Key Paso players Michael Geise of Hope Family Wines, and Chris Taranto for the Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance. Photo by Frank Mangio
Community Taste of Wine

Taste of Wine: Paso Robles deeply rooted in fine wines

They came for a re-visit to San Diego, some 35-plus wineries from Paso Robles led by veteran cheerleader and Communications Director Chris Taranto, who has guided the message for Paso wine country for as long as I can remember.

Appropriately called the “Grand Tasting Tour,” it had some wineries that were seasoned and comfortable like Hope Family, JUSTIN, Niner, Opolo, Tablas Creek and San Antonio.

A short look around and some things were new like Alta Colina, Barr, Burbank Ranch, Venteux and the sensation of the show, Pianetta with its reboot of the fabled Jug Wine, but more about that later.

If you’re new to the wine tasting regions in California, Paso Robles is located about halfway between San Francisco and Los Angeles along the Central Coast.  It’s the third largest wine region with about 200 wineries on 32,000 vineyard acres. Here, wineries have proven that with the unique climate, topography and soil, over 40 worldwide grape varietals can be grown and bottled.


The Jug wine format returns, as displayed by Caitlin Pianetta of Pianetta Winery in Paso Robles. Photo by Frank Mangio
The Jug wine format returns, as displayed by Caitlin Pianetta of Pianetta Winery in Paso Robles. Photo by Frank Mangio

Some wines to try:  Hope Family Wines Treana Red.  Their Viognier is a personal favorite, and this 2012 Red Blend of Cabernet and Syrah doesn’t disappoint either ($45).  Taste plum, cherry and spice.  Visit

Now on to Pianetta Winery and their re-boot of the wine in a jug.  The wine is Jug Wine 2013, with mostly Zinfandel, and some Cabernet, Merlot, Syrah and Petite Sirah ($24).

“We wanted to create a fun, traditional style of wine and decided the best way would be in a JUG,” explained Caitlin Pianetta, president and owner. Their seventh vintage is from 2013, and it sells in the tasting room and select stores.  See more at


New dates for San Diego Bay Wine & Food Festival

The largest wine and food festival in Southern California returns for the twelfth time.  The new dates are:  Nov. 15 through Nov. 22. For those few who have not seen this extravaganza, it’s a star-studded classic that takes place at various locations in San Diego.

The festival’s Grand Tasting at the Embarcadero Nov. 21 will feature more than 200 wineries, breweries and spirits from around the world, 70 local restaurants and the “Chef of the Fest Competition.”

Ticket information is now available by visiting, or by calling (619) 312-1212.


Wine Bytes

North County Wine Company in San Marcos presents a flight of new release California wines Aug. 28 and Aug. 29. Half glass pours on three prime brands for only $15. Call (760) 653-9032 for times.

Bernardo Winery in Rancho Bernardo has its fifth annual Tastings Festival and Classic Car Show, Aug. 29 from 1 to 4 p.m.  You get lovely wines, cool beer, delicious food and live music for a $30 advance. Phone (858) 775-5788 for details.

Wiens Family Cellars in Temecula wants you to join them for a Primitivo Vertical Wine Tasting Dinner Aug. 29 starting at 6 p.m. Four vintages poured with a four-course dinner. $85; $65 for club members.  Get the full story at (951) 694-9892.

Capri Blu in Rancho Bernardo has a Taste of Veneto Italian Wine dinner, Sept. 2 starting at 6 p.m. From Pinot Noir to Amarone, these wines will pair perfectly with a four-course dinner led by Ossobuco Pork Shank.  Cost is $55. RSVP at (858) 673-5100.

The Palomar College Foundation and President’s Associates invite you to the 24th Annual Gala fundraiser benefitting Palomar College students and programs, Sept. 12.  The event is at the Omni La Costa Resort & Spa in Carlsbad starting with a 5:30 p.m. hosted reception and silent auction.  Pricing, reservations and more information about the event including sponsorship opportunities are available at, or by calling (760) 744-1150 ext. 2735.


Frank Mangio is a renowned wine connoisseur certified by Wine Spectator.  He is one of the leading wine commentators on the web. 

View and link up with his columns at and reach him at  Follow him on Faceboook.