented by the association (only 12 out of 150 members at the time). In an attempt to get more representation from Paso Robles, a meeting was organized, and the Paso Robles Chapter was launched. Today more than 40 Paso Robles wineries belong to the association.

In addition to providing education and promotion of Rhône wine, the association raises funds for a scholarship. Last year the group was responsible for donating $10,000 to programs at Cal Poly, Fresno, Washington and Sonoma to advance research/education programs focused on Rhône wine. During the event this past Sunday a silent auction with several wine lots and lifestyle items took place to raise funds for this year’s scholarship fund.

If you missed the event, you can attend the larger event to be held at San Francisco’s Fort Mason, March 24-25. Many of the Paso Robles wineries will be heading to the city to participate in the seminars and grand tastings along with producers from across the country. For additional information and to order tickets visit www.Rhônerangers.org.



For the complete article see the 02-24-2012 issue.

Click here to purchase an electronic version of the 02-24-2012 paper.


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