Midnight Cellars » Profile
Midnight Magic, Stellar Wines. An obligatory visit on your quest for California's finest wines. Family -owned and operated, our award-winning wines include exemplary Syrah, Zinfandel, extraordinary red blends, Chardonnay, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. Picnic in the backyard and enjoy a moment with our friendly hosts. You may even run into our superlunary winemaker! Tasting daily 10 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. (10:00 - 5:00 winter hours) 2925 Anderson Road, Paso Robles, off Highway 46 West, two miles West of Highway 101.
While still living in Chicago, Rich and Michele Hartenberger enjoyed vacationing in the wine countries of California with Rich's parents, Bob and Mary Jane. Over the course of several years of visits to Paso Robles, Napa, Sonoma, Santa Ynez, and other California wine regions, it became clear to the Hartenbergers that the lifestyle of a vintner would be very desirable.
While at a Napa tasting room, one off-handed remark from Rich to his father started the ball rolling. Rich suggested that when Bob retired he should put some of his money into a winery and have Michele and himself run it for him. "The next thing I knew", Rich said, "Mom's calling and saying Dad's looking at real estate." Bob hunted for property in wine regions around the state. He looked at Napa, Sonoma and Temecula and then settled on the Central Coast. Bob believed that the North County of San Luis Obispo had just the right balance. Land was far less expensive than in Northern California, yet it was renowned for producing premium wines, particularly ruby-rich reds.
Four years after Rich made that fateful comment, he was pulling up his Chicago roots and starting a winery in Paso Robles with his wife, parents, and brother Mike. This event coupled with a tremendous enthusiasm for fine wine led to the establishment of Midnight Cellars in May 1995. The final licensing came through in May 1996, just in time to hold their grand opening with their very first releases at that year's Paso Robles Wine Festival.
Bob and Mary Jane Hartenberger are the major stockholders in this family-run operation. Bob, a patent attorney, and Mary Jane moved from Chicago to Glendale in 1990. Rich became the winemaker under the careful direction of a consultant. He carries out all the winemaking duties on the premises, learning skills from winemaking books, practical experience, college chemistry and, of course, his valued consultant.
Midnight Cellars Estate started out as a barley farm. The family added insulation and an addition to the horse barn and converted it into a winery. The barley farm has been replaced with 30 acres of vines, comprised of Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Zinfandel, Syrah and Petit Verdot.
"The tasting rooms in this area are so pleasant and comfortable," Bob says. "The winemakers create this atmosphere. They don't display or discuss the huge amount of work that's involved in winemaking."
2925 Anderson Road
Paso Robles, 93446
Open Daily 10 a.m. - 5:30 p.m., Winter hours 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.
$5; waived with wine purchase
Red Meritage Blend
White Rhône Blend
Red Tuscan Blends