Second generation leads the way
—Located just off Highway 46 West in the heart of Paso Robles wine country, Bethel Rd Distillery and Winery is located across the street from Castoro Cellars. The family venture is the perfect spot to enjoy craft spirits and wine in a cozy and inviting setting.
Niels Udsen, founder of Castoro Cellars, had a dream of making Italian-style Grappa since his early years when he spent time living in Italy and absorbing the traditions. After acquiring the first distilling license in the county and having a handmade Arnold Holstein Bavarian copper still imported from Germany in 2012, the dream started to become a reality.
Once the still arrived, Niels’ son Max expressed an interest in learning how to operate the still. After experimenting and perfecting the distilling process, the next step was to take the father-son project to a bottle. That’s when the Bethel Road property was developed and the second label and brand launched. The Bethel Rd brand allowed the new venture to focus on spirits and small lot winemaking as a standalone entity.
Today, Max and his brother Luke lead the way for the Bethel Rd business. Max continues to be involved in the production side, while Luke manages the marketing and social media (as he does for Castoro Cellars). “We’re an artisan distillery and winery focused on making the finest spirits and wines. We offer an array of spirits made from estate grown grapes ranging from gin to grappa and are proud to have a space where friends and family can sit and enjoy a glass together,” said Luke.
Unlike most spirits, which are derived from grain, Max utilizes estate-grown grapes to craft Bethel Rd.’s unique style of spirits. Grapes are first harvested, then crushed and destemmed prior to fermentation in open bins, much like the process for winemaking. Turning this juice into a spirit takes the extra step of distillation.
Visitors to the Bethel Rd tasting room can enjoy much more than the distilled spirits. “We have created outstanding Grappas, beautifully balanced Gins, vibrant liqueurs, and complex aged brandies. You will also find top notch small batch wines, highlighting unique single varietal releases grown exclusively in the Templeton Gap,” said Max.
With two tasting bars, plenty of options for spirit or wine tasting, charcuterie plates, and other gourmet items, this is an ideal stop to spend some time and appreciate the passion and efforts of the Udsen family. The stills are located inside the tasting room along with a cozy lounge area. The property includes an expansive picnic area with breathtaking vineyard views. As the warmer weather arrives you will find several opportunities to enjoy live music – another of the family’s passions.
Join the Spirit & Cocktail Club to explore the world of mixology. Shipments include two to three bottles of Bethel Rd Spirits, recipes from California’s top bartenders, and all the ingredients you need to make one-of-a-kind cocktails at home.
Bethel Rd Distillery & Winery is located at 1266 N Bethel Rd, Templeton. The tasting room open Thursday – Monday, 11:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. For more information visit bethelrddistillery.com or call (805) 434-0319.