Catch the Spirit and Soul of Red Soles

Tuesday, January 5th, 2016

Randy and Cheryl Phillips.

Randy and Cheryl Phillips.

–As the saying goes: “Mi casa es su casa.” This is more than a saying at Red Soles, it is the way you are treated when welcomed into Randy and Cheryl Phillips’ comfortable tasting room; you feel you have arrived home. If Randy or Cheryl (winemakers and owners) aren’t present, the affable Tiffany, tasting room manager, will make you feel right at home.

You may start your adventure wondering about the name, “Red Soles.” Randy or Cheryl will tell you a short vignette, about when they first started making wine in 2004. Not having any equipment, they literally stomped the grapes with their feet (Lucy and Ethel style). As Randy relates, “with our feet dripping red grape juice, propped up on the side of the bin, we pondered what we should call the budding endeavor. Finally we took out a towel and stepped on it to get the juice off our bare feet. The resulting imprints looked great and Cheryl said “We’ll call it Red Soles, like the bottom of our feet.” Not only does the winery represent their “red soles” from their initial crush, but the wines represent their soul.

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Farmers at heart

Although Randy was an Orange County Native, he had ties to the Paso Robles region through his parents and grandparents. Due to the years Randy spent in Paso, he was (and remains) a farmer at heart. In 1987 he left his executive position in the hi-tech industry, taking a leap of faith. The Phillips’ purchased acreage on the East and Westside of Paso Robles to become growers. Farming 250 acres of zinfandel, cabernet sauvignon, petite syrah, cabernet franc, and several other varietals, they quickly established a reputation for quality and reliability and began selling their grapes to many area wineries, which continue to this day.

However, Randy and Cheryl also wanted to make wine, and share their passion directly with the individual wine enthusiast. Following the initial release of 350 cases in 2005, in 2007 the Red Soles Tasting Room opened.

Wine and more

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Certainly wine is the cornerstone of Red Soles’ production. Randy is proud that all of Red Soles’ wines comes from estate grown grapes. There is an ample variety of wines on the current tasting list: Single varietals such as chardonnay, zinfandel, syrah, and cabernet sauvignon to name a few. Also, enticing blends such as the Heart & Sole, a blend of viognier/chardonnay, Achilles Weakness, a GSM plus petite syrah, the Kick-off, a blend of zinfandel/petite syrah and others. In the last several years, Red Soles has garnered dozens of medals in various competitions, proudly displayed behind the tasting bar.

But…there’s more! Paso Robles is quickly becoming known for their sprit production, and it should come as no surprise that Randy has been at the forefront of this new exciting development, being a founder of the SLO Distillery Association, and having the first distillery bond in Paso Robles. All of the spirits (brandy) are produced from grape juice, so when in the tasting room step to the side and taste the spirits offered by Red Soles Stillhouse. Monkey Shine and Cinnamon Hooch are favorites, but not to be missed or outdone is the Lemoncello, a special unique one of a kind recipe that will make you come back for more. Their custom still allows them to produce unique, one of a kind spirits, of the highest quality.

Fun, fun and more fun

Just about every month of the year will find some sort of special event at Red Soles. Pick up parties for their loyal wine club members are held in November and April, featuring lots of food, music, great wine and fun. Special celebrations (open to the public) are held during Zinfest and Winefest. In July Randy hosts a winemaker’s walk about in the vineyards: what could be better than to tour the vineyard, and sip among the grapes? In August, Randy puts on the Stillhouse Brunch, an extravaganza of food and spirit tasting, where you will really taste the spirit and the soul of Red Soles.

Randy and Cheryl don’t lose sight of the fact that they are primarily farmers, and caretakers of the land and grapes, committed to develop each varietal’s ultimate personality. As Randy states, “there is nothing more satisfying than to follow the fruit from the field to the bottle, to watching someone drink and enjoy what you have helped to create.”

Come visit Red Soles Winery, and Red Soles Stillhouse. It’s good for the soul.

Red Soles Winery is located at  3230 Oakdale Rd in Paso Robles. Tasting Room open daily (except Holidays): 9 a.m.-5 p.m. For more information call (805) 226-9797 or visit www.redsoleswinery.com.

–Don Sonderling

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