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Our estate Margarita Vineyard resides on the historic Santa Margarita Ranch, which is one of California's oldest continuously operated cattle ranches.
Needless to say, we know a thing or two about horseback riding. In fact, during the branding season, you will see our ownership families riding and roping right alongside ranch manager Jeff McKee and his cowboys.
It is in this spirit that we now offer a unique horseback riding experience for everyone on August 11--and it concludes on a delectable note!
Indeed, we have teamed up with Central Coast Trail Rides for a guided one-hour horseback ride across some of the ranch's most beautiful terrain, with views of mountains, vineyards and oak savannahs. Afterward, we will retire to our tasting room and cafe, where brunch or lunch will be paired with Ancient Peaks wines.
There are two rides offered on August 11: 8:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. followed by brunch, and 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., followed by lunch.
Click here to reserve your saddle. We look forward to riding with you!
We will file this one to perfect timing...
Shortly after we spotlighted our new release 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon in our previous blog entry, we learned of another blog post featuring the same wine. Indeed, our Cabernet Sauvignon was showcased in the Official Whole Foods Market Blog in a piece by Devon Broglie, master sommelier and the global beverage buyer at Whole Foods Market.
Under the title of "More Can’t Miss Summer Favorites," Mr. Broglie wrote: "And you can put Ancient Peaks Cabernet Sauvignon up against way more expensive wines any day. A classic Paso Robles cab — dense, ripe, toasty. Yes with a perfectly grilled rib-eye."
Click here to read the full piece, which provides some great insights into other summer picks and trends.
If you are looking for a wine that epitomizes Ancient Peaks, it might just be our Renegade red blend, and specifically the new release 2015 vintage now available at our tasting room.
The name Renegade not only speaks to the western heritage of Santa Margarita Ranch, but also to the unconventional "outlaw" nature of the blend itself. This is a wine that is constantly evolving, but the vision always remains the same—to craft a rich, boldly flavored blend that nevertheless exhibits structure and finesse.
Syrah typically leads the way with its rich dark fruit qualities. From there, it all depends on what the vintage delivers. There are no rules, and that is the point. For the 2015 Renegade, the final blend is Syrah 55%, Zinfandel 27%, Petite Sirah 13% and Petit Verdot 5%. Needless to day, it is a blend that defies tradition.
There has been one constant since our first vintage of Renegade in 2009, and that is the fact that it has consistently been one of our highest-rated wines. We invite you to come out to try it at our Paso Robles wine country tasting room in Santa Margarita.
The wildflowers are blooming, the temperatures are warming and spring is in the air, which means the dry rosé wine season is upon us.
Fittingly, we have just released our 2016 Rosé in our tasting room, and as you can see in the video above, it is full of spring fever.
Modeled after the refreshingly dry rosés of Europe, the 2016 Rosé is made wholly from Pinot Noir from our estate Margarita Vineyard. It seduces the nose with lively scents of pear, green apple, citrus zest and jasmine. A clean, quenching texture is counterbalanced with rounded flavors of dried cherry, strawberry, kiwi and peach. Hints of pink grapefruit linger on a crisp, tangy finish.
Come try it at our tasting room in Santa Margarita, and while you're at it, pair it with a bite from the Ancient Peaks Cafe, one of the best places to eat in Paso Robles.
We are thrilled to share that Rachel Collier has joined Ancient Peaks as our new VP of National Accounts.
In this new position, Rachel is charged with growing our national accounts and corporate retail business.
Rachel comes to us from The Henry Wine Group, where she worked for the past 20 years, most recently as the VP of corporate sales. The Henry Wine Group wa--and remains--our first distributor, and we have long held Rachel in the highest regard. Needless to say, we are excited to have her on our team.
"Rachel's depth of experience as a management executive, leader and trainer is exactly what we need to take our corporate sales to the next level," says Amanda Wittstrom-Higgins, our VP of operations.
She adds, "The Henry Wine Group has been a fantastic partner. Rachel and I and everyone here at Ancient Peaks look forward to working even more closely with them and to forging many more successful years together.”
At the time, we had to keep it under wraps, but now the word is out on national television!
Indeed, last summer we had the privilege of hosting the Manzo family of the hit Bravo reality television show "Manzo'd with Children."
It was all part of an episode featuring a Manzo family vacation with a birthday celebration right here at our estate Margarita Vineyard and the surrounding Santa Margarita Ranch. Not only did they enjoy a meal from our Ancient Peaks Café, they also got to soar across the ziplines of our affiliated Margarita Adventures.
“It was really a fun day,” says Amanda Wittstrom-Higgins, our VP of operations. “The Manzo family was kind, witty and really down to earth. Building special memories is what Ancient Peaks and Margarita Adventures are all about, and I think we accomplished that.”
The resulting episode just aired. You can click here to watch the episode online, or search for "Manzo'd with Children Episode 8 California Dreamin'" on Amazon or other on-demand providers.
Here’s how the episode teaser puts it: "The family vacation continues on Lauren's birthday and Vito has pulled out all the stops to plan a special day. Much to Caroline's dismay, Vito booked a zip-lining excursion high above a beautiful vineyard..."
Spoiler alert: they had a blast!
We really enjoyed our time with the Manzo family, and are thrilled to be featured in their show.
When life hands you lemons, you make lemonade. But when you get too many pumpkins, well, that’s when things need to get really creative.
Such was our dilemma when we were faced with an unexpected bumper crop of pumpkins here on the Santa Margarita Ranch. Then the light bulb went off: rather than plow the gourds under or let them rot, what if we could find them some happy homes?
With that thought, our staff got in the spirit and mobilized, stuffing their vehicles with pumpkins and hitting the road.
Click here and here to read a few local media stories about what happened next. We were overjoyed and touched by all the little smiling faces we were met with along the way, and thrilled to see our pumpkins land in happy hands.
We are proud to share that Ancient Peaks has joined the CowParade “moo-vement” with a striking sculpture of Cinnamon, the legendary cow that roamed our Santa Margarita Ranch for 32 years.
More than 75 cities and 200 million people worldwide have participated in the CowParade, which is recognized as one of the most successful art endeavors ever. Now it is San Luis Obispo County’s turn, and we are thrilled to be a part of it.
CowParade SLO County gives local artists a chance to showcase their talents on a global stage. Our sculpture was created by Lon Etzel, who portrayed Cinnamon’s distinctive opposing horns while using the torso as a canvas to depict signature Santa Margarita Ranch experiences, including winegrowing and ziplining. There is also a nod to the ranch’s historic role as part of California’s famed mission trail.
The CowParade exhibit will be on display through April. Visit CowParadeSLO.com for a map of the more than 100 sculptures that can be enjoyed across the county.
Just in time for summer, we have released our 2015 Blanco, a refreshing blend that pairs perfectly with warm afternoons and good times, not to mention several dishes offered at our Ancient Peaks Cafe.
Now available in our tasting room, this limited release (330 cases produced) wine is an unconventional union of Chardonnay and Muscat from our estate Margarita Vineyard, and specifically from vines planted to soils of granite and rocky alluvium. These stony soils, combined with cold fermentation and aging in stainless steel, yield a lusciously textured wine with a bright, fruit-forward character.
In the final blend, the Muscat provides a foundation of high-toned fruit, while the Chardonnay adds a measure of richness and complexity.
The 2015 Blanco's clean, quenching texture delivers flavors of peach, nectarine and lime with a suggestion of tropical fruit. The finish starts tangy and brisk, but ends with a lingering touch of viscous roundness. This is a wine to be enjoyed in its youth. Suggested pairings include classic summer picnic fare, cilantro lime grilled chicken, filet of sole, and mixed citrus green salad.
Come by our tasting room to try the 2015 Blanco, or better yet, hang out and have a glass with a sandwich or salad from our cafe.
We are excited to share that we have been named a 2016 Sunset Travel Award finalist in the category of "Best Vineyard or Tasting Room Experience," in tandem with our affiliated Margarita Adventures zipline tours.
We are one of just four finalists in the category, which is designed "to honor an outstanding Western tasting room or vineyard tour that illuminates viticulture and enology, has fun doing so, and offers guests a chance to sample excellent wines at the completion." Click here for more information.
So what was it about our experience that stood out from the crowd? Well, as we put it, "From high-flying adventure to hands-on wine education, Ancient Peaks Winery and our affiliated Margarita Adventures offer a vineyard tour experience like no other—one that can now be concluded with a bite at new Ancient Peaks Café at the winery tasting room."
In other words, by combining educational vineyard tours as well as zipline canopy tours along with a recently expanded tasting room and a new café, we have a lot to do and taste here at Ancient Peaks.