Attn: Lola Glossner
Media Contact: PasoPort Wine Company
THE TRIBUNE - SAN LUIS OBISPO
Vintner Finds Port Is Right
Over the past 15 years, Paso Robles winemaking consultant Steve Glossner has developed a reputation for making high quality red wines for some of the most acclaimed wineries on the west side of the local wine country.
Starting in 1994, as winemaker for Justin Vineyards and Winery, when he made the famed Isosceles â€” which was awarded the international Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande Trophy for the worldâ€™s best blended red wine â€” he has been recognized as an expert in blending Rhone varietal wines.
Later, through his experience as winemaker for Adelaida Cellars, Halter Ranch, and other small startups, Glossner has continued to focus on red Rhones.
So it may come as a surprise that his new winery, his first independent venture, does not involve Rhone varietals at all.
His new Paso Port Wine Company is focused on crafting fortified, dessert-style wines from traditional Portuguese grapes.
â€œFrom the very beginning when I was consulting, I wanted to do a brand of my own,â€ Glossner explains, â€œbut I didnâ€™t want to do the same old thing, and I didnâ€™t want to do something that could be competitive with the people I was consulting for.â€
Glossner, who currently has a handful of clients that include Kiamie Wine Cellars, Steinbeck Vineyards, Indian Valley and Shimmin Canyon, started his experimentation with port style wines as a lark.
â€œI had always been interested in the art and science of distillation, and I got some grapes in 2005 and I started it out as just a fun project,â€ Glossner recalls. â€œAnd you know, it turned out better than I could have ever imagined!â€ And, he says, â€œI had a lot of fun doing it. That was what was most important.â€
That first year he made just 200 cases from zinfandel and syrah grapes.
The following year he struck a long-term agreement with local vineyard owner Don Rose to buy all the Portuguese fruit he was growing in his vineyard west of Paso Robles, and made 700 cases.
He developed a portfolio that includes four styles of port: two ruby ports, one from California varietals, the other from Portuguese varietals, and two aged ports, including a tawny port and a unique white port.
During this time, Richard and Deanne Gonzales approached Glossner about his interest in a tasting room location they had initially planned for themselves, but were several years away from needing.
â€œWhen Deanne and Richard approached me about the possibility of leasing this space, and potentially developing vineyard ground on the property, it just all clicked,â€ Glossner says.
Glossner opened the new Paso Port tasting room on March 13. The day before the opening, Glossner was married by long time friend Cindy Steinbeck Newkirk, to his wife, Lola. The wedding was small, with just good friends and family attending. The grand opening was not. More than 250 people packed into the 2,300-square-foot space. â€œThe marriage was easy compared to the opening,â€ Glossner said with a smile. Because of their busy schedules, the Glossners have not had time to take a honeymoon, but they are planning to take a trip to Portugal sometime late this year or early next.
Glossner, 44, also runs his consulting business out of a small office in the new tasting room, and he sees both businesses ideally suited to each other.
â€œConsulting is really rewarding because Iâ€™m really providing an essential piece to the businessâ€™s success,â€ he explains.
As for the port side, he says, â€œItâ€™s almost the antithesis of table wine production, and for me itâ€™s the creative juices that keeps me thinking about what Iâ€™m doing and how Iâ€™m doing it.â€
The tasting room is a quaint farmhouse on an idyllic corner with horses grazing in the grass, and birds flying over the pond.
Twenty-five acres of walnut trees provide nuts for the Glossnersâ€™ walnut oil, which is also sold at the tasting room.
He hopes someday to have a distillerâ€™s permit that would allow him to make walnut liqueur, as well as the brandy that goes into his fortification process.
â€œWe can come in and take this farm stand approach of agriculture and come up with unique products that people arenâ€™t going to get down the road,â€ Glossner says, â€œthatâ€™s where weâ€™re really trying to focus.â€
PasoPort Wine Co.
6996 Peachy Canyon Road, (corner of Peachy Canyon Road and Vineyard Drive), Paso Robles, 239-2229
Owners: Steve and Lola Glossner
Winemaker: Steve Glossner
Cases produced: 2,000 in 2008
Wines: Ruby port, tawny port, white port
Tasting Room Hours: Thursday â€“ Monday, 11 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Online: www.pasoportwine.com (Web site expected by up by June 15.)
Janis Switzer can be reached at 805.434.5394 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.