Arnold family rebrands wine label to ‘Vintage Cowboy’
New ‘Vintage Cowboy’ reflects the family’s ranching heritage
–Vintage Cowboy is the new label for the Arnold family: Steve and Debbie Arnold, Joey and Jessica Arnold and Michelle and Ryan Pascoe. Steve planted the vineyard in 1995 and the first vintage bottled by the family was under the label “Pozo Valley” in 2003. Debbie Arnold is a San Luis Obispo County Supervisor.
“Our rebranding, our vintage cowboy label was a natural progression,” Michelle said. “We did go into a finer niche with the western label, but there are people loyal to the western lifestyle.”
For the Arnold family, a western theme fits the family and its lifestyle. The family has been farming and ranching in the Pozo area for six generations – the sixth generation are granddaughters who are now just 3- to 6-years-old. The family has 125 heads of cow, which are sold at auction.
“My great-grandfather was a farmer and rancher. He started a dry-farm operation,” Michelle said. The family currently dry-farms oat hay.
Michelle’s husband, Ryan, is a cowboy at Hearst Ranch. Every year, the entire Arnold family closes down the winery for a week to travel to Las Vegas for the World Series of Team Roping and the National Finals Rodeo, in which many of the family members compete.
Joey and Michelle really grew into the winery with Steve planting the 32 acres of grapes while they were in high school.
“Talk about learn by doing – whether you wanted to or not,” Michelle said. “We worked in the summers – all year round.” She added that while their classmates were going on trips for spring break, they were in the vineyard thinning, weeding, suckering and doing maintenance work.
Michelle and Joey graduated from Atascadero High School and then went to Cal Poly to study viticulture. Michelle graduated from Cal Poly in 2002 and Joey in 2000. Joey’s wife, Jessica, also graduated from AHS and studied graphic design at Cal Poly.
The whole family helps out in the winery in some way, though all are able to step into different shoes to help out as needed. Steve is the vineyard manager, Debbie is a silent partner as a county supervisor for the first district, Joey is the winemaker and helps Steve in the vineyard, Michelle is the manager, Jessica does all the graphics and marketing material, and Ryan helps out at harvest and goes on sales trip.
When the Arnold family started selling its first label in 2005, it had a wine tasting room in Paso Robles with several other wineries. Its wine was produced in a custom crush facility in Paso Robles. After a year, in 2006, the tasting room moved to Santa Margarita. It closed in 2012 while the family was building its winery and tasting room in Pozo – right next to Pozo Saloon.
“Each move has been better for us,” Michelle said.
The tasting and winery room is located at 10 East Pozo Rd. in Santa Margarita and is open on Saturdays and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. with the exception of any major holiday that falls on a weekend. Michelle said there is a picnic area for people to bring their own food, though the saloon is open for lunch. The Arnolds’ winery, Michelle said, is a “destination winery,” because there isn’t much else out there.
“It’s nice to get out,” she said. “Especially to go to the historic Pozo Saloon – it’s 125 years old.”
The winery was built to look like an old tin barn on the outside. On the inside, it’s a modern, working winery with barrels and wine-stained floors.
The winery’s 2014 vintage, Michelle said, will be its first estate labelled vintage with the wine not leaving the property from planting to bottling.
Click here to find more wineries in the Paso Robles American Viticultural Area.