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Michael Gill’s syrah wins best in class 

Michael Gill

Michael Gill

Gold in the Gills’

Michael Gill Syrah wins best in class and gold medal

Michael Gill Cellars

Michael Gill Cellars tasting room on Peachy Canyon Road in Paso Robles.

A hunter, a dentist, and a winemaker walk into a bar, and the bartender pulls out just one glass.

Why? Because, in this case, all three roles belong to the same man: Michael Gill, owner of the eponymous winery, Michael Gill Cellars, who also draws from his experience in each for his present mission: making award-winning wines.

With precision, instinct, patience, and determination, Gill seems to have narrowed in on the perfect property, the ideal Rhone varietals, and the best methods to craft wine unlike any other.

And there is now no question he has a palate for the art. In his first year entering the Central Coast Wine Competition, he entered four wines and came home with four awards: he swept the Syrah competition, winning the impressive Best in Class and gold medal for his 2010 Tuxedo Syrah, along with a silver for his Big Rock Syrah and a bronze for his Black Tie Syrah. Additionally, he won a bronze for his Tantrum Tempranillo.

“Personally, I think our Tempranillo is a gold medal,” said Michael Gill, with a laugh. “But they didn’t ask me.”

Michael said they were happily surprised by their strong showing at this year’s competition. “We just opened 15 months ago,” Michael explaine, saying that some tasting room guests who were judges at other competitions had encouraged them to enter their wines. But still, he had not been sure what to expect. “I was completely blown away.”

But guests who do make their way to the tasting room, tucked into the wild wine country of the west side on Peachy Canyon Road, need not fear finding an untamed facility in the early, awkward stages of developing its brand. On the contrary, Michael Gill Cellars’ property is as surprisingly mature, sophisticated, and spectacular as their award-winning Syrahs.

For ten years, Gill grew the grapes, sold the juice, and let other people win awards. He began noticing that no matter who the winemaker was, his juice had a distinct nose and taste to it. So, in 2008, he decided to put his own label on the wine, building a winery and introducing his first vintage in 2008.

And considering the type of person Michael Gill is, it’s not really so surprising that just a few years later, he left the awards ceremony laden with medals.

Michael is also a world-class, much-decorated hunter, and a practicing dentist with a degree from USC Dental School.

The hunting theme is ever-present in the tasting room, which is adorned by a striking taxidermy display, while the dental influence can be seen more in the surgical care with which he inspects his vines, and blends his wines.

And whether you see him at his private practice in Bakersfield or at his winery in Paso, there’s one thing you can count on: your toothache will be cured.

Meet the mystery man behind this boutique Paso Robles winery for yourself, on Saturdays and Sundays from 11a.m. to 5 p.m. at 4125 Peachy Canyon Road in Paso Robles, or visit to learn more.


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About the author: Publisher Scott Brennan

Scott Brennan is the publisher of this newspaper and founder of Access Publishing. Follow him on Twitter, LinkedIn, or follow his blog.