Calcareous Vineyard – The Magic of Place

Wednesday, March 20th, 2024

Paso Robles Calcareous Wine

Wine and views from 1800 feet above wine country

—On Calcareous’ website, they describe the land simply as a “place.” This is meant to be an inclusive word defining the soil, micro-climates, terroir, and how they play together producing vines, grapes, and the liquid elixir that winemaker Jason Joyce creates and bottles. Upon arrival at Calcareous, you instantly understand this is indeed a special place, which encompasses much more than just terroir.

The space and place

Located at an elevation of 1800 feet, your first impression may simply be: “It takes my breath away.” Throughout Paso Robles, there are few places with vistas like Calcareous. On a clear day, you really can see forever. Sit out on the expansive patio, sip, eat, and become hypnotized by the sprawling view.

When Lloyd and Dana Messner discovered this area almost 25 years ago, they knew it was special for wine growing. However, they also created a most welcoming area to relax in.

The full-service kitchen, with Executive Chef Benny Derringer at the helm, enables you to enhance your wine-tasting experience with gourmet food that will please your sense of smell, sight, and taste. On the day I visited, lunch made my salivary glands dance, it was simply exquisite: I was looking forward to the crab cakes (which I had had on a previous visit and dreamt about), but the Chef changes his menu to fit seasonality and availability, and this time I ordered the duck confit cassoulet. I have to admit, give me great crab cakes or duck confit and I’ll be in heaven. The confit fell off the bone and the flavors (with the wines), were just incredible. No matter your menu choice, Chef’s foods are a true sensory delight and a perfect complement to the wines.

Calcareous wine Paso Robles

The wines

“At Calcareous we let our sense of place direct our winemaking. Our soil speaks and the result is wines of uncommon character and unparalleled beauty.” This is not just a marketing ad, it is what truly is, and what winemaker Jason Joyce has been crafting for Calcareous since becoming head winemaker in 2010. Jason doesn’t let himself be influenced by boundaries or norms. He thinks outside the box and is excited by what every vintage tells him to do.

As Forrest Gump said, “Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you are going to get.” As Jason described his philosophy to me many years ago It’s “a renaissance profession that manifests itself through the land and the grapes, allowing them to express what they are.” Jason creates experiments and lets the grapes and the intricacies of each vintage speak to him; his winemaking results have yielded year after year highly rated and acclaimed wines, including single varietals and blends.

Calcareous has consistently received high praise from industry publications such as the Wine Spectator, which include the 2021 vintages for Calcareous Estate Syrah (94), Moose (94), Tres Violet (94), and Grenache (93). The 2022 Viognier (93), was ranked “Top Worldwide 100 Wines of 2021, and the 2018 Calcareous Syrah was rated #16.

Syrah, Grenache, Pinot Noir, Zinfandel and of course, Cabernet Sauvignon and Bordeaux blends are among the wines you can explore, savor, and take home!

In recent years, Paso Robles has built a solid reputation for not only their Rhone varietals but also their cabernet sauvignon and Bordeaux varietals. For cabernet aficionados, be certain to try the Lloyd of Calcareous five-varietal estate-grown Bordeaux blend.

Winemaker Joyce creates a selection of highly rated, award-winning wines, which express “a sense of place;” these are wines that simply sing.


Calcareous is a complete sensory experience. Enjoy the view, blended in with the exquisite wines and food. Plan to attend their events such as seminars, and winemaker dinners, and from June through August come for Wine Down Wednesdays. Enjoy wine with wood-fired pizzas, charcuterie, salads, and live music from local entertainers! (Please reserve online).

Calcareous is a special place to gather, enjoy, meet new friends, make memories, and enjoy superb hospitality. It is the creation and realized dream of what Lloyd and Dana Messner envisioned decades ago to share with others.

Calcareous Vineyard is located at 3430 Peachy Canyon Road, Paso Robles. The tasting room is open daily 10 a.m.-5 p.m. For reservations or more information visit or call (805) 239-0289.

—Don Sonderling


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