Striving to make handmade, quality wines

Thursday, August 25th, 2011

Arroyo_robles_1From his downtown, park-front tasting room winemaker Bob Shore can keep his finger on the pulse of Paso Robles, which suits him quite well.  Bob is an easy-going, enthusiastic member of Paso Robles’ bustling town center, and the tasting room for his winery, Arroyo Robles, functions as a convenient center for the many facets of his business.

As much as he loves to make wine, Bob Shore also loves to talk about wine and teach about wine.  He has structured his tasting room to include a classroom for a variety of food and wine-related classes.  His family is a huge part of his daily life, and of his business as well.  As often as not, at least one member of his family is pouring wine at Arroyo Robles’ bustling tasting room.  His wife Tanis, son Jason and daughter Brianna are integral parts of Arroyo Robles.

Bob Shore has been making wine on the Central Coast for over a decade, starting in Avila Beach in 1998 out of a converted apple barn which he shared with three other winemaking families.  Over the years he has been based out of San Luis Obispo and Santa Maria, but he has ended up in his Paso Robles location because he “just felt comfortable here.”  He cites the excellent soil and weather conditions as reasons he produces wine out of Paso Robles, and feels at home in his downtown tasting room due to the “casual country feel and great people” found in Paso Robles.

The Shore family has been involved in agriculture in California for decades.  He and his brother ran an agricultural laboratory business, dealing with all kinds of crops, from cotton, potatoes and carrots to grapes.  He also managed a demonstration farm, which focused on using all available technology and advancements to “more efficiently use fertilizers.”
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It is from this agriculturally focused background that Bob approaches winemaking.  He feels that in order to be the best winemaker he can he must really “understand the soil” in which he grows his grapes.  He is very involved with the soil in the vineyards, which grows the Mediterranean grapes he likes.  Soil types can differ greatly, even within a forty-acre plot.  He says, simply, that one must “grow good grapes to make good wine.”  He “puts extra effort into the vineyard to get good grapes,” and, “the extra effort is always worth it.”

Bob also acknowledges that while he is primarily a self-taught winemaker, he has been fortunate to have great local consultants.  As he encourages the students in his wine tasting classes to “learn by experience,” so has Bob learned by doing.  He has enjoyed exploring the many varietals which thrive in Paso Robles, and his tasting menu boasts a unique ensemble of wines.

As Bob is inspired by the grapes, he is continually exploring and expanding his winemaking practice. He strives to make “handmade, quality wines” which are “indicative of Paso Robles, both in style and in varietal.”

Another unique aspect of the Arroyo Robles tasting room is the array of small classes which Bob teaches.  He says that he “loves to talk about wine” and feels that it is best for people to “learn by experience and tasting” to find out “what affects their taste” and to see how the different aspects of food and wine interact.  He encourages students to talk about “all aspects of food and wine,” believing that “the more you know about wine the more you enjoy it.”

One class involved a wedding party and took place a few days before the wedding.  The members of the wedding party were separated into two groups: the men and the women.  Each group worked with Bob to create, bottle and label their own blend, and the two blends were served at the wedding reception.  He hosts traditional food and wine pairing classes, and has installed a large whiteboard in the classroom to facilitate the discussions that take place as the classes progress.  Bob has also taught “Pruning 101,” “Breakfast In The Vineyard” and blending classes, all classes of his own design.

Bob Shore invites visitors to come visit Arroyo Robles as a way to find out about small, family-owned wineries in Paso Robles.  As he says, “Paso Robles is becoming known for great taste per dollar.”  From its centrally located tasting room, Arroyo Robles offers locals and tourists alike a chance to taste wines crafted by a family to which Paso Robles is a central fixture in its story.

Arroyo Robles wines are available to taste at 739 12th Street in downtown Paso Robles from 11am – 7pm daily.  Call (877) 759-WINE or visit www.arroyorobles.com for more information.

— Kate Joyce

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