As you amble down quiet San Marcos Road you come to a large Mediterranean style building tucked into the hillside covered with dozens of brightly colored rose bushes balanced with its mustard colored stucco exterior. The gravel path leads you past gardens of lavender, rosemary, and sage to the complex of buildings of Rabbit Ridge Winery. The owner earned his nickname “The Rabbit” as a world class runner in college.
The original winery operation started in Healdsburg in 1988, and moved to Paso Robles in 2003. The new 55,000 square foot state-of-the-art winery is an impressive ivy covered structure with outdoor patios and high archways. The tasting room hunkers down in the cavernous barrel room facility with the simple tasting bar made from skirted wood planks over wine barrels. There is some limited wine related merchandise for sale.
The winery owns five separate vineyards, all located on the west side of highway 101 where the rugged, rocky, calcareous soils and unique micro climates contribute to the grapes distinctive qualities. With the ocean only 10 to 15 miles to the west the vineyards, this area can be warm during the day but cool down dramatically at night-- sometimes dropping 40 or even 50 degrees from the high of the day.
The winery is a high-tech, gravity flow design that uses the sloping hillsides to transfer the wine. The grapes are crushed at the top of the hill with the press area and tank room 22 feet below. A sister brand is their value priced Wild Hare label. They produce Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio, Sangiovese, Primitivo, Syrah, Viognier, Roussanne, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petite Sirah, and some Rhone blends.