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The DIRT on AP - a winery blog

Ancient Peaks
 
November 28, 2016 | Ancient Peaks

Manzo'd with Margarita Vineyard

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. 

Time Posted: Nov 28, 2016 at 7:21 AM
Ancient Peaks
 
October 28, 2016 | Ancient Peaks

A Happy Halloween Tale


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.

Time Posted: Oct 28, 2016 at 8:27 AM
Ancient Peaks
 
October 17, 2016 | Ancient Peaks

The "CowParade" Comes to Ancient Peaks

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. 

Time Posted: Oct 17, 2016 at 12:52 PM
Ancient Peaks
 
June 8, 2016 | Ancient Peaks

Blanco: Unconventionally Refreshing


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.

Time Posted: Jun 8, 2016 at 12:40 PM
Ancient Peaks
 
April 6, 2016 | Ancient Peaks

AP Named Sunset Award Finalist

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. 

Time Posted: Apr 6, 2016 at 9:41 AM
Ancient Peaks
 
November 12, 2015 | Ancient Peaks

Screaming Deal for Zinfandel Day

California's (and Paso Robles') heritage grape is getting the royal treatment at Ancient Peaks Winery on November 18, a.k.a. National Zinfandel Day. 

For the entire day, our acclaimed 2012 Zinfandel will be available for purchase at the tasting room and online for a full 30 percent off the already enticing regular price of $18. 

This is an estate-grown Zinfandel that was declared a “Best Buy” by Wine & Spirits Magazine, so now is the time to stock up on a screaming deal--particularly because it offers a perfect pairing for holiday turkey. 

Indeed, the 2012 Zinfandel comes from our estate Margarita Vineyard, the southernmost vineyard in the Paso Robles AVA. Here, cooler conditions foster a Zinfandel style that exhibits full flavors with elegance and restraint. 

As such, the 2012 Zinfandel is a perfect match for classic holiday turkey. The wine’s bright berry fruit and spice elements provide versatility with traditional fixings, while the balanced character ensures that the turkey meat will be complemented, not overwhelmed.

Enjoy!

Time Posted: Nov 12, 2015 at 8:43 AM
Ancient Peaks
 
October 26, 2015 | Ancient Peaks

Ice Wine, Baby

As a region known for its warm summer temperatures and mild fall weather, Paso Robles isn’t exactly a hotbed for ice wines.

But here at Ancient Peaks, we employed a bit of winemaking improvisation to produce an ice wine-style Roussanne from the 2013 vintage, which is now available in our tasting room.

Wikipedia sums up ice wines quite well: “An ice wine is a type of dessert wine produced from grapes that have been frozen while still on the vine. The sugars and other dissolved solids do not freeze, but the water does, allowing a more concentrated grape must to be pressed from the frozen grapes, resulting in a smaller amount of more concentrated, very sweet wine.”

Germany is the European epicenter of ice wines, while Canada has paved the way in the New World.

And then there’s our estate Margarita Vineyard here in Paso Robles, where waiting for grapes to freeze on the vine would be a fool’s errand.

So how did winemakers Mike Sinor and Stewart Cameron pull it off? The trick was placing the freshly harvested Roussanne fruit into a cold box at freezing temperatures for three days to mimic the German model.

The frozen grapes were then lightly pressed, yielding only the most sugary juice. Fermentation was halted when just the right balance of sweetness and acidity was achieved, with the residual sugar maintained at 22 grams per liter.

The beautiful thing about this wine is that while it is definitely rich and sweet, it is not cloying. The finish is surprisingly light and lifted, and the balance is impeccable.

Even if you’re typically not a fan of dessert wines, we encourage you to give this one a try. We think you’ll be pleasantly surprised. 

Time Posted: Oct 26, 2015 at 8:06 AM
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