The Legacy Continues
Eberle Winery 1979-2019
Celebrating 40 Years of Fine Winemaking
A Paso Robles ‘Legacy’
Gary Eberle was awarded the Robert Mondavi Hospitality Award. The distinction, established in 1999, recognizes pioneers in all aspects of the hospitality industry. The award carries with it special meaning for Eberle, as it shares company with its first honoree, Robert Mondavi.
The accolade coincides with Eberle Winery’s 40th year and helped to kick off “Legacy,” a conglomeration of awards, seminars, wine tastings and dinners to celebrate Gary’s 46-year vision and tireless work in support of the Paso Robles wine industry.
Libbie Agran, director of the San Luis Obispo Wine History Project, spotlighted Gary’s achievements at the celebration and announced other events, including museum-quality installations and insightful, educational seminars.
To commemorate Gary’s 40th year, 2019 will also feature “Legacy” Eberle Cabernet Sauvignon and a July 13 Gala at the winery. Among Eberle’s premier vintages are the Cotes-du-Robles (Blanc and Rouge), Estate and Reserve Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel, Barbera, Sangiovese, Muscat, and delicious Viognier wines, including a Special Release Winemaker Series of Viognier Liqueur and Eberle’s sought-after 2013 Vintage Port.
Always a Team Effort
In the 1970s, Gary not only established Estrella River Winery, the first commercial winery in Paso Robles, he was the first winemaker to create California’s first Syrah varietal wine. Together, Gary and winemakers Tom Meyer, Vic Roberts, and land developer-turned-grower Herman Schwartz combined their expertise to develop the Paso Robles AVA in 1982, and they debuted Paso’s first Wine Festival the following year.
Visitors from all over who visit Eberle Winery who meet and chat with Gary not only learn a lot about wine, they leave pleasantly surprised to find the most accessible, gracious and unpretentious winemaker around. Gary’s hospitality is well-known, and he freely gives away the credit to fellow vintners when talking about the wine appellation he helped develop.
“There are 30 different soil series across the Paso Robles AVA,” said Gary, who received his Enology degree at U.C. Davis following his college football heyday at Penn State under Joe Paterno. “That quality, combined with the long growing season, large diurnal swing, and different microclimates, affords us the ability to create a multitude of different wines that cannot be pigeonholed into one definable category.”
Throughout his career, Gary learned by both doing and listening to sound advice. When California State Fair presented Gary the Wine Lifetime Achievement Award four years ago, it was an honor that he took to heart. His own winemaking inspiration, Robert Mondavi, was the first to receive that distinction.
“Robert Mondavi was my mentor,” said Gary, who listened intently when the two conversed under the arch of Mondavi’s Napa Valley winery. “He knew how to make wine, but he taught me the business side of how to really sell wine.”
Marcy Eberle, who works alongside her husband, wholeheartedly agrees.
“The fact that we are one of the highest award-winning wineries in the country is huge,” said Marcy. “The reality that he truly loves every day of his life being a part of Eberle – not too many people get to live life like this. I’m so proud of him and his legacy.”
In Gary’s economy, business is built on relationship. True to form, Gary can be found at the winery on any given day, immersed in cheerful conversation about the region in which he’s invested his life.
“Paso Robles doesn’t have to play second fiddle to anyone,” Gary said, with a smile. “We can be really proud of what we make.”
Eberle Dinners and Celtic Travels
At Eberle winery, elegant winemaker dinners, brunches and wedding receptions are often held inside the 16,000-square-foot wine caves and outside deck, which offers sweeping views of the Paso Robles countryside. Meanwhile, new plans are developing to create cozy cave alcoves that seat 10 to 20, along with a second-story level to host VIP and Cellar Club members.
Gary and Marcy often host fun-fueled ocean cruises. From September 13-20, 2020, they will pair wines with fabulous food prepared by Michelin three-star chef, Alain Ducasse. On Eberle’s eight-day Ponant cruise aboard the state-of-the-art French yacht, Le Jacques Cartier, guests will discover the beauty and mystery of Celtic culture on visits to Connemara, Galway, Donegal, Killybegs, Cornwall, Penzance, Stonehenge, and Saint Malo, Brittany.
Contact Eberle Winery at (805)238-9607 or eberlewinery.com. Visit Eberle Winery at 3810 Highway 46 East in Paso Robles.
> Melissa Chavez