Opolo Estate Vineyards
Opolo’s Estate Vineyards are planted on 300 acres between both the east and west sides of Paso Robles. Rick Quinn and Dave Nichols have been neighbors, partners and friends since 1996 when their families lived next to each other in Camarillo. Rick told Dave about his new Paso Robles vineyard and Dave soon followed suit, purchasing the next property over, and now both properties are home to Opolo’s famed vineyards. The acreage is planted to 20 different varieties and much of the crop is sold to premium wine brands throughout California, while specially selected lots are used to make the celebrated Opolo wines.
The Westside vineyard, planted to 80 acres of Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, is also home to Opolo’s hospitality center. Since the completion of its renovation in April 2017, Opolo has truly become an outstanding destination in the heart of the breathtaking Paso Robles Adelaida Hills. The tasting room is thoughtfully decorated with recycled wine barrel staves on the perimeter walls and lining the three copper topped bars which provide an inviting and stylish space for tasters. The lighting is constructed of barrel rings and the entry door was crafted from estate-grown walnut wood. A large, covered seating area sits just outside the stunning walnut door which hosts “Pairings on the Patio.” The menu includes dishes made mostly from the wood fired oven such as pizzas and sausage platters, along with seasonal cheese boards and fresh salad options. Each item is paired with a glass of Opolo wine, and service is daily from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., with first come – first serve seating. In addition to “Pairings on the Patio,” Opolo hosts many food and wines events throughout the year. Upcoming, not to be missed festivities include Sunset Crab Feed, Blending Parties and the Harvest Festival Grape Stomp.
Another unique feature of the property on Vineyard Drive is The Distillery, which is currently being rebranded as Willow Creek Distillery. Guests are welcome to taste the various spirits, as well as learn about the distilling process, on the weekends or by appointment during the week. The line up includes grappas, which are distilled from grapes and other fruits that are fermented together such as apricot, fig, or pear; and liqueurs, which are neutral brandies with natural ingredients soaked in the distilled product – try the Chamomile liqueur.
The tasting room is open daily from 10 a.m.to 5 p.m. and offers a traditional wine flight, including five wines for $10. The new 2017 Rosé is made with juice from Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre and showcases bright fresh notes of watermelon and pear, while remaining totally dry. Mountain Zin is Opolo’s flagship bottling and 2016 is a new take on the classic. The wine was awarded 92 points in Wine Enthusiast magazine and has been well received by new and longtime fans. Instead of harvesting the grapes at 27 brix, like they have always done in the past, the 2016 version was picked at 25 brix and ended up with an alcohol of just 15.5% - down about 2% from previous years. The wine is completely pleasurable and well balanced. While single variety wines are their niche, Opolo has a reserve line of exquisite blends and one to look forward to is the 2015 Rhapsody, which was rated at 93 Points from Wine Enthusiast. This new Rhapsody is composed of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec and Cabernet Franc and boasts notes of black cherry, cocoa and sage.