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Media Contact: Joseph Finora
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New Tasting Experience Grows from ‘Gap’

[Paso Robles] By bringing a grape variety that may have been cultivated during the Roman Empire into the modern era, Orchid Hill Vineyards Viognier is turning heads in and out of Paso Robles.

"We would not be surprised if the release of Orchid Hill Viognier starts a Viognier craze," says Mike Schenkhuizen, a Paso Robles winemaking pioneer and president of Orchid Hill Vineyards. Veteran California winemaker Dan Kleck oversaw production of Orchid Hill’s 2004 Viognier.

In a business where originality can be hard to find, Orchid Hill Viognier delivers subtle flavors behind a striking bouquet. This low-acid wine offers a pleasantly smooth, light taste yet maintains its versatility as it can be served with either a main course or dessert. It may be just what many wine lovers are seeking – something new.

"We believe this wine may be a harbinger of the future of Paso Robles wine making," says Orchid Hill sales and marketing director Victor Brandstetter. "Our initial tests with San Francisco-area wine buyers have been nothing but positive. While Viognier may not yet be well known outside of Paso Robles, we expect this to change as more people come to know it. We’re confident Orchid Hill Viognier will have a very bright future."

Production of Orchid Hill’s Viognier has been limited with only about 110 cases but this should create a good foundation for its introduction.

While traditionally cultivated in France’s Condrieu region and considered challenging to grow, Viognier has firmly taken root in Paso Robles. At Orchid Hill, Viognier is considered a grape with great potential and may represent the "new wave" in California viticulture.

"This wine is bursting with flavor," notes Schenkhuizen. "We’re honored to be able to bring this grape, which has had such a noble but nearly forgotten tradition in Europe, out from history and into the hands of a select group of retailers and restaurateurs."

What it means to be ‘Grown in the Gap’
Orchid Hill Vineyards is located in Paso Robles, on California’s Central Coast. On the west side of this region, are the hills and valleys of what’s called, "The Templeton Gap," a genuine place that grows some of the world’s finest wine grapes. Warm days, cool sea breezes and a thin, calcareous-shale limestone soil help the Orchid Hill vines to become strong and productive. These factors enable us to produce some of the finest, handcrafted wines in central California.

In addition to Viognier, Orchid Hill Vineyards produces: Pinot Noir, Zinfandel, Zinfandel Primi, Grenache and Syrah.

Orchid Hill 2002 Syrah
Critic Robert Parker described Orchid Hill 2002 Syrah in The Wine Advocate, as a "deep ruby/purple-hued" and "displays peppery, spicy, earthy flavors with lovely black currant and cherry notes, medium body, a layered palate and admirable purity as well as depth…It is a fine Syrah to drink over the next three to four years."

Affairs of the Vine, said our Syrah is an "Affair to Remember," displaying "Bright, black raspberry fruit with lots of oak and spice on the finish. A nice wine!" We think so too.
Orchid Hill Pinot Noir

There are few grape varieties as challenging, complex and rewarding as Pinot Noir. And Orchid Hill Pinot Noir is no exception. Many say for the red-wine lover, Pinot Noir is as good as it gets. We couldn’t agree more.

Like our other wines, Orchid Hill Pinot Noir is handpicked after we carefully measure acidity, sugar content and flavor levels. Then, after harvesting, we de-stem and very lightly crush the fruit into small. A slow fermentation helps create a memorable bouquet and other striking characteristics.

Orchid Hill Grenache – A Wine for All Seasonings
At Orchid Hill we make a Grenache that is light, pleasant and fruity. An ideal sparkler for lunch or dinner, Orchid Hill Grenache is full of personality. We’re confident you’ll remember it for some time to come. Our Grenache can be counted on to deliver delightful red and black fruit flavor and a medium to full body that can be served with a wide variety of foods, from cooked meats to pizza to fresh fruit and light cheeses.

Key Personnel at Orchid Hill Vineyards:
Mike Schenkhuizen, founder
Dan Kleck, chief winemaker
Jim Smoot, viticulturist
Victor L. Brandstetter, director of sales and marketing

For further information, members of the media may contact: Joseph Finora at:
631-298-4086 /

OFFICE (510)783-0116 FAX (510)783-7252
(805) 226-7448 FAX (805) 226-7463

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