Boutique wineries create ‘Tin City’ in industrial area
Small wineries and artisan businesses open at Marquita Crossing
Two years ago the industrial area off Ramada Drive across Highway 101 from Target was a quiet one, according to Barrelhouse Brewing Company owner Chris Vaughn. Now, nearly two years after the brewing company moved in, there are several wineries — soon to be a total of nine — the brewery, one distillery and an artisan guitar maker creating a community of businesses officially called Marquita Crossing. Some have dubbed this area “Tin City.”
“‘Tin City’ kept coming up because all the buildings are made of tin,” Vaughn said. “We like it — it’s kind of interesting.”
Don Burns, owner of Wine Shine, a distillery that will locate in Tin City, said Marquita Crossing came from Marquita Avenue crossing over the Salinas River. “Wine Ghetto” was considered but was passed over because there is an area in Lompoc that goes by that name. But the idea is the same: several wineries and associated business located in an industrial area, away from where people would normally expect to find them.
“It will be a go-to place for artisanal [items],” Vaughn said, adding that a restaurant is in the works for the future. In the meantime, however, Barrelhouse has different food trucks on-site several days each week and during special events.
For a different feel from visiting a winery among the vineyards, visitors can taste small-production wines and craft beer alongside 100 hops planted adjacent to Barrelhouse.
“People will be able to get the full-on experience,” Vaughn said. “We even joked about having a couple of pigs out here,” since the leftover grains are fed to farm animals.
Aaron Jackson of Aaron Wines said what makes the wineries located in Tin City different is that they are artists and winemakers who love making wines and have started from the ground up.
“What you get when you come to Tin City are really amazing winemakers,” Jackson said. “They’re not doing it as a second career or because they have millions of dollars behind them, but because they are artists.”
Jackson’s wines are currently poured at Paso Underground in downtown Paso Robles. He plans to keep his wines there for the time being with downtown location having regular hours while the wine tasting at Tin City will happen by appointment; he plans to open his tasting room at Tin City in October. His neighbor, Clos Solene — the two share a wine-making facility — will open his tasting room this weekend.
“I think there’s an allure to the more industrial feel of the wineries,” Jackson said. “The reality of us in Tin City is that all of us are hardworking, grassroots winemakers.”