For a little over a year, visitors looking to taste wine at the highly acclaimed Meridian Vineyards—first established in 1991 in Paso Robles, and winner of over 200 gold medals for wine—might have been confused to find in the place of the familiar Meridian sign that has graced its location at 7000 Highway 46 East, a new sign directing them to a place called Cellar360.
The confusion is only momentary, however, as guests will soon find that Cellar360, just like the old Meridian tasting room, is happy to serve you the coveted Meridian Vineyards Limited Release wines typically only available via the tasting room, website or wine club.
As a matter of fact, Cellar360 will be happy to pour you any one of a carefully curated list of California wines that it might be hard to find anywhere else but at the wineries’ far-flung tasting rooms. That’s because Cellar360 is both the new home of Meridian Vineyards and also a portal to tasting select offerings from dozens of wineries under the umbrella of parent company Treasury Wine Estates—a family which includes names like Stags’ Leap, Chateau St. Jean and Penfolds.
“By changing the name of the facility, we were able to open up our portfolio and carry the best of all of the California appellations, from Napa Valley and Sonoma to Santa Barbara,” explains Marketing Manager Emily Shelby.
True to its new name, Cellar360 gives wine enthusiasts entry to the full spectrum of California wines and wine tasting experiences, including weekly wine and merchandise specials, catered picnic lunches (with 24 hours’ notice), wine and cheese pairings and more. Aside from Paso’s own Meridian Vineyards wines (which, by the way, are still in full force, just as always), Cellar360 also serves an exclusive “tasting room only” list of wines that’s sure to delight any visitor’s palate. “Our tasting list is called ‘The Best of California,’” says Shelby, explaining that guests at Cellar360 “have the opportunity to taste very special wines here.” For instance, she says if you’re not able to make it up to Napa, you can still try the coveted Cinq Cepages wine, which is otherwise only poured at Chateau St. Jean’s tasting room.
So, the sign on the door of this elite California tasting room has changed, but, as it’s said, what’s in a name? The view from Meridian Vineyards’ exceptional grounds is still just as sweet as ever. Nestled in the rolling hills of Paso Robles, the estate spans over 500 breathtaking acres, beginning with an inviting wine country welcome: arriving guests drive down a tree-lined driveway with picture-perfect vineyards on each side. They proceed through the garden surrounded by 200-year-old oak trees twinkling with sparkly lights to the tasting room where they are greeted by a warm family of staff members—many of whom have been with the company for many years—that reportedly loves wine, loves talking about wine and loves educating about wine.
Not surprisingly, the stunning grounds are quite popular for weddings and private events. Shelby says Cellar360 hosts weddings with as few as three people and as many as 300 people, offering the unique ambiance of the property’s Barrel Chai (barrel room); the Main Event Lawn, which overlooks the vineyards and a picturesque pond; and a reception area by the tasting room.
Though hosting weddings has always been a big deal at the venue, Shelby says they also host one of the biggest 4th of July celebrations around. For the last 15 years, the grounds have welcomed up to 1,500 people for food, ice cream, spectacular fireworks and, of course, wine—a tradition that will continue under the winery’s new title.
And so it seems, while the name may seem new on the scene, the deeply-rooted Paso Robles traditions started with Meridian Vineyards so many years ago continue at Cellar360. “We’re still Meridian at heart and we tell everybody that,” Shelby says. “Meridian is still in each one of our hearts and souls. And that’s a direct quote.”
Get a 360-degree perspective of California wine country by visiting Cellar360’s tasting room and grounds, located at 7000 Highway 46 East in Paso Robles, Friday through Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, call (805) 226-7133, or visit cellar360.com.
— Jamie Relth