Dracaena Wines, Paso Robles, CA
We made a plan to hang out with Lori from Dracaena Wines, during our trip to Paso Robles. She was so excited to show us all the iconic places of the region, and I was hopeful that we’d get to see her vineyard and winery, too. I met Lori on #WiningHourChat and knew we’d be friends once I found out they made a Cabernet Franc. After hearing about their wine for a couple years on the chat, this was the day that I was finally going to be able to taste it. I’m not a Cabernet Franc expert, by any means, but I used to pour one at the Winery Collective and I always enjoyed it. My favorite part about the plan was that we’d get to taste the Dracaena wine next to the vines that produced it. How cool!
Since this was our first visit to Paso Robles, Lori was telling us a lot about the area. She explained that the 40 degree shift in temperature from night to day contributes to the unique flavor of the wines. This temperature gradient combined with the town being only 14 miles from the ocean is what makes Paso a great place to grow grapes. Her wine making facility and vineyard are both located on the East side, near the airport in Paso Robles. They make wine in a shared facility but they are considered their own winery because of the licenses that they hold. Funny thing about the area where you find their winery is that it’s a commercial area “that will be developed soon”, apparently these signs have been in place longer than she can remember. The day that we visited, there was winemaking in process by the other co-owners so we weren’t able to go inside.
Nearby, we found Plummer Vineyard with the Cabernet Franc grapes. Lori and Michael work with Joe, the grape grower who tends to their crop. It is part of a larger shared vineyard where multiple people “own” different sections. They even have more than one section so they can have a variation in their two Cabernet Franc wines. They check in with Joe throughout the year to ensure the grapes are progressing as they expect. They’ve found that they can achieve the wine flavor they want by waiting until the seeds inside the grape are brown. This seems pretty meticulous but that’s no surprise when you consider that Lori and Michael both have scientific degrees. Michael is the winemaker and splits his time between his day job as food scientist and the winery.
Lori has been studying forever, earning a total of 3 degrees, and now she spends her days teaching. This prevents her from being in California full time, but she more than makes up for it with all the social media, podcasts and newsletters she creates for Dracaena Wines. I’ve seen her social media presence and all the different projects she’s involved in and can’t believe she can do it all!
Now that we knew a little more about the winery, vineyard, and Lori and Michael, it was time to taste the wine! Lori started us with their 2017 rosé of Syrah, a new part of their portfolio. We swirled the wine and checked out the grapes surrounding us. Although the Syrah grapes don’t come from this same vineyard, it was great to sip this chilled rosé on a warm day in California. I picked up aromas of strawberry yogurt and citrus. The flavor was light and clean with a soft finish, while also being zesty. Like I said, a perfect wine to sit outside and relax with. Our second wine was the Cabernet Franc that I could hardly wait to taste. The wine we’d be tasting was one of the final bottles of the 2015 vintage. This wine had dark fruit, earth, blueberry and yogurt aromas leaping from the glass. I felt the wine was dry with dark fruit, soft and smooth, a nice amount of acid and a light spice. I knew I’d want to try it again so we purchased her last bottle to bring home and pair with some cheese.* We probably spent about 30 minutes sipping that glass of Cabernet Franc, taking photos and just enjoying the day. It was all I hoped it could be!
Dracaena wines is only a few years old but they’ve won quite a few accolades for their wines as well as their blog. If you haven’t had a chance to try their wine yet, you’re in luck because they just released their new vintage at the beginning of the month. Maybe you’ve met Lori online and know her as the lady who has the dog on her label. As you flip through today’s photos you’ll see their second Weimaraner, named Vegas, the spoke dog for their Wine Club. The dog on their label is Draco, their first weimaraner and inspiration for the name Dracaena Wines.
We were able to spend the entire day with Lori, but we had to bring our time at her vineyard to a close. What a personal experience to have! During a visit to another winery that day, we heard that Lori and Micheal will be considering a white wine for an upcoming vintage, so keep your eye out for that in the future. For now, if you can’t find their wine, look online for Lori and she’ll definitely share all her wine tips and tricks with you. Did you know they offer weekly wine blog posts? So much to find on https://dracaenawines.com!
*This cheese pairing will occur any day now so check back to read all about it!