Family owned and operated winery tasting room voted USA Today Top 10 Best
–As a third-generation farming family, Chad and Lauren Rava were looking for a different approach to growing grapes and producing wine when they established Rava Wines. Stepping away from corporate wine grape growing, they built their winery in the El Pomar District, an appellation in the Paso Robles AVA, where they enjoy a simple way of life while raising their family and running their business.
Born and raised in Paso Robles, Chad farms more than 800 acres of vineyards boasting 28 signature varietals from Italian and French origins. Locally, the Rava Estate vineyard features 12 varietals, and there are 16 varietals planted in the foothills of Monterey’s Santa Lucia Range.
“As owner-operators, we are involved in every aspect of the business,” Lauren said. “Whether discussing water issues or farming practices we are always interested in what is best for the land because we intend to pass this down to our children. They are fourth-generation farmers-in-training – Sterling is nine and Jade is six – and we recognize our responsibility to them and future generations.”
Award-winning tasting room
Rava Wines was chosen among the 10 Best Tasting Rooms for USA Today’s Readers’ Choice 2020 Awards. Offering one of the only flights of sparkling wines on the Central Coast, Rava was nominated based on the uniqueness of these wines, its welcoming environment, and outstanding guest experience.
Whether celebrating a birthday, anniversary, graduation, engagement, or the good things in life, there’s always a reason to celebrate with friends and family at Rava. With its contemporary meets old-world tasting room surrounded by vineyards and native landscape, Rava Wines is the perfect place to spend the day.
“We have the space and ability to provide an exceptional guest experience in a safe environment,” Lauren said. “SLO County, Paso Robles in particular, is known for having such amazing outdoor landscapes and we have come to appreciate this even more now after all of the pandemic closures this past year.”
Guests are encouraged to make a reservation through the Rava Wines website for a guided educational tasting of a flight of sparkling or classic estate wine. Or, choose a casual walk-in option to purchase wine by the glass or bottle.
“Our knowledgeable staff will guide you through the process of sparkling winemaking and share details on the vineyard and winemaking process,” Lauren said. “Or, if you’d like, just relax and enjoy the property with a glass of wine and friends.”
Cheese and charcuterie plates are available daily. A full menu of delectable food offerings from Chef Gregg of KelleCo Project Catering, including his famous Mac ‘n Cheese, is served up Friday through Sunday.
Sustainability in Practice
As with most businesses, Rava Wines felt the impact of 2020 including space and serving restrictions due to the pandemic. The owners decided to take advantage of some downtime to become a Sustainability in Practice (SIP) certified winery.
“Getting our winery and vineyards SIP certified was something we had wanted to do for several years,” Lauren said. “In reality, we have been implementing these practices for 10 years. This past year allowed us the time to become officially certified.”
A particularly challenging event had a dramatic effect on the way they farm the land – Chad’s cancer diagnosis of Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma back in 2013. The Ravas now use their property to give back by hosting fundraising events for The Cancer Support Community.
Winemaker John Clark
Chad has been working with Rava Winemaker John Clark basically his entire wine career, starting when he sold grapes to Clark in a corporate setting. Together, they bring a mixture of creativity and fun to their working relationship, from choosing new varietals to crafting new wines.
Rava Wines is famous for its sparkling wines crafted in the traditional méthode champenoise style, producing a total of 11 sparkling varietals, all from grapes grown and crafted at the Paso Robles Estate, since making their first wine in 2015. Included among those offerings are classic sparkling wine styles like Blanc de Noirs and Blanc de Blancs and more unique and rare varietals such as their Sparkling Gruner Veltliner and Muscat. Many of the small lots are sold out after being offered exclusively to their wine club, The Sparkling Society.
A nice selection of still wines is also available, including their award-winning 100-percent Estate Cabernet Sauvignon. Referring to all Rava wines as his favorites, Clark admits to one in particular as standing out – the Sparkling Blanc de Noir made from pristine Monterey Pinot Noir grapes hand-harvested at the peak of perfection.
“The winery has precise temperature control from pre-chilling fruit, fermentation, and bulk storage, storage of bottles en tirage to disgorging; one of the hallmarks of quality,” Clark said.
Moving into the spring and summer months of 2021, the staff at Rava Wines is eager to host lower capacity events at the winery, including their outdoor concert series. Rava boasts an abundance of outdoor, open spaces which allow for generous seating areas and room to socially-distance if needed.
The Rava Wines tasting room, located at 6785 Creston Road in Paso Robles, is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Book a reservation online at ravawines.com for tastings; walk-ins are welcomed for wine and food purchases. Check the website and social media for updates on concerts and events. Call 805-238-7282 for more information.
–By Meagan Friberg