After traveling the state for years searching for the perfect piece of dirt to grow grapes that would produce highly-acclaimed wines, Ron Denner finally found exactly what he was looking for in the far western reaches of Paso Robles in 1997. He began planting the first few acres in 1999, which has now grown to a total of 130-acres, consisting of 20 different grape varieties and counting.
They designed his estate winery to fit into the rolling hills of the surrounding vineyard — allowing them to exercise only the gentlest touch on the incoming grapes. Through our gravity flow process, they can showcase exactly what the vineyard and the vintage gives them and produce wines that are both powerful and finessed.
Their 156 acres press up against the Santa Lucia Range, giving the site great diversity of elevation, aspect and soil. Previously dry farmed barley, the estate is nestled into the Templeton Gap, an East/West corridor where the marine layer can reach the inland valleys. As a result, they receive large diurnal temperature swings without high moisture pressure, giving them a near perfect growing climate.
The original 96-acres were designed and planted by John Crossland of Beckstoffer fame. Later, Justin Smith of Saxum came on to consult with Aron Nevarez, their Vineyard Manager. Since 2005, Aron has had complete control of all vineyard operations, including the designing and planting of the 12 acres surrounding the winery. He is committed to environmentally friendly farming practices, using only sustainable inputs and minimal irrigation. The belief that timeliness is the key to sustainable farming allows him to proactively approach any issue before it would require chemical intervention. Aron’s hands-on approach and years of experience with the vineyard allow him to produce the quality fruit Denner is known for harvest after harvest.
Ron Denner, proprietor, has a stellar resume including: USC, MBA, Phi Beta Kappa, Army Infantry captain. Until recently owned the Ditch Witch dealerships for Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, and Idaho. Dumb lucky guy who has been blessed and is now chasing his last rainbow of having a world-class winery and you can be the judge.
The Dodd-Hinsdale house (circa 1879) was originally built for Mayor William H. Dodd on a lot given to him by his parents in 1871. In 1993, Ted Reynolds and his family obtained an Option to Purchase the property and quickly went about developing a strategy to restore the property to its initial grandeur and set into motion the restoration project to transform the home into a restaurant.
Opened in 1997, Second Empire Restaurant, located in the elegantly restored Dodd-Hinsdale house, combines history, atmosphere, and gourmet cuisine for an unforgettable dining experience.
Their Main Dinner Menu changes every month and features Chef Daniel Schurr’s creations from the freshest seasonal ingredients. This menu is offered on the main floor dining areas and the Tavern.
Their delectable menu and polished service has won them the AAA Four Diamond Award, the DiRoNa Award and the Wine Spectator Award of Excellence since 1998 will assure you a truly unique dining experience.