Tobin James Cellars » Profile
TOBIN JAMES CELLARS--IT'S ALL TRUE!
A visit to Tobin James Cellars Winery and Tasting Room, has enthusiastic tasters enjoying unforgettable "Paso Robles in a Glass" wines at our notorious, grand, 150-year-old bar. Tobin James crafts intense fruit driven wines- Zinfandels, Cabernet Sauvignons, Syrahs, Chardonnays, Merlot, Liquid Love" Dessert Zinfandel, and many others. Bring your picnic. Join the legendary James Gang! Open 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. daily. Located on Hwy 46 East, 9 miles east of HWY 101. 8950 Union Road, Paso Robles, CA 93446. 805.239.2204 www.tobinjames.com
Built from the ground up on the site of an old stagecoach stop, it might seem more natural to stroll into the old-western-style saloon, place your booted foot upon the brass rail of the bar, and order a shot of whiskey from the bartender. But in the Tobin James tasting room, outstanding wines are poured from behind the grand, antique 1860's Brunswick mahogany bar from Blue Eye, Missouri.
Tobin "Toby" James was born in San Francisco and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio. Toby knew from the time he was 18 years old that he wanted to make wine. He also knew that he wanted to have fun with it, which is why Toby says, "The notorious James Gang rebels and rowdies well-deserving of their reputation are alive and well and doing business at Tobin James Cellars."
Toby was working in his brother's wine shop in Cincinnati when Gary Eberle walked in to promote the Estrella River label. Before Gary left, Toby had secured himself an invitation to apprentice at Estrella River Winery. Shortly thereafter, Toby headed west and began working at the winery. Soon he was managing the barrel room and handling all the Southern California marketing for the label. Gary was so impressed with Toby's versatility that when he left to start his own Eberle Winery, he invited Toby to come with him as assistant winemaker.
Toby's own first vintage came about in 1987 when a local grape harvester showed up at Eberle's doorstep with six tons of Zinfandel grapes he was willing to give away that were refused by another winery. Toby took the fruit, made his first wine, and as the awards poured in, Tobin James Cellars was born.
In 1989, Toby made a deal to make Peachy Canyon's wine in exchange for the use of the winery facility to make his own label. His first wine, a Zinfandel, earned 69th place in Wine Spectator’s 1992 “Top 100 Wines of the World.” In 1992, Toby purchased 41 acres at the end of Union Road, a parcel once known to Paso Robles locals as the 10-mile stagecoach stop. Toby built Tobin James Cellars there. His dream of having his own winery had come true.
In 1997 Lance and Claire Silver joined the winery and became co-owners. Lance's business and wine marketing expertise have increased distribution so that Tobin James Cellars wines can now be found in many of the finest restaurants and wine shops. Lance is most proud of the fact that even though production has increased; the wines have gotten even better over the years. Tobin James Cellars does not submit wines for scores or reviews to insure that their wines are always available in the Tasting Room and to its loyal James Gang Wine Club Members.
Lance and Claire have organized a very exciting wine club. Per the Silvers, "when you consider the incredible array of wines, the unbelievable price and the unique events the club offers, you'll ask for a membership yourself. Our wine club packages are designed with one thing in mind; that when a 'James Gang' member opens the box, we expect a big WOW! Each shipment is a spectacular surprise."
Toby, Lance, and Claire like to have fun with their wines which is why you'll often find them behind the bar pouring wine and socializing with guests. It is also very likely to discover them giving an impromptu tour of the barrel room, where they sometimes give samples of "Liquid Love."
Tobin James is famous for crafting spectacular Zinfandels. He creates as many as ten different Zinfandel wines a year, all uniquely and incredibly wonderful. A huge following has developed for all of his opulent big reds; especially the Blue Moon Reserve Zinfandel, the "5" Bordeaux Blend, the James Gang Reserve Syrah, the Silver Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, and the famous Late Harvest Zinfandel dubbed "Liquid Love."
Toby set out to establish a complete old Western style tasting room as only he could do. In addition to the grandiose, 150 year old ornate mahogany bar, there's always lively Country Rock music casually playing while you're enjoying the company of the fun and knowledgeable staff and tasting the amazing array of fine wines. Children are always welcome (free video games!)
In describing the antiques and rarities that fill the tasting room, Toby says, "There are ghosts attached to some of this stuff. I bet there's been a lot of wild conversations across that old bar, and a lot of deals that went down..."
8950 Union Road
Paso Robles, 93446
Open daily 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.; only closed Christmas Day
Red Meritage Blend
Late Harvest Merlot
Late Harvest Zinfandel
Late Harvest Sauvignon Blanc