Celebrating Fine Wine
After years of selling to vineyards, this grape farmer decided to open one.
Sylvester Vineyards and Winery
Paso Robles, CA
In Austria, Sylvester means celebration and that is what Sylvester Vineyards and Winery is all about--celebrating fine wines. In the early 1960s, Sylvester Feichtinger purchased the 400-acre Rancho Robles now the home of Sylvester Vineyards and Winery. Then in 1982, Feichtinger planted grapes, and the land that once produced hay for cattle transformed into fruitful vineyards. Originally selling quality grapes to many of the premium wineries in the Paso Robles area, Feichtinger decided to go into the wine making business for himself. In 1990, Sylvester Vineyards and Winery released its first wines that exhibited soft, fruit forward varietal characteristics and immediately started winning awards and the notoriety that goes with them. This quick success spawned the building of their modern winery and tasting room, which were completed in time for the 1995 harvest.
The winery adheres to four principles--time-honored tradition, state-of-the-art technology, harmony between plants and soil, and true passion for wine. To this end, Sylvester wines are aged in more than thirty different kinds of oak barrels gathered from twelve different cooperages and seven different regions. Among them are--American Oak, French Oak, Hungarian Oak, Russian Oak, Balkan Oak, and Central and Eastern European Oak. Their Sylvester label wines are aged an average of eight months before releasing. Their premium selections of Kiara Reserve and Le Vigne di Domenico, named after Sylvester's two grandchildren, receive more extended time in the barrel. These two selections recently won three Gold Medals in the 2008 Tasters Guild International Wine Competition. The winery's more mainstream varieties are those found in France and Italy--Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Merlot, Sangiovese, Zinfandel, Cabernet Franc, and Sauvignon Blanc.
As if an excellent collection of wines isn't enough, their spacious tasting room also offers a vast assortment of gourmet cheeses with their tastings. Each wine is expertly matched with some of the world's most distinctive cheeses. Offering such pairings affords the unique opportunity for cheese novices and aficionados alike to learn about cheese.
Also adding to a wine tourer's experience is the wine park center built in 2008. The center is placed in front of three vintage railcars, two Pullman sleepers and an observation car, that have been there since before the winery was built. This park-like setting is perfect for picnics and has prompted the winery to start a family-friendly Summer Sunset Event Series featuring everything from karaoke to reggae to an open microphone night. The wine park is also home to Sylvester's celebrated Winemaker Dinners, prepared by Italian Master Chef Walter Filippini. These dinners are held on the third weekends of March, May and October each year. And during the holidays the Pullman train cars are decorated and used to read the Polar Express for a local children's charity.
Fine wine, a nibble of gourmet cheese, and expansive views of the vineyard and the nearby mountain range all add up to a classic day of wine touring and tasting in the fabled Paso Robles wine region.
What to buy:
'07 Sauvignon Blanc Pineapple, lychees, and well-balanced minerality $14.99
'06 Merlot Plum and chocolate, black cherry and toasted vanilla $14.99
'06 Syrah Vanilla and oak flavors, spicy finish $17.99
'05 Nikiara Bright bing cherries, vanilla, and cranberry, spicy finish $32.00
805.227.4000; Fax: 805.227.6128
5115 Buena Vista Dr.
Paso Robles, CA 93446
Tasting Room Open Daily 11-5
Take the 46E Exit off Hwy 101. Go to Airport Rd. and turn left. Turn left onto Buena Vista Dr. and go one mile.