The evolution continues
—Located along the Pleasant Valley Wine Trail, in the northern tip of Paso Robles wine country; Locatelli Winery was founded in 1996 when Raynette Gregory purchased the land that is now home to estate vineyards, a hospitality center and a winery with custom crush facilities.
The transformation from bare land that once was home to cattle and barley fields was a work of passion and a huge undertaking for the family. Shortly after purchasing the property, Raynette’s father, Reuben Gruber, lead the way by playing a key role in planting the vineyard. Forty acres of the hundred-acre parcel were planted with Bordeaux varieties including cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc, merlot, malbec and petit verdot. Zinfandel and petite Sirah were also planted to round out the winery’s portfolio.
While waiting for the vineyard to produce the first grapes, a winery with space for a tasting room was built and Raynette moved her family to the property. Over the years the five children enjoyed country life with plenty of room to roam and play. As the family grew, so did the business.
The charming, small tasting room welcomed guests eager to sample the estate-wines at this hidden gem. With word of mouth and referrals from local wineries the direct-to-consumer business grew, and the wine portfolio was expanded to include some grapes, such as chardonnay from cooler climate vineyards.
Raynette launched custom crush services to other winemakers to better utilize the winery space and equipment available. The custom crush business was so successful that the original winery was no longer able to keep up with the demand. A brand new, state-of-the-art production facility was built at the entrance to the property.
With the new facility completed in the summer of 2021, the transformation of the original winery building began. The 3,800 square foot building was dedicated to hospitality. With plenty of outdoor space on the terrace, the modern hospitality center is ideal for wine tasting and events.
Raynette’s daughter was one of the first to use the spacious event room for her wedding reception. Locatelli is looking forward to hosting many weddings and other events where families can enjoy the fruits of all the hard work that went into the transformation.
The winery continues to evolve and improve. “Over the past 26 years I have seen many changes at Locatelli. Our biggest change is happening now, enhancing shared experiences for our guests that become lasting memories,” said Raynette Gregory
Take the drive through the rolling oak studded countryside and enjoy the views of the summertime golden hills of San Miguel, or enjoy the emerald green of the hills in the rainy season. The tasting room provides vineyard views through large glass doors and covered seating on the terrace is also available for those who enjoy outdoor seating.
The tasting room is pet and kid friendly. While you are visiting you will likely be greeted by Fibi, the Boston Terrier that steals guests’ hearts as well as any treats if they are available. Plan to stay for a while and hear more about the Locatelli story. You can enjoy lawn games and, on some weekends, listen to live music.
Be sure to ask about the Loco Wine Club! With limited production, club members are able to get first chance at wines low in inventory. Club events are the perfect way to enjoy wine with food, friends, and family.
Locatelli Vineyards & Winery is located at 8585 Cross Canyons Road in San Miguel. The tasting room is open Thursday through Monday from 11am to 5pm. For more information visit locatelliwinery.com or call (805) 467-0067.
— Lisa Pretty