A new Barrel Experience lets guests be the winemaker
When Joe Rōtta bought 600 acres of ranch land and vineyards in 1908 he could not have imagined what the Paso Robles wine industry would become. By the 1960s and 1970s, Rōtta Winery was one of only three in Paso Robles compared to more than 200 today. College students and surfers traveled to the winery to purchase gallon jugs of wine. Momma Rōtta knocked 50 cents off the price when someone brought their own jug.
For generations the Rōtta family maintained the vineyards and winery, selling jug wine under the family label. In 1990, great grandson Mike Giubbini took over the winery ushering in the next generation of Rōtta wines. Giubinni moved away from the old-field blend and began producing varietal wines. Zinfandel, cabernet sauvignon and cabernet franc graced the Rōtta label for the first time. In 2013, Giubinni decided it was time to retire but needed to find the right person to keep the Rōtta magic alive.
Enter Sebastian Budeguer, the founder of a leading Argentinian winery, Bodega Budeguer, and son of generations of Argentinian farmers. “I fell in love with Paso on my first trip and kept coming back”, said Budeguer. “Rōtta being one of the oldest wineries in California is so steeped in history, I knew I could help make it something special. With a site like this we could be making some of the best wines in the region.”
Over the next three years changes included a complete upgrade of the Rōtta production facility, the property and the chore of breathing new life into the old vineyard. Budeguer asked winemaker Christian Tietje to join his team, design a new look for Rōtta and take the wine making to a higher level.
It was important to preserve the Rōtta name and history as one of the area’s oldest wineries. “We wanted to pay respect to the past as well as step into the future,” said Tietje. “So we are bringing back the Rōtta Jug for tradition while we step into the future with the new label.”
A visit to Rōtta Winery is more than wine tasting. The new Barrel Experience lets guests experiment with the art of wine making. “The Rōtta barrel experience shows us the influence of the wood on the wine,” said Tietje. “After tasting from different barrels, we blend wines right in the glasses. Everyone gets to be the winemaker.”
“Before the barrel experience, we take a tour of the vineyards and see the amazing soil that produces our great vines,” said Tietje, pointing to the exposed strata on a hillside. “This land is a 20 million year old sea bed. The layers of sandstone, calcareous rock, quartz and the bone rock bring special character to the Rōtta terroir.“
The winery is open by appointment Monday – Wednesday and from 10:30 – 5:30 Thursday – Sunday. Music Sundays feature great live music and food. For an appointment or more information call: (805) 237-0510 or visit www.rottawinery.com.