The largest winery in Paso Robles isn't one of the massive wineries such as DAOU, Tooth & Nail, or even Villa San-Juliette. It's not even a winery, at least not technically.
When I slunk into work the next morning with two unyielding, risqué tattoos in full view, my coworkers at The Day Job™ asked, "Just exactly what were you doing in (insert air quotes here) Wine Country?!?"
Which means that you will be forced to visit their wine countries in order to buy many of the wines. I'm good with that.
I had an embarrassingly large meal at the Brat Stop (where two insane people are the proprietors), but it helped me to continue to observe and photograph the event without having to worry about the drunken staggering factor.
I'm especially happy that I had the presence of mind to stop at Refugio State Beach and take some footage and photos just days before the horrific and inexcusable oil spill.
Yes, growing grapes is similar to actual farming, but he noted that while regular crops required water in order to live and thrive, grapevines only required water to not die.
When I stopped for gas at Barstow, I opened up the glove box to see if there was a manual in there. Well there was. Unfortunately, it was on a CD, still nicely shrink-wrapped. What use was that?!?
However, they finally relented and sold me a bottle of their library Syrah because apparently my crying, wailing, and gnashing of teeth was disturbing the other guests.
While once the wines were big, jammy, fruit-forward, and alcoholic, they now have added layers of complexity and maturity which was almost unheard of a decade ago.
It's an end of one era, but the beginning of something just as great.