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Media Contact: Susan West
Phone: 805-237-3789
Fax: 805-237-1730


VINO Summer Central Coast Edition 2012 |
Clautiere Vineyard:
Wine with whimsy
Fall down the rabbit hole and hold onto your glass…
Story by Hayley Thomas/VINO

Who said wine can’t be both
sophisticated and whimsical?
The folks at Clautiere Vineyard
are dedicated to creating a
magical wine tasting experience
for their customers, and it
all begins with their colorful
tasting room off Union Road
in east Paso Robles.

Tasters enter the property through twisting,
twirling metal gates and are greeted by
mosaic orbs hanging from the gnarled limbs
of an ancient oak tree. Reflective sculptures
glint through fanciful foliage leading up to
the main event: A tasting room that pleases
both your inner-child and your palate. Boasting
black-and-white checkered floors, periwinkle
colored walls and a “play room”
equipped with zany hats and multicolored
wigs, the interior space is a true Alice in
Wonderland experience. I fell down the rabbit
hole and held onto my glass.
First, I was thrilled to try many of the
Clautiere Vineyard’s famous wine and
cheese pairings. The delicious morsels —
also available for sale at the tasting room are
provided by Vivant Fine Cheese.
The 2009 Syrah was fabulous paired
with a parmesan-style cheese soaked in Merlot,
and the combination of its 2008 Estate
Roussanne with a dab of strong blue cheese
was to-die-for-delicious. Tasters are treated
to six wines and six cheeses, which vary
each month.
“Clautiere wines are the most foodfriendly
wines,” said Clautiere Vineyard
consultant Susan West. “Like our syrah, it’s
very fine. It’s not this big, huge, jammy
taste, where there’s no room. With Clautiere
wines, there’s room on your palate for food.”
That’s thanks to winemaker Terry
Brady, who owns the winery alongside
Claudine Blackwell, creator of the vineyard’s
signature fencing and magical mosaics.

The boutique winery produces about
3,000 cases of quality, estate-grown wine
per year, including viognier, cabernet sauvignon,
syrah and blends.
The 57-acre vineyard
boasts 13 varietals in total.
The winery also offers its second label,
Two Cocky Sisters. At $14 per bottle and a
pair-with-anything flavor profile, it’s a solid
everyday buy. The red is a mellow, tasty
Rhone blend.
West said Claudine is “the director of
fantasy,” while Terry is “the director of reality.”
The name of the winery is a combination
of their names.
“Claudine and Terry are really happy
human beings,” said West, who helped open
the tasting room back in 2003. “You can’t be
crabby when you walk into a purple tasting
room with lime green drapes and big flowers
everywhere. It’s that kind of Alice in Wonderland
kind of fun, but with a serious bend
toward the wines. As much as we have the
fun part, we also want to present wines that
are very nice. It’s a whole experience.”
Glittering orbs created by Clautiere co-owner Claudine Blackwell add a fanciful flair to an interesting tasting experience.
That experience is one of top-notch
tastings and good times. The winery owners
are friends and lovers of the drag queen culture.
The first event the winery ever threw
was a drag show, with the name “Clautiere”
referenced in each dazzling dance number.
The winery encourages tasters of all walks
of life to take a strut on the wild side.
“You see the straightest-laced people
come in here, and no matter how old they
are, or if they’re ‘manly men’ or whatever,
they come in here and put on a hat or a wig
and take on that personality and let loose,”
said West. “It does my heart good to see the
bar filled with everybody from 22 to 80 with
wigs and hats on, having a really good time.
It’s hysterical.”
Assistant Tasting Room Manager
Kirsten Helgeson said she’s seen her fair
share of “strapping young men” come in and
try on hot pink wigs.
More than anything, the winery is a
place to let go and simply enjoy life, wine
and the wonderment of every day.
“We feel as though angels are smiling
down on Clautiere because there’s so much
fun and laughter here,” said Blackwell. “The
minute you get out of your car, the magic begins.”
Clautiere Vineyard is located at 1340
Penman Springs Road, Paso Robles. The
tasting room is open Thursday through Monday
from noon to 5 p.m. Call 805-237-3789
for more information, “like” the winery on
Facebook or go to
CLAUTIERE continued from page 65
Clautiere Vineyard owners Terry Brady
and Claudine Blackwell embrace while
surrounded by the efforts of their labors.
Brady creates quality, estate-grown wine
and Claudine creates unique artwork,
which graces the gardens and tasting
The tasting room at Clautiere Vineyard is
whimsical, offering tasters a one-of-a-kind

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