Enjoy award-winning wines in a sports-themed tasting room
Walk into the big red barn of Rio Seco Winery and you will be greeted not only by Monty, the winery dog but with award-winning bottles of wine and olive oil, as well as a collection of sports memorabilia and bobble-head dolls. That’s because owner Tom Hinkle was a long-time Major League Baseball scout. Tom and his wife Carol came upon this 64-acre property on Paso Robles’ eastside in 1996, planted vineyards, and opened their tasting room in 2000.
In November 2013, the Paso Robles community lost a beloved vintner/winemaker when Tom passed on. He’s still all around us. We toast to Tom every day,” said daughter Cait Bartunek, marketing and tasting room manager, daughter Emily, Tasting Room and Special Events, and granddaughter, Quinn, Office Specialist.
For many years Tom divided his time between winemaking with assistant winemaker Fred Golin and his sports profession. “All those years Dad was on the road with baseball and Mom took care of the winery,” said Cait. “I’ve spent more than half of my life here at the winery.” Now on the third generation, the family still believes in the importance of farming and enjoys harvesting both grapes and olives.
The Hinkle family bought the property in 1996. “There was nothing here when my parents started planting in 1997,” said Cait. The Rio Seco property itself though has a colorful history. The barn was used as a film location for the 1982 full-throttle action film “The Junkman.” The building was later leased to a group of pot-growers then abandoned after a drug bust. Three years after the family bought the land, it was bonded and registered as the 22nd bonded winery in Paso Robles.
The All-Star lineup at Rio Seco includes an all-star lineup range of wines from Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel, all estate grown. Keeping in tradition with the sports theme, the flagship wine is labeled MVP.
Steps away from the tasting room is the four-bedroom Rio Seco Guest House, with a great “Bed & Bottle” policy – instead of paying cash wine club members trade for their stay in wine.
The Rio Seco Vineyard & Winery tasting room, located at 4295 Union Road in Paso Robles, is open Thursday-Monday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, call (805) 237-8884 or visit www.riosecowine.com.