Top-notch winery with award-winning wines
Most wine aficionados are familiar with Austin Hope’s hand-crafted Rhône varietals and the popular Treana series: the Red, a Cabernet/Syrah blend, and White, a Marsanne and Viognier blend. Now, the winery has been re-branded and all five brands — Liberty School, Candor, Troublemaker, Austin Hope, and Treana – are consolidated under the Hope Family Wines umbrella.
The Hope family has been making wines since 1978. When they arrived in Paso Robles’ oak-studded region, they began by planting apples alongside grapes. The apple trees are long gone and the Hope Family wine label has gained a position among Paso’s top-notch wineries by winning international awards and kudos.
Winemaker Austin Hope
In 2007, London’s prestigious Decanter magazine’s World Wine Awards recognized Treana Red’s 2003 vintage as the top national red blend in North America. Two years later, Austin Hope, the winery’s president and winemaker, earned the Winemaker of the Year honor at the California Mid State Fair.
Austin started his training at the early age of eight working in the family’s vineyards and later trained with Napa Valley’s noted winemaker Chuck Wagner of Caymus Vineyards. The connection with Caymus began when Wagner started purchasing grapes from the Hope family in the late 1980s. Wagner bottled the Hope family fruit under his second label, Liberty School; the label was later acquired in 1996 by the Hope Family with wines produced in Paso Robles.
Tasting Cellar features wine portfolio
The modern-barn Tasting Cellar sits amidst the 60-acre property, 40 acres of which are planted to Rhône varietals. Once inside, visitors get to savor a complimentary tasting of five wines of their choice from the Hope Family Wines portfolio.
The Liberty School wines are easy drinking and approachable. The 2011 Merlot redolent with raspberry fruit won the Bronze Medal in the Central Coast Wine Competition. Since its first release in 2012, the Pinot Noir has nabbed three Gold Medals, one at the 2014 World of Pinot Noir and two at the Central Coast Competition in 2013 and 2014. Ripe and lush with balanced acidity, the Pinot Noir is a blend of grapes from Paso’s west side and Santa Barbara and Monterey counties.
Passion for Rhone
Passionate about the Rhône varietals, Austin Hope launched his eponymous label in 2000 producing wine from estate grapes. The wines are inspired by those of France’s Northern Rhône. The inky, age-worthy 2012 Syrah is a riot of blueberry and licorice aromas with silky tannins. The 2012 Grenache sings with notes of raspberries and ripe cherries.
“Austin is passionate about Grenache – he refers to it as a masculine Pinot Noir,” said Christy Jaureguy, Tasting Cellar Manager.
The 2012 Roussanne is expressive of stone fruit with hints of sweet spice. The limited production of a mere 200 cases of this straw-colored wine is available through the tasting room only, Jaureguy informed. The Candor wines are affordable reds from the Central Coast.
“The concept is to blend multi-vintages from different counties,” explained Jaureguy. “To seek out those areas that reflect the best of its appellations.”
So the Zinfandel bottling is a blend of fruit from Paso Robles and Lodi while the Merlot is a blend of Paso Robles and Santa Ynez Valley grapes. The Trouble Maker 8 is also a multi-vintage wine that is big and bold. A distinct Paso blend of Syrah, Zinfandel, Grenache, Mourvédre and Petit Sirah, it’s a perfect pizza/pasta/Tuesday night wine.
Hope Family Wines, located at 1585 Live Oak Road in Paso Robles, is open from Thursday to Monday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and by appointment. For more information, visit www.hopefamilywines.com or call (805)238-4112.
– Mira Advani Honeycutt