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The DIRT on AP - a winery blog

Ancient Peaks
September 26, 2015 | Ancient Peaks

Taste The Harvest Today

Taste the 2015 wine harvest today and tomorrow—September 26-27—as we take over the Travel & Adventure Stage at Savor The Central Coast from 2:45 to 3:15 p.m., right here on our historic Santa Margarita Ranch.

Our session will be helmed by winery co-owner and viticulturist Doug Filipponi and director of winemaking Mike Sinor, who will lead you through an interactive immersion into the harvest season.

Along the way, you will taste grapes fresh from our estate Margarita Vineyard. As you taste them, Mike will offer insights into the winemaker's art of determining when to pick grapes based on factors such as sweetness, texture and tannin. 

Meanwhile, Doug will illuminate how our sustainable winegrowing practices make a difference in both our wine and our environment, and you can expect a special appearance by one of our majestic wildlife residents that play a role in keeping vineyard life in balance. 

Doug and Mike will also provide insights into the influence of soils on wine, to include a look at the ancient sea fossils that make up one of our five soil types at Margarita Vineyard.

Lastly, we will be pouring some special wine. So if you're at Savor The Central Coast, make a note to come out at 2:15 p.m. We look forward to seeing you!

P.S. And don't miss our affiliated Margarita Adventures zipline canopy tours as they take the stage from 1:45 p.m. to 2:15 p.m. both days. Click here for the full Travel & Adventure Stage schedule.

Time Posted: Sep 26, 2015 at 7:06 AM
Ancient Peaks
September 4, 2015 | Ancient Peaks

Now Open: The New AP Tasting Room

We are excited to unveil our newly expanded and remodeled tasting room starting this Labor Day weekend—and we hope that you will come out to celebrate with us.

Our tasting room is now more than twice the size as before, including a new outdoor patio space as well as lounge seating along with bistro tables and chairs. Our tasting bar features considerably more elbow room, as well as an eye-opening display of the five soil types at our estate Margarita Vineyard (see photo below). The décor and hues of the tasting room are an extension of our new packaging, as well as a reflection of our ranching heritage.  

So please come by not just to taste, but to hang out, enjoy a glass and soak up  the fresh vibe. We look forward to seeing you here. 

Time Posted: Sep 4, 2015 at 10:43 AM
Ancient Peaks
July 13, 2015 | Ancient Peaks

Pardon Our Dust

When we opened our little tasting room in tiny Santa Margarita seven years ago, we never imagined that our traffic would grow to the point of needing a major renovation and expansion.

Yet that’s where we find ourselves right now, swinging hammers to create more space, expanded outdoor seating, a new kitchen and more.

On that note, we ask you to pardon our dust when visiting our tasting room during this period. We are still open daily. No need to bring a hard hat, just be prepared for cozier environs and a little noise through the rest of this month.

We believe that you will be blown away by the transformation once we are done later this summer. In the meantime, we appreciate your patience. 

Time Posted: Jul 13, 2015 at 9:14 AM
Ancient Peaks
April 10, 2015 | Ancient Peaks

New Places for Familiar Faces

If you are at all familiar with our winery, you will likely recognize Kristin Muhly (above left) and Nina Leschinsky as two longtime members of the Ancient Peaks family who have been instrumental in our growth and success. 

We are now excited to share that Kristin and Nina have been promoted to new positions with expanded responsibilities. Below is the lowdown on what they will be up to...Join us as we raise a toast to them!

Kristin Muhly – National Brand Manager

Kristin transitions from sales and marketing manager to the new position of national brand manager. In this role, she will work more extensively with the winery’s national distributors to grow the winery’s market coverage and penetration. She will also manage distributor goals, develop new sales programs and field numerous related national sales responsibilities.

Kristin is a graduate of Cal Poly with 11 years of hospitality and sales experience in the wine industry. She has been with Ancient Peaks since 2011. “I’m excited about our direction and growth, and I love working for a family-owned winery with such a distinctive sense of place,” she said. “I look forward to getting our wines and message out to more markets across the nation.”

Nina Leschinsky – Director of Consumer Sales

Nina transitions from direct-to-consumer sales manager to the position of director of consumer sales. Her role grows in tandem with a current expansion of the Ancient Peaks tasting room in Santa Margarita. She will oversee the new on-site food program, added visitor space, expanded direct-to-consumer events, hiring and management of direct-to-consumer team employees, and other hospitality efforts.

Nina studied at Cal Poly and started working in the wine industry 14 years ago. She has been with Ancient Peaks since 2008. “It’s been exciting to see the continued growth at Ancient Peaks,” she said. “We have a strong and cohesive team, and it’s great to be a part of it.”

Ancient Peaks
February 10, 2015 | Ancient Peaks

AP Named Sunset Travel Awards Finalist

We are excited to share that Sunset magazine has named Ancient Peaks Winery as one of just four finalists in the category of “Best Vineyard / Brewery Experience” as part of its inaugural 2015 Sunset Travel Awards.

This honor is a resounding affirmation of our mission to offer one of the wine industry’s most distinctive and immersive tour experiences.

According to the magazine, “Sunset... introduced the Sunset Travel Awards to honor excellence and innovation in the tourism industry across the 13 Western states, British Columbia, and Alberta. The awards recognize achievement in lodging, dining, cultural tourism, outdoor adventure, environmental stewardship, and other categories.”

The “Best Vineyard / Brewery Experience” category aims to honor “a Western brewery or winery experience that offers beer or wine lovers and novices an immersion into the brewer’s or winemaker’s arts that is both educational and fun and is underscored by an opportunity to sample excellent beers or wines at the completion.”

This is exactly the type of tour experience that we’ve been developing and honing for several years now. In fact, we now offer two distinct yet compatible immersion experiences at our estate Margarita Vineyard on the historic Santa Margarita Ranch.

First, we offer intimate guided vineyard and food pairing tours every Saturday starting at 11:30 a.m. at our tasting room in Santa Margarita. Our hospitality staff personally drives you out to Margarita Vineyard for an intimate look at growing wine from ground to glass. Afterward, you return to our private tasting room annex for a wine and food pairing experience.

We also offer zipline canopy tours through our affiliated Margarita Adventures, including the 1,800-foot Pinot Express zipline that soars over a block of Pinot Noir. The tours conclude with an optional wine tasting at the Ancient Peaks tasting room in the quaint town of Santa Margarita.

With both of these tours, our aim is to provide a uniquely memorable perspective on winegrowing, sustainability, geology, history and the surrounding wildlife.

We hope that you will join us on a tour soon to see and taste why we are a proud 2015 Sunset Travel Award finalist. 

Ancient Peaks
December 3, 2014 | Ancient Peaks

Join Us for Holiday Fun

We invite you to take a break from the stress of the season and get into the holiday spirit with us as we host three timely events over the next week:

Thursday, December 4 – Essential Holiday Wine & Cheese Plate

Get a jump on your holiday hosting and learn how Ancient Peaks wines can be highlighted with fine cheeses from around the world. The experts from Fromagerie Sophie will show you how to create the essential wine and cheese plate for all your entertaining needs. Featured wines will be tasted with selected cheeses, additional wine available for purchase by the glass or bottle. Just $15 per person, click here for RSVP info.

Saturday, December 6 – Holiday Open House

A winter classic is back as we host our annual Holiday Open House with complimentary Reserve tastings, festive nibbles and a Toys for Tots charity drive. Along the way, ask us about our wine club as the perfect gift for your wine-loving friends and relatives. We will include shipping on the first shipment as a special promotion this December. The open house runs from 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., and no RSVP is necessary, just pop in!

Wednesday, December 10 – Holiday Cork Art & Craft

We have asked one of the craftiest gals we know, Zoe, to share her tricks for turning corks into art and fun tips for sprucing up your gifts and more! A glass of wine and light bites will be included. Specials on select wines will be offered during the event, and additional glasses will be available for purchase. Just $15 per person, click here for RSVP info.

We look forward to celebrating with you!

Ancient Peaks
November 11, 2014 | Ancient Peaks

Superhero Soars over Ancient Peaks

You could say that a superhero flew over our estate Margarita Vineyard yesterday…

Indeed, Stephen Amell, star of the hit superhero show Arrow on the CW network, came out to Santa Margarita Ranch on Sunday for a zipline tour with our affiliated Margarita Adventures, followed by a tasting of our wines. 

Stephen and his friend Andrew Harding were in the Paso Robles wine country working on a new pilot show project focusing on the wine experience. Stephen and Andrew are also partners in their own wine label, Nocking Point Wines.

After they zipped over our Pinot Noir block on the Pinot Express zipline, Ancient Peaks co-owner Karl Wittstrom treated them to a tasting of Ancient Peaks wines. Pictured above are (left to right) Andrew, Karl and Stephen enjoying our 2012 Renegade red blend. 

Thanks to Stephen, Andrew, producer Alan Miller and his crew for turning their spotlight on the Paso Robles wine country. The pilot show featuring Margarita Adventures and Ancient Peaks Winery is set to air this winter, stay tuned for details.

Time Posted: Nov 11, 2014 at 11:50 AM
Ancient Peaks
October 30, 2014 | Ancient Peaks

Tricks for Charitable Treats

We are blessed to reside in in the Paso Robles wine country, which is composed of small-town communities such as Paso Robles, Templeton, Atascadero and our hometown of Santa Margarita.

Neighborliness is alive and well in these parts, and we feel very supported by our local customers and wine club members, not to mention our peers in the wine industry. For this reason, we join many other local wineries in striving to help make San Luis Obispo County an even better place.

One of our latest ventures is a Halloween pumpkin drive. We stocked a small pumpkin “patch” at our tasting room, and all proceeds from the pumpkin sales go to the Santa Margarita Elementary School PTA.

“Parents come in for wine tasting, and the kids get to walk out with a pumpkin,” says Nina Leschinsky, our direct to consumer sales manager. “It’s been a lot of fun.”

When it comes to charitable efforts, we place an emphasis on causes that align with our own winery culture, including those that benefit agriculture, sustainability, education, land stewardship and historical appreciation.

Accordingly, we have also provided donations and support to Santa Margarita Beautiful, a local beautification nonprofit, as well as the Paso Robles High School girls’ basketball team and California Women for Agriculture, among others. 

“Often times it’s our own employees or wine club members who ask for support for something near and dear to them,” Nina says. “My son attends Santa Margarita Elementary, and I appreciate how our winery ownership is supporting the local school. There are some big hearts here.”

Ancient Peaks
September 15, 2014 | Ancient Peaks

Savor Wine, Adventure and More

The Central Coast’s signature food and wine event is almost here, and we are happy to be right in the thick of it…

Indeed, the main event of Sunset Magazine’s Savor The Central Coast will be held right here in Santa Margarita at our historic Santa Margarita Ranch on September 27-28.

The main event will feature a Marketplace with offerings from more than 100 local wineries and restaurants. Other attractions include a Farm to Table Stage and Travel & Adventure Stage (more on that below), as well as a Central Coast Pavilion and educational seminars from leading chefs and winemakers. Trust us, your palate will not be disappointed, and your eyes will be opened!

In addition to pouring our wine at the main event, we are also leading an Ancient Peaks Adventure Tour on Thursday, September 25—and tickets are still available. During this tour, you will be invited to walk on the wild side by creating your own unique blend (see action shot below) of Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Zinfandel and Malbec. 

Under the guidance of our Director of Winemakeing Mike Sinor, your personal blend will be bottled, custom labeled, and finished with a wax dip. The festive blending session concludes with a gourmet lunch hosted by Sunset’s Wine Editor Sara Schneider in the heart of Margarita Vineyard against the backdrop of the majestic Santa Lucia Mountains.

Also, our affiliated Margarita Adventures zipline canopy tours will take over the Adventure Stage at the main event on Saturday from 1:45 p.m. to 2:15 p.m. and Sunday from 2:45 p.m. to 3:15 p.m. During these free sessions, Margarita Adventures will showcase its entire tour experience spanning ziplines, history, nature and wildlife. We won’t spill all of the beans yet, but be on the lookout for decked-out guides, four-legged friends and much more.

We look forward to seeing you at Savor the Central Coast! 

Ancient Peaks
February 28, 2014 | Ancient Peaks

Good Tidings Ahead

Things are looking up as we round the corner into March.

First, some significant rainfall this week is bringing much-needed water to the Central Coast. Yesterday’s storm brought more than two inches to our estate Margarita Vineyard, and the meteorologists say there’s more to come over the next few days.

Also, we are staging two March events—one for the public, the other for our wine club members—that will tantalize your taste buds:

Paso Robles Zinfandel Festival – March 14-16

Get your Zin on as we go all out during the Paso Robles Zinfandel Festival weekend! On both days, we will serve complimentary made-to-order artisan grilled cheese sandwiches from 12:30 p.m. to 3 p.m. We are also offering complimentary tours of our estate Margarita Vineyard, with a focus on the diverse soils and marine moderated climate that enable us to craft one of the Paso Robles region’s most acclaimed Zinfandels. These Paso Robles vineyard tours are available by appointment on Friday at 3 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. To RSVP for a tour, call us at (805) 365-7045. And for more on the festival and related activities across the region, visit

Wine Club Artisan Cheese Seminar – March 20 (the first official day of spring!)

Wine club members are invited to join us at our tasting room on Thursday, March 20 from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. as we team up with Fromagerie Sophie to explore the art of wine and cheese pairing. Based in San Luis Obispo, Fromagerie Sophie is the Central Coast’s newest artisan “cheesemonger.” Proprietor Sophie Boban-Doering brings a French-inspired flair to her regional cheese offerings, and she will provide a tasty demonstration on how to find the perfect match for a variety of wine styles. The cost is $15 for A-List members and $10 for Six Shooters, inclusive of wine, cheese and good cheer. 

Not a wine club member? Please check out our member lounge to see the array of events and benefits that we offer to members.