But First! A Little Nevada Winery News
Those of you who are on my Twitter feed know that AB4, the bill that will allow “real” wineries throughout all Nevada counties including Washoe (Reno) and Clark (Las Vegas) was signed into law by Gov. Brian Sandoval on May 27. I am quite happy, although I still have considerable reservations. We couldn’t do anything about the special interests, but we can fight them at the next legislative session. But we can now have wineries throughout the state! There’s a pent-up eagerness, and I think that the vineyards up north will explode in just a very short period of time, and the southern vineyards will be studying their options. Of course, there are already people growing grapes down here, so the time frame for wine may be shorter than expected.
Word of advice – if you are AT ALL interested in starting a winery in Nevada, get your stuff in before October in order to avoid the 1,000 case limit penalty. That small window of time can give you a ten-year head start. There are lots of very smart people guiding interested parties through the heretofore untested waters of Nevada winery regulations, so this is going to be interesting.
And Now, Back to the Festival!
First, the weather. For the second straight time that I’ve attended, the weather was picture perfect. Clear, sunny, with a few scattered clouds in a gloriously blue sky and in the high 70s to low 80s, it was as ideal a California day as you could wish for.
I said some pretty harsh things about the security process at the Wine Festival in 2013 because it was unnecessarily long, complicated, and illogical. This time, it couldn’t have been more different.
I expected to stand at the end of a very long line and was pleasantly surprised. Although I ended up at the end of a long line after the Winemakers Seminar, everyone had already been processed. When the horn sounded for the start of the Festival, everyone just flowed in. How nice! And they didn’t even try to take my Pellegrino this time! (long story)
The Hug Cellars booth was my first stop where Edgar Torres of Bodega de Edgar and his wife (and a friend whose name I missed) were handling the pours. After that, everything became a blur because I did lots of snapping and filming, but very little writing. That said, I made a few observations.
Each Festival is almost always zoo-like in character. In previous years I’ve noticed that people are there to get as much wine as they can and to get as drunk as they can and in the shortest period of time that they can. This year felt very different. While there were lots of people and they were obviously having a lot of wine fun, they seemed more studied and eager to learn than before. There were educational opportunities offered by the Cab Collective (wine and cheese), the Rhône Rangers (wine flavors and aromas), and the Garagistes (we used to be small but now we’re great). There was a lot of bread, cheese, water, and food trucks around, so there were plenty of opportunities to keep the effects of the alcohol at bay. I had an embarrassingly large meal at the Brat Stop (where two insane people are the proprietors), and it helped me to continue to observe and photograph the event without having to worry about the drunken staggering factor.
Of course, the weather may have played a factor since it wasn’t over 100° and people seemed to be drinking lots of water.
The attached slideshow is long and wonderful, but it’s taken me some time to stitch it together which is why there’s been a paucity of posts over the last week or so. The slides aren’t really in strict order; I more or less juggled some for positive artistic effect. In addition, I shot mostly in RAW format which required a lot of compression and fiddling with. Photographers will understand, and I’m far from being a professional!
At any rate they’re finally DONE and I’m so eager to present this (probably overlong) slideshow. I hope that you enjoy this year’s overview of the 2015 Paso Robles Wine Festival!
Oh, by the way. If there was ONE THING that stood out for its flavor and just being different, it was the Bristol Cider House “The Rackham” dry-hopped Braeburn apple cider. OMG. It was different, delicious, and mind-boggling. Absolutely terrific.