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Sea Shell Cellars celebrates new tasting room in Downtown Paso Robles 

Co-proprietors Rick and Michelle Carter with Vineyard Manager Tony Domingos and Winemaker Jeff Strekas.

–Sea Shell Cellars recently opened up a tasting room in downtown Paso Robles. Last week, they held an informal grand opening to celebrate the exciting new step for the winery.

Just like the wines they produce, their grand opening was classy, yet approachable and unpretentious, “So many wines can be intimidating,” said co-proprietor Michelle Carter, “By the name, the label… Our goal was to make wine fun and enjoyable.”

She and Rick Carter have a special affinity for the beach: Michelle, originally from Denver, started dating Rick, a Southern California native, at Balboa Beach in Orange County. They named their winery Sea Shell Cellars in homage to the many wonderful memories they have made there.

“Low tide is the best time to find seashells,” explained Michelle, “That’s why we named our first big wine, ‘Low Tide.’ And all of the wine labels have different shells, as of 2016.”

The tasting room is in-step with the nautical aesthetic of the branding. The team updated the downtown space with fresh coats of paint, new furniture, and even a beach mural where guests can pose with their wine glasses for a fun photo.
“We think the tasting room sums up everything that our wine brand is about: Having fun and enjoying wine,” says Rick.

Brett Mitchell on keyboards, Adam Levine on guitar, Dave Becker on sax, Dylan Johnson on bass and Bill Grove on drums.Room to grow

The Carters seem pleasantly surprised at the amount of recognition that their wines have received since entering them in competitions starting in 2013. The awards and accolades are almost too numerous to list (​Find the often-updated list here​); gold, silver and bronze medals dangle proudly from the bottles displayed near the tasting lineup.

They hope that with the opening of the new tasting room, word will continue to spread. “Our production now is about 1200 cases, but actually our vineyard could produce over 10,000,” Rick said with an excited twinkle in his eye.

Humbly, the Carters pass credit for their success to their wine team, who, in turn, give credit to the land. The 97-acre vineyard is in the rolling hills adjacent to the Huero Huero Creek and is covered with historic oak trees and consists of approximately 60,000 vines over 50 acres.

Winemaker Jeff Strekas has worked with wineries around the world. Strekas works in tandem with Vineyard Manager Tony Domingos, a local, fourth-generation farmer. What sets Sea Shell Cellars apart, they say, is that all of the grapes are estate grown. They also expressed gratitude at having creative freedom both to work with the land, and to work for the Carters, who encourage and allow them to do what they love and what they do best: “just let the estate express itself,” as Strekas says.

The team hopes to expand in terms of production, but also at the new tasting room location and at their vineyard. Their wine club is quickly growing, and they are currently in the brainstorming phase of on-site events at the vineyard, such as farm-to-table dinners for wine club members. For information about the wine-club, ​click here.​ The tasting room is managed by Paso locals: Stop by and say “hi” to manager Rochelle Carter or tasting room veteran Denise Levy.

Sea Shell Cellars is located at 840 13th Street, Ste G in downtown Paso Robles. Open 7 days a week. Hours are Monday-Thursday 12 -6 p.m., Friday & Saturday 12 -9 p.m. For more information, call (805) 238-6800 or visit ​www.seashellcellars.com​.

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About the author: News Staff

News staff of the Paso Robles Daily News wrote and edited this story from local contributors and press releases. Scott Brennan is the publisher of this newspaper and founder of Access Publishing. Connect with him on Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, or follow his blog. He can be reached at scott@pasoroblesdailynews.com.