Tin City in Paso Robles lets you visit multiple tasting rooms without the winery tour – Orange County Register

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Ah, wine country! The long drives on bumpy back roads, the expensive tasting rooms that look like Versailles, the smelly vineyard dog lounging at your feet. Wouldn’t it be nice to park in an interesting city neighborhood, walk around and sample some unusual wines in a trendy, laid-back environment, maybe buy a picnic and enjoy a really good meal – or even a tasty craft beer – between tastings room visits?

Welcome to Tin City, emblematic of a trend that is transforming the California wine world and attracting people who wouldn’t have died on a “wine road”.

Neighborhoods like Tin City, near Paso Robles on the Central Coast, were born out of economic necessity. In many California wine regions, success comes at a cost – literally. Small winemakers looking to open production facilities and tasting rooms have found themselves priced out of rapidly appreciating real estate markets. Rents in downtown neighborhoods, where off-the-beaten-path wineries can showcase their wares to a wider audience, are often out of reach.

And over the past decade, the tastes and habits of wine consumers have also changed. Younger wine lovers are more interested in an intimate, laid-back experience that involves meeting the winemaker, seeing how the wine is produced as they taste it, and experiencing the wine as part of an experience. wider sensory, aesthetic and gustatory.

The result has been the emergence of wine-friendly neighborhoods in outlying urban areas where the costs of building and operating a winery facility are more affordable and wineries are only part of the scene. You can find them in Santa Barbara, Lompoc and – perhaps more successfully – in Paso Robles, a town in the middle of one of California’s fastest growing wine regions, where Tin City has set a standard impressive for the concept.

An industrial neighborhood off the 101 about four miles south of downtown Paso — which for many years was home to pool builders, air conditioning installers, auto repair shops and other unglamorous businesses — has transformed over the past decade into a paradise for artisanal winemakers, distillers, brewers and several high-end businesses, including a delicatessen and a Michelin-starred restaurant.

Young winegrowers looking for a low-cost establishment were the first to discover the district. In 2011, Andrew Jones envisioned it as the perfect location for his new passion project, a winery he would call Field Recordings. “I was looking for something affordable and quiet. It was a good place for an upstart winery,” Jones said in a 2021 interview with Pix.

Soon after, husband-and-wife team Brian and Stephanie Terrizzi signed a lease on a nearby building for their offbeat vineyard, Giornata. It was a smart move that gave young winemakers a unique platform for their unusual wines and turned them into trailblazers as Tin City took off.

The makeover continued in 2013 when BarrelHouse Brewing Co. opened the doors to its craft brewery and hiking gardens, where bands frequently perform on an impromptu stage – an old flatbed truck. You’ll also find some other very un-brewing touches, like a fantastic man-made waterfall.

BarrelHouse and the small band of fledgling winemakers established a beachhead, drawing thirsty crowds to the area for the first time, and it inspired a growing influx of artisan winemakers and other related businesses. Many of them rented rustic spaces from Mike English, a pool company owner who owned property in the area. New buildings have sprung up, mimicking the rustic style of the original structures. Locals started calling the area Tin City, and the name stuck.

Midway through the decade, a second, larger wave of new tenants began to arrive. “We always thought it was a booming neighborhood, based on the success of (neighbourhoods similar to) Lompoc and Santa Barbara. It definitely had legs,” says Jeff Strekas, director of operations and viticulture for ONX Wines. Its Tin City plant opened in 2015.

Strekas loves the entrepreneurial spirit of Tin City and the mutual generosity of the winemakers who call it home. “There are a lot of synergies with the vineyards here. There is always a forklift close by if you need it. We have the ability to help each other and share material. This good neighborliness also leads to an exchange of ideas – the benefit of any shared workspace where like-minded and ambitious people gather.

Some might complain that Tin City is too successful. Parking spaces can be difficult to find in the streets and lots surrounding its 33 storefronts. You’ll find mostly respected “garage” winemakers here, but there’s also a healthy mix of other businesses: Tin City Cider Co., the hugely popular restaurant Six Test Kitchen (in September 2021, it became County’s first restaurant from San Luis Obispo to earn a Michelin star), Negranti Creamery, McPhee’s Canteen and Etto Pastificio, an Italian gourmet deli run by Brian and Stephanie Terrizzi.

The vibe of Tin City is industrial chic with a farmhouse flair. It’s comfortable and relaxed. Metal siding is the dominant building material, but its hard-edged look is softened by soft pastel colors and whimsical, imaginative winery logos. Some winemakers have indulged in whimsical flights of fancy in their designs. The Field Recordings Tasting Room, for example, was meticulously constructed to resemble a high school gymnasium, right down to realistic details like team pennants and lockers lining the walls.

Murals and other works of art dot the Tin City landscape. Even the nearby train tracks seem to have been included in the design aesthetic. On some terraces, you can watch passenger and freight trains pass by a few meters away.

One of Tin City’s biggest draws is convenience. You can visit multiple tasting rooms, sip a craft beer for contrast, eat a great meal, and even pick up some groceries without getting in your car.

“It’s an area where there’s a lot to do,” says Strekas. “I think we see a more diverse crowd here than at the winery, and it gives us the chance to introduce ourselves to people who might not otherwise be into wine culture.”

But perhaps Tin City’s best feature is that it’s a much-needed antidote to the traditional wine country experience. It makes a sometimes rarefied world more accessible, less clubby, and part of a larger, more diverse landscape. And you won’t encounter a single vineyard dog, overpriced gift shop, or pushy wine club salesman.

Tin City Directory

Aaron

3050 Limestone Way, Paso Robles; 805-369-2037

Al Lago Wines

480 Marquita Avenue, Suite B, Paso Robles; 805-235-1947

Barrel House Brewing Co.

3055 Limestone Way, Paso Robles; 805-296-1128

Wines of Benom

3050 Limestone Way, Paso Robles; 805-369-2036

Brian Benson Cellars

2915 Limestone Road, Paso Robles; 805-296-3838

Cloak & Dagger Wines

Ruth Way, Paso Robles; 310-877-0210

CONCUR Wines

2945 Limestone Road, Paso Robles; 805-242-9463

Desparada

3060 Limestone Way, Paso Robles; 805-434-9611

Emercy Wines

3775 Ruth Way, Suite A, Paso Robles; 805-221-5840

End of the day wines

2915 Limestone Road, Paso Robles; 805-237-1480

Etto Pastificio

3070 Limestone Way, Paso Robles; 805-400-3193

Field recordings

3070 Limestone Way, Suite C, Paso Robles; 805-503-9660

Giornata

470 Marquita Avenue, Suite A, Paso Robles; 805-434-3075

Hubba Wines

2929 Limestone Road, Paso Robles; 805-550-8190

Jacob Toft

2929 Limestone Way, Suite A, Paso Robles; 805-550-1633

Kaleidos

3075 Blue Rock Road, Paso Robles; 805-226-0828

Wines Level 3

2915 Limestone Road, Paso Robles; 805-238-2719

Vo

2975 Limestone Way, Paso Robles; 805-400-5994

McPhee’s canteen

3070 Limestone Way, Paso Robles; 805-369-2787

MCV wines

3773 Ruth Way, Suite A, Paso Robles; 805-712-4647

Monochromatic wines

3075 Blue Rock Road, Paso Robles; 805-674-2160

Negranti Creamery

2989 Limestone Way, Paso Robles; 805-369-2663

Nicora

2945 Limestone Road, Paso Robles; 805-400-0039

Golden olives

2989-B Limestone route, Paso Robles; 805-227-4223

ONX Wines

2910 Limestone Way, Paso Robles; 805-434-5607

Powell Mountain Cellars

3050 Blue Rock Road, Paso Robles; 805-434-8097

Wines without cork

2995 Limestone Way, Paso Robles; 805-773-2770

Six-test kitchen

3075 Blue Rock Road, Paso Robles

The Fablenist

3005 Limestone Way, Suite A, Paso Robles; 805-246-1431

Tin City Cider Co.

3005 Limestone Way, Suite A, Paso Robles; 805-293-6349

Turtle Rock Vineyards

3075 Blue Rock Road, Unit A, Paso Robles; 805-674-1889

Sacred Union Vineyard

460 Marquita Avenue, Paso Robles; 805-369-2777

Wine shine

3064 Limestone Road, Paso Robles; 805-286-4453

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