Wild Horse Winery
Quality, Consistency and Excellence
For over 36 years, nestled within the laidback surrounds of Templeton, right next door to Paso Robles, Wild Horse Winery has earned itself a solid reputation for creating some of the best wines on the California Central Coast.
Committed to Making Beautiful Wines
In 1981, founder Ken Volk was among a handful of Paso Robles-area vintners committed to making beautiful wines before they were ever found on a wine tasting map. Over time and with each vintage, he became one of the most respected winemakers in the region.
A third-generation Californian, Ken attended Cal Poly State University. A fruit science major, he got into winemaking by accident when he traded vineyard responsibilities with a fellow student. Ken’s knowhow grew right along with his production of an initial 600 cases to 150,000 over two decades. His expertise and dedication to quality, consistency and excellence are what won Ken both respect from his peers and many accolades from within his industry.
“Nothing has changed,” said Nicki Armenta, tasting room manager. “We have humble roots in the community. After our operation was purchased by Constellation Brands in 2007, it still feels like a family-owned winery and vineyard operation of educated people, many of them Cal Poly grads.” And it’s precisely this relational approach that lends itself to educating their customers in the tasting room.
The Wild Horse Secret to Great Wine
“Sourcing and variety” are what distinguish Wild Horse wines from all others, said senior winemaker Todd Ricard, an Army veteran and graduate of Cal Poly’s Wine and Viticulture program. “We continue to source grapes and vineyards among the best in Santa Barbara and San Luis counties. Our wine style continues to be food-friendly and approachable.”
Todd and winemaker Kip Lorenzetti, whose own philosophy is to allow good fruit to express its terroir, keep the bar high for creating the Chardonnay and vineyard-designated reserve Pinot Noirs that reign supreme at Wild Horse along with cabernet Sauvignons, Merlot, Rhône-style varietals and more.
Wild Horse makes full use of the many aspects that affects the character of their wines, including harvesting grapes of the same variety from several terroirs, but fermenting them separately. For those who have listened to related voices sing, the interconnected vibe is much the same. This dynamic has encouraged experimentation with new methods in small lots that produce pleasing results.
Tasting Room Offerings
In the tasting room, an enticing example is their 2015 Blaufränkisch, a satisfying, aromatic, spicy Central European grape that’s received increased attention in North America. A versatile wine, akin to a robust version of pinot Noir, Blaufränkisch pairs easily with both cheeseburgers and holiday dishes.
More wines to enjoy throughout the holidays are the 2016 Salvador and the 2015 Dolly Llama, a nicely structured red wine blend with a lovely finish. Dolly Llama showcases grapes from three sub-AVAs within the Paso Robles region – Willow Creek District, El Pomar District, and Wild Horse Estate fruit from the Templeton Gap District AVA. Wild Horse welcomes outside picnics or call ahead to reserve their Cheese & Charcuterie plates ($14-18/pp).
“We’re not a large event facility. We keep our groups small and intimate. From January through December, there are only about 13 of us and we know one another well,” said Nicki. “We’re very proud to be part of that open, warm relationship our founder Ken Volk had with his guests,” said Nicki. “We’re a part of his vision, his plan, and his style of winemaking; and we’re going to stay true to that!”
Wild Horse Happenings
Succulent Wreath-Making for Wine Club members.
Limit 25. RSVP requested.
Sip and Paint provides guided instruction and supplies for your personal masterpiece. Call the winery to reserve your spot!