Shortly after John Munch moved to Paso Robles in 1978, he acquired a bond to build a winery at his home property. Located at 3333 Vine Hill Lane, this served as the original bonded site of Adelaida Cellars, which John founded in 1981. He and his partners subsequently settled on a vineyard and winery site further west, but the bond remained intact, as did John’s dream of someday building a winery there…
Fast forward to 2010: After a dozen years of producing Le Cuvier wines in a funky but appropriately-sized shed way out on Adelaida Road, John and his business partner Mary Fox finalized plans to build a new winery at 3333 Vine Hill Lane. Our first harvest at the new place was in 2011; the tasting room officially opened Harvest Festival Weekend in October of that year. The entire operation—crush pad, production area, barrel room and wine library—were built into the narrow hillside, making for a compact and efficient facility with the spectacular views that lured John up Vine Hill Lane three decades earlier. Below, a synopsis of our location’s features:
The Tasting Room
Boasting a cozy home environment, our tasting room is decorated with bright Provencal-inspired colors. Simply walk up to one of the serving tables, and enjoy Le Cuvier’s fine wines and hors d’oeuvres. Then soak in the views from the large picture windows and doors.
Le Cuvier was first in Paso Robles wine country to feature hors d’oeuvres as part of the regular wine tasting experience—and we continue that tradition today. Adjoining the tasting room, the kitchen is fully equipped with commercial equipment (minus the microwave). Cheryl Keast, our in-house chef, prepares all of her homemade food pairings onsite.
The half-mile long road leading to the site climbs about 200 feet up to the home property. Once there, visitors are greeted by sweeping views of the Salinas River basin northeast and west of Paso Robles. Enjoy a packed lunch on our patio or sit in one of our Adirondacks and simply soak it all in.
The Barrel Room
Located on the facility’s bottom tier, the Barrel Room is the first structure guests see as they drive up to our hilltop location. Because it is built into the hillside, we benefit—ecologically & economically—from the natural cooling provided by the hillside storage. This is where our famous neutral barrel aging occurs, and—yes—we do occasionally host barrel tastings.
The Library Room
Le Cuvier has been collecting wines made by John Munch from vintages dating back to the early 1980s. These days, we cellar three cases of every current release wine and re-release them after years of aging. As a result, the Library Room—located directly below the tasting room—cellars thousands of bottles. Select wines are available for members to purchase, and some of the rarest selections make appearances at winery dinners and tastings.
The Production Area
The production area of our new winery, situated on the second level, is the heart of operations. The crush pad, appropriately, is where grapes are de-stemmed and crushed at harvest time. It is located immediately adjacent to the nattily decorated fermentation room, which is pictured here. During harvest, guests can simply peer outside the tasting room to safely observe forklift-driving winemakers at work.