Taste award-winning wines that inspire long-lasting memories
Sea Shell Cellars creates some of the best boutique, estate-grown wine in Paso Robles, and has been family owned and operated since 2008. Owners Rick and Michelle Carter have found their passion in life with their purchase of a beautiful vineyard in the Estrella District of Paso Robles.
The 97-acre vineyard is in the rolling hills adjacent to the Huero Huero Creek and is covered with historic oak trees and consists of approximately 60,000 vines over 50 acres. They grow cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc, merlot, syrah, grenache, mourvèdre, and tempranillo. Most of their grapes are sold to other wineries across California, and about 30% of the yield goes to producing their 1,000 cases of Sea Shell Wine annually.
Rick grew up in Southern California and has many fond memories spending time at the beach. These memories include time with family and friends and often the discovery of a special seashell.
Although Michelle grew up in Denver, her family traveled to several beach destinations and the sun, sand and waves was always her favorite vacation. The two started dating in 1984 and stated that their courtship began at Balboa Beach.
Their mutual affinity for lifestyle and beauty of the ocean sparked a romance and the two were married in 1987. Looking back at their happiest moments of their early relationship, the couple recalls sun, surf, sand, beach barbecues and jug wine. Rick stated, “Sea shells are powerful reminders of people and places, summer and toes in the sand.”
After touring wineries all over California and developing a sophisticated palate for delicious wines, they decided to purchase an existing vineyard in Paso Robles. The Carter’s always wanted to start a winery. They also wanted to bring that love for the ocean and beach way of life to a wine brand. Just like the beach, when you taste wine you create memories with old and new friends wherever you are.
Over the years with the help of family and friends the Carter’s have come a long way to fulfilling their goals. Their vineyard is professionally managed by Tony Domingos who is a fourth generation farmer.
Working together with Domingos is their winemaker Jeff Strekas, who has worked with wineries around the world. Together with this team the Carter’s like to think of it as from the vineyard, to barrel, to bottle, to glass. Rick says, “As harvest time approaches it is fascinating to taste the different varietals and their flavor profiles with thicker skins and tender seeds.” A yearly blending party is held with family and friends to determine the final blends with the creative supervision of Strekas and his team.
The Carter’s love having a family approach to the business. Kevin Carter runs the tasting room and Rochelle Carter was brought on for Sales and Marketing. “This really has been a family affair in order to bring our wines to the public,” Rick stated.
Over the years Sea Shell wines have received much recognition. Most recently their 2017 Grenache Rosé, 2015 Low Tide, 2015 Collection and 2015 Balboa Reserve all received gold medals at the Denver International Wine Competition. Previous vintages have also received medals and very good reviews and point scores.
They are excited to introduce their 2016 vintage this winter. They noted they are adding a Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon along with a Reserve Syrah which they have never done before. Rick says, “You will notice new branding with our labels. Also we are kicking off our Wine Club this fall! Shipments will begin this November with the next shipment to follow in the spring.”
Michelle adds, “Wines can be sometimes stuffy, or un-inviting. We set out to make our wines friendly and approachable. All of our wines can easily be enjoyed with or without food. Sea Shell wines are created to enjoy, to share with old and new friends and to create memories. Our goal for our tasting room is to be fun with a SoCal beach vibe.”
Visit the tasting room to learn more about Sea Shell Cellars in the heart of downtown Paso Robles.
Sea Shell Cellars is located at 840 13th Street, Ste G in downtown Paso Robles. Open 7 days a week. Hours are Monday-Thursday 12 -6 p.m., Friday & Saturday 12 -9 p.m. For more information, call (805) 238-6800 or visit www.seashellcellars.com.
– Cassandra Frey