As a tiny Paso Robles vintner, Rio Seco offers uniquely hand-crafted wines, specializing in Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Syrah, Viognier and Roussanne. Their unpretentious tasting room is friendly and casual.
Family-owned and operated, the boutique winery embraces a philosophy of semi-dry farming which brings low yields and robust fruit to the harvest. The vineyard was planted in 1997 on property overlooking the Huerhuero River on the eastside of Paso Robles. Currently the 64-acre parcel has 31 acres planted.
The winery is a red roofed barn with a addition that houses the gift shop and tasting room. It is set in the middle of the vineyard with a few tables and BBQ grills available for picnickers. Inside the metal structure, the white foam insulated ceilings create a cool ice-cave atmosphere. There are lots of gift items for sale from the gourmet olives (which they grow on the property) and spices to toys for the kids. There are two tasting bars that are made from giant burl wood with carved panels. A casual atmosphere is the rule of the day as the owners chat with the visitors, and pour their delicious wines.
The owners, Tom & Carol Hinkle, are long time county residents with Tom Hinkle being known in baseball coaching and scouting circles. One of his coaching stints was locally at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, where he can count Ozzie Smith and Mike Krukow among his collegiate recruiting successes. Tom has been with the Toronto Blue Jays as a professional scout since 1982, and currently serves as their western states scouting supervisor. He also signed Randy Johnson and Mark Gardiner, and was part of two World Series championship teams. (At the winery try some of his “Clubhouse White”, and “MVP Reserve”.)
Carol Hinkle, an athlete herself, keeps things humming at the winery and tasting room and threatens to name a bottle “Mostly Mom” for all the work she puts in.