Family-owned estate winery creates award-winning wines bridging Malibu and Paso Robles
Farming wasn’t originally in the plan for Carol and Stephen Hoyt, but once the couple gained experience staying on working vineyards in Napa, they knew they were hooked. After they were married, Carol and Stephen moved to Hollywood, where she worked as an actress, and he designs and makes shoes for a living.
The couple’s love of the ocean and vineyards brought them to Malibu, after dreaming of owning a home where they could walk on the beach and stroll through the vines on the same day. Their aspirations of one day owning a vineyard eventually came true, and the couple planted their first vineyard in Malibu in 2001.
“The proximity to the ocean makes a great climate for growing chardonnay,” and while Carol’s first vines were maturing, she bought 100 lbs of cabernet, to make her very first wine in the kitchen. When the first crop was ready in 2004, it made a big impact on them. “We were one of the first 6 vineyards in Malibu, and now there are over 75.” Hoyt Family Vineyards is considered a micro-winery, and produces just 800-1200 cases per year.
In search of the best place to source their red wines, the Hoyts got samples from all over California, and pinpointed their favorites, coming from Paso Robles. The incredible west side juice from the Willow Creek district inspired them to find their own property.
“Paso Robles produces some of the most outstanding reds,” says Carol. “In our hunt for the best quality grapes for our wines, we realized how much of a treasure Paso Robles was. We acquired 140 acres in the heart of Willow Creek Ava., and started planting.” The Hoyts produce cabernet sauvignon, chardonnay, grenache, muscat canneli , petite sirah, pinot grigio, red blends, rosé, tempranillo and sparkling wine.
Their 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon was selected by Sunset Magazine as “one of the new kings of red wine”, and in 2012 they were selected Microwinery of the Yea.
“When you make something good, it gets recognized. It is important to keep consistent with the flavor profile.”
It is now the one-year anniversary of their tasting room downtown. “We have a great team of pourers, and the light, airy space has a calm beachy vibe, with colorful and rustic accents,” Carol says.
“I didn’t want to have an all brown tasting room, with wine barrel tables like everywhere else. It has a cool, beach shack vibe, the building was originally built in the 1880’s and used to be a barber shop. It’s very funky, and right downtown. We kept the original wood floor, and the everything is crooked. We always joke with tasters, when things start to look level, you’ve had too much to drink!”
Their tasting room is the perfect place to sit back and enjoy the fruit of their labors. Carol says, “We have a wine club, and do a “welcome to the wine club” dance for new members. We love holding events during the year, pickup parties, community events, and the great chili cook-off during the Harvest Weekend. During the winter season, we like to try to rest. Our tasting room downtown is fun and open late, with karaoke and live music on Friday nights.”
For guests seeking asylum and a serene getaway, the Hoyt Family Vineyards also has two cabins in the vines, which are sure to provide some much-needed relief. The Hoyts started their Airbnb after a ranch house on one of their properties got flooded. The family took an amazing opportunity to star as the pilot episode for a tv show The Cabin Brothers on the Discovery Network. The two tiny houses were designed and built by Daniels Wood Land of Paso Robles, and were made with vintage and antique pieces, and reclaimed woods. The “Vineyard View Cabin” and “Cowboy Cabin” give guests a gorgeous view of the vineyard, where they can enjoy farm fresh eggs, a visit with goats, or a soak in the hot tub, before relaxing in a clean, comfortable bed.
Hoyt Family Vineyards Tasting Room is located at 1322 Park Steet, in downtown Paso Robles. For more information visit www.hoytfamilyvineyards.com or call (805) 369-1092. Tasting room hours: Thursday – Saturday 1:00 – 8:00 p.m., and Sunday – Monday 1:00 – 5:00 p.m. Hoyt Family Vineyards is located on 2015 Township Rd, Paso Robles and is by appointment only.