Split Rock Vineyards are carefully farmed to produce a very low per-acre grape yield, ensuring the highest quality fruit on every vine. We harvest and craft our wines with a balance of traditional and modern techniques, and produce about 500 cases per year.
Paso Robles Wine Country is centrally located between San Francisco and Los Angeles along California’s Central Coast. Even though the Franciscan Friars brought winemaking to the region back in the late 1700s, the area was largely known for cattle ranching until the 1970s. Since then, the cattle have given way to grapes—over 200 wineries producing across the 600,000 acre Paso Robles AVA. With a greater day-to-night temperature swing than any other appellation in California, distinct microclimates, diverse soils and a long growing season, Paso Robles is a unique wine region blessed with optimal growing conditions for producing wines made from Rhône varietals. More than 40 wine grape varieties are grown in Paso Robles, ranging from Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot to Syrah, Viognier and Roussanne, as well as Zinfandel, the area’s heritage wine varietal.
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Our Estate Cuveé, inspired by the region’s known “Super Paso” wines, is a bold combination of Bordeaux and Rhône varietals. A play on the “Super Tuscan,” Super Paso wines have been gaining popularity and impressive awards and scores. Featuring Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah at their base and a small blend of Petit Verdot—the Cab brings in the structure and the tannins, while the Syrah gives the wine fruit forward personality. The Petit Verdot is a late maturing Bordeaux grape that adds a “classic style to the fleshy nuances of Cab and Syrah.” Think of a great Napa Cab meets a classic Southern Rhône “Chвteauneuf-du-Pape.” We love the flavor of blackcurrants and cedar in the Cab and the big fruit and smokey edge of the Syrah. All this sounds pretty fancy, but the bottom line for us is we just love the power and purity that our Estate Cuveé and other Super Paso wines embody.
We also have a small block of Petite Sirah, our wild-hair varietal, that, as of now, stands alone proudly. We are increasingly seeing Petite Sirah finding its way into other blends in the Paso area, though, so stay tuned! Petite Sirah, also known as Derive, is a variety of red wine grape primarily grown in France, Israel, California, and Australia. It produces tannic wines with a spicy, plummy flavor, and it is more and more being produced as a stand-alone wine. It usually has a very dark, inky color. We have a feeling it could end up being a real sleeper for William Robert Wines!
Recognizing the potential of the terroir at Split Rock Ranch to produce only the highest quality fruit, our winemaking team is collaborating year-round with a focus on unmatched farming and award-winning winemaking. The vineyard is carefully farmed to produce a very low per-acre grape yield ensuring the highest quality fruit on every vine. Harvested and crafted with a balance of traditional and modern winemaking techniques, we produce about 500 cases per year.
Jeff, a general misanthrope and curmudgeonly spectator of the Theater of Life, was born and raised in small-town Connecticut. With the enormous amount of free time afforded by both the completion of a degree and professional stint in biochemical engineering, he naturally took frequent trips out to Napa Valley in supplement of his passion for wine. Discovering in short order that his current job bore a striking number of similarities to winemaking, he abandoned his other dream of becoming a CDC Virus Hunter and made a beeline to UC Davis to enter their Masters of Viticulture and Enology program. Insert placements at Merryvale Vineyards in St Helena, Franciscan Estate in Rutherford, Mollydooker in McLaren Vale, Australia, and Round Pond Estate in Rutherford, and he was finally ready for his first permanent wine job helping to launch ONX Estate Wines in Paso Robles!
Given that he lists his heroes as Statler and Waldorf (from the Muppet Show), Dr. Bruce Banner (aka the Incredible Hulk), and Captain Quint (from Jaws), it’s no surprise that Jeff found his way to Paso Robles instead of rooting himself in a more traditional wine region. Not that he can’t frequently be found enjoying the much more classic combination of sushi and dry German Riesling…
A Certified Professional Soil Scientist and a graduate of Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, Steve has worked in Australia, Chile, and New Zealand and has completed 17 harvests within two hemispheres. In addition to the new plantings at Derby Vineyard where he has been involved since 2001, Steve has also designed and planted such acclaimed Paso Robles vineyards as Law Family, Caliza Vineyard, Epoch Estate Vineyards, Daou, and Jada Vineyard.