Several years ago I wrote an article about the “largest winery” in Paso Robles. That “winery” is Albertsons, located at 3rd and Niblick, near the 101. That was Part One. We’re baaaack!
The weekend of August 10 and 11 saw me at Tin City in Paso (*technically* Templeton), and I had a great time. Of course, spending the greater part of two days at Tin City meant that I could not visit all of the wineries that I wanted, but I still yearned for certain wines. So off to the “winery” I went!
The “local” winery aisles are bigger than they were four years ago when The Wineaux Guy™ and I last visited together. At that time, most of the local wines were in stacked cases, with just a few placed on the shelves.
What Has Changed
There’s more! Linda, the wine buyer, has expanded the holdings exponentially since 2015. Yes, I went a little – just a little – nuts when I visited although my intent was to get maybe one bottle. it’s pretty easy to go overboard at Albertsons, especially when you see bottles of wines from winemakers you’ve been dying to visit but just never had the time/money to do so. Or when there are wines from makers that you know you won’t have the time to visit during this particular trip. I did a little bit of both this last time.
Although the Paso Robles locals are well represented, a new (to me) item to note is that the Central Coast including Santa Maria, Santa Ynez, Happy Canyon, and all points south of the Paso Robles/San Luis Obispo region are now well represented.
Of course, with such an overflow of goodness, there has to be some negative somewhere. Let’s look at the positives first.
Some of my favorite wineries are what’s good! DAOU, Villa St. Juliette, Robert Hall, Donati Family Vineyards, Talley, and Brochelle, just to name a few. I found wines from wineries that still haven’t visited, such as Claiborne & Churchill (one day!). There are wines from places that I just didn’t get a chance to visit, such as Kynsi, and was overjoyed to find one of their Pinot Noirs there.
The selection is comprehensive, especially for a grocery store. And that brings us to “the bad.” It is a grocery store.
The Bad. Sorta.
Albertsons is a grocery store. While I would love to see every aisle filled with wines, apparently people go to grocery stores to purchase, um, groceries.
Naturally, not all wineries are represented. And with those who are represented, not every wine from their collection is offered. And this is to be expected.
For instance, Villicana’s Re:Find brand is represented only by the Vodka. My favorites, the Cucumber Vodka and the (e) labels, are not there. And that’s okay. I’m not complaining about that whatsoever because I know that shelf space is limited and expensive. Anyone who visits should have a certain limit to expectations.
Remember that many of the wineries in the Central Coast are very small operations. For instance, Aaron Wines (reviews to come), has a couple of wines that are only two barrels in production. A lot of other wineries have the same situation in that the wines are available for walkins, club members, and chosen restaurants, and there’s simply not enough for retail store shelves.
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