An Edna Valley Family with a rich history
For over four decades and three generations, the Niven family has farmed their historic Paragon Vineyard located in the heart of San Luis Obispo’s beautiful Edna Valley. “My family has been fortunate to farm this extraordinary vineyard and carry on my grandfather’s quest of exploring its endless potential,” said John H. Niven, Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Baileyana-Tangent-True Myth.
The family’s legacy began when founder Jack Niven pioneered the planting of grape vines in the Edna Valley in 1973. Over 40 years later, three winemaking projects are at the core of the family’s focus: Baileyana, Tangent, and True Myth. “These wines represent the best of our family’s legacy and truly showcase the Edna Valley and it’s unique place in the landscape of California wines,” shared Niven. “They headline our offerings at our tasting room and are available on wine lists and store shelves in 48 states.”
The Niven’s Paragon Vineyard is the largest family owned and operated vineyard in the Edna Valley. It spans more than 1,100 acres, producing extraordinary grapes that are used to craft the many wine styles expressed within the family’s different brand projects. Additionally, their grapes are sought out by other wineries with a portion of the harvest supplied to select wineries in the region.
Notably, the Paragon Vineyard was part of a pilot program in 2008 aimed at certifying sustainable farming practices in California, as such it was in the first wave of Central Coast vineyards to earn Sustainability in Practice (SIP) certification. Criteria for this certification include growing practices that preserve the natural environment, and business practices that protect the present and future.
Visitors are treated to a memorable wine tasting experience
Traveling down Orcutt Road from San Luis Obispo, the Baileyana-Tangent-True Myth tasting room is the first you will encounter as you enter the Edna Valley. Open from 10am to 5pm year-round, the tasting room is housed in a quaint schoolhouse built by the local farming community in 1909. When in operation, the schoolhouse served students ranging from kindergarten through twelfth grade who hailed from the surrounding farmland areas. Many of the building’s original windows, floorboards and ceiling remain intact, offering tasting room guests a glimpse into the past. From the winery, visitors can also take in the gorgeous views across the valley towards the coast.
The wine tasting experience is designed to accommodate all visitors’ individual needs, according to Karl Boone, the Winery’s Direct to Consumer Manager. “We realize each person who visits us has unique needs and we tailor their experience accordingly, whether the guest is a first-time wine taster or a wine expert,” says Boone. The tasting room staff is friendly and welcoming, and provides a memorable and fun wine tasting experience for every guest.
The Niven family’s three core brands offer visitors a diversity of wine styles, all crafted by Burgundian winemaker, Christian Rougenant. Baileyana wines are varietal Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Syrah wines, aged in French oak barrels and include still and sparkling wines. Tangent wines explore the fresh and vibrant alternative whites, which thrive in the relatively cool climate valley, a mere 5.4 miles from the Pacific Ocean. All fermented in stainless steel tanks, these aromatic and expressive wines include: Sauvignon Blanc, Albariño, Pinot Gris, Viognier and Grenache Blanc. True Myth represents the best of this county’s wine regions: Chardonnay from the cool Edna Valley and Cabernet Sauvignon from the warmer Paso Robles region. Two other smaller production Niven brands are also available at the tasting room: Zocker produces Austrian style white wines and Trenza produces new world red wine blends. By providing such a wide range of wines, the wines showcased at the historic tasting room offer a mix of varietals and blends to suit the preferences of all types of wine drinkers.
Beyond the wine tasting experience, the property provides plenty of opportunities for recreation and relaxation both indoors and out. A wide range of gift items and merchandise are offered for guests to peruse and purchase. Outdoors, guests are invited to sit on the lawn or enjoy the many picnic areas on the premises while enjoying a glass of wine. “We want our winery to be inclusive and family-friendly,” shared Boone. “We invite guests to bring their families, and even well-behaved dogs are welcome.”
The outdoor area also features two regulation size bocce ball courts. During the summer, the winery stays open a little later on some Fridays allowing locals and out-of-town visitors alike the opportunity to unwind from the week while enjoying fabulous wine in a relaxing atmosphere, surrounded by beautiful scenery.
The Baileyana-Tangent-True Myth tasting room is located at 5828 Orcutt Road, San Luis Obispo. It is open from 10am-5pm daily. Group reservations are required for eight or more people. For more information visit www.nivenfamilywines.com/tasting-room or call (805) 269-8200.