The quaint 1907 schoolhouse beckons travelers and tasters
Perched off the side of the 101 freeway, between the two Avila Beach exits, you will notice an historic early 20th century two room schoolhouse. The 1907 Avila Valley Schoolhouse sits nobly, and invitingly on the frontage road, beckoning the traveler inside.
Although the schoolhouse ceased operation as a school in the ‘60s, today it still serves not only an educational but a recreational role as well. It is the comfortable tasting room for Biddle Ranch Vineyard, the newest winery in the Edna Valley. The old schoolhouse retains its original architectural integrity and character, even down to the refinished original flooring, and is the perfect stop on the road either entering, or leaving San Luis Obispo County wine country.
Biddle Ranch’s estate vineyard is the dream creation of a group of 5 couples with a passion for food and wine, wanting to share their passion and sensory experiences with others. The owners may be the “new kids on the block,” but they have hit the ground running, with several ambitious projects and a philosophy that is “dedicated to producing quality wines that embody our eclectic spirit and our passion to bring people together and enhance the way we eat, live and connect.”
First and foremost, are the award winning wines. You may taste in the comfortable tasting room around the rectangular wooden tasting bar, in the relaxing “club member” lounge or out on the patio. There are currently 6 offerings of the low production premium wines. The chardonnay is estate grown, and the balance of the line-up has grapes sourced from some of the finest vineyards in the region, including Paragon and Donati Vineyards. In addition to the chardonnay, there is pinot grigio, pinot noir, sangiovese, cabernet sauvignon, syrah and soon to be released Evviva, an enticing blend of sangiovese, cabernet sauvignon, syrah, aglianico and merlot. These are the creation of winemaker Ryan Deovlet, who plans the addition of two sparkling wines: A blanc du blanc and a sparkling pinot noir.
Lori Maraviglia, the general manager, or one of her enthusiastic staff will greet you upon arrival, and during your tasting will not only explain the wines, but also give an education on the area and the vision that personifies the spirt and future plans of the winery owners.
Events at Biddle Ranch
Biddle Ranch Vineyard also offers a broad variety of “schoolhouse events,” in addition to their wine club pick up party, which is not just a party, but a celebration of food, wine and friendship. Some of the events are offered only to their club members, many others are open to the public.
This coming fall, the winery will host Friday music festivals featuring live entertainment and food trucks. Planned for this summer will be a food and wine pairing cruise on a 70’ yacht in Morro Bay. And, during the (recently concluded) San Luis Obispo “Roll Out The Barrels” celebration, held during the month of April, the Schoolhouse held different events every weekend: A pop up art bar, blending seminar, discount wine weekend, and Sunday seafood with Chef Len. The schoolhouse is also available for individuals to host private events.
As if buying a winery, opening a tasting room, planning and organizing incredible special events wasn’t enough, Biddle Ranch recently renovated a 3100 square foot guest house in the middle of their 23 acre Edna Valley vineyard. The 4 bedroom 3 bath home sleeps up to 12, has a backyard fireplace and pizza oven and is described as a “mid-century modern farmhouse.” It is a perfect getaway destination for a group of friends and family, or for a casual but intimate business retreat weekend. Private functions may be arranged and the Biddle Ranch staff can help to facilitate whatever is necessary.
Not content to stand still, plans are currently in progress to build a premier tasting room on the estate vineyard property. What comes next? Certainly something exciting that will tantalize the taste buds, and give the visitor a unique and singular experience.
As the owners describe their vision: “Biddle Ranch is the marriage of our appreciation for great wine, effortless beauty and our love for gathering with family and friends.”
Once you visit Biddle Ranch Tasting Room, you will be certain to return.
Biddle Ranch Tasting Room at the Avila Valley Schoolhouse
6985 Ontario Road
San Luis Obispo, Ca 93405
Monday-Wednesday: By Appointment