Downtown Paso Robles gets a new tasting room
Boutique wineries will share space on 13th Street
–Enrique Torres of Diablo Paso has worked in the wine industry since 2001, starting harvest 2001 for Martin Family wines. Fourteen years later he’s opening his own tasting room in downtown Paso Robles with Denis Degher of Mojo Cellars.
The tasting room, which does not yet have a name, will be a blend of the two wineries, Torres said. Torres and Degher met when the two both worked for Vinoteca in downtown Paso Robles, Torres as a part-time worker behind the bar and Degher as a musician.
“We’re going to make it very comfortable for people to taste wines, but also have a glass of wine or bottle,” Torres said.
Diablo Paso focuses on Spanish-style wines and Mojo Cellars specializes on Bordeaux wines.
Torres first moved to Paso Robles after visiting the area with his girlfriend, now wife of 12 years, Nora, who has family in the area. He quickly got a job working the harvest, and it turned into a full-time. Over the years he worked his way up from cellar rat. He said he asked the winemaker, Alan Kinne, question after question about winemaking.
“He told me to go learn English and he’d teach me,” Torres said. He enrolled at the Cuesta College Paso Robles campus. “I didn’t have an excuse not to go to class, I left work here and then [went to class on the way home].”
Over time he became assistant winemaker at the winery, which has had different names and owners. Today it is CaliPaso Winery and is owned by people from China. A few years ago his employers allowed him to start making his own wine at the facility. He didn’t yet have his own license; he was able to make the wine under someone else’s license, but just couldn’t sell it until he had his own.
“When we first started Diablo Paso I wasn’t thinking of a tasting room at all,” Torres said. “But it’s difficult to sell when you’re small.”
That is the reason, he said, for opening the tasting room, to grow the wine club.
“Our goal is to grow our brand to maybe 1,500 cases because we want to keep our quality and control,” Torres said.
His first vintage from 2012 was 100 cases from three barrels of tempranillo. He now produces 500 cases of albarino, rosé, garnacha and tempranillo.
Torres anticipates that the tasting room will be open from 10 am. to 10 p.m. Thursday through Monday. He anticipates that the tasting room will open around the second weekend of March. It will go into the space at 827 13th St., which will be vacated by Baby’s Babble in the beginning of February.