Producer : Caelesta, PASO USA

If you ever take a wrong turn, somewhere in California, when you’re heading for Napa or Sonoma – have a bit of luck and hopefully you’ll end up in Paso Robles in San Luis Obispo County.

Not only is this region in the heart of the West Coast wineland’s but it is also uber trendy and relatively undiscovered globally. It produces some dangerously delicious wines and has winemakers that are doing something different. Aphoras, concrete vats, stainless steel tanks and oak barrels – they are all here. A must to visit ! No wine region has firmly grabbed my attention. If you can imagine getting slapped in the face and stopping dead in your tracks then this region is for you. The wine makes you stop what you’re doing and lets you enjoy the moment. Life stops and for a brief moment in time you are transported into a new world a new experience. Not normally on the radar of most consumers. Paso is increasingly becoming a destination for fabulous and price friendly wines.

Here in Paso Cab Franc ( the fragrant grape ) and Petit Verdot (the squid ink colour grape) seem to be king. Zinfandel and Chardonnay are the reliable family members. Plenty to be getting on with thank you!

Caelesta is owned by Brian Farrell Sir and his wife Denise – while Brian Jnr is the winemaker. Sr. can be seen zooming around on a forklift in the fall while the harvest is on whilst Denise takes over the production facilities. Brian Jnr is the composer in this orchestra – pulling everything together and ensuring everything runs smoothly. No mean feat for a 20 something individual.

Brian (left ) with GW (right )

The vineyard is located in the Templeton Gap AVA situated on an elevated densely planted hilside. This forces each plant to compete more for nutrients and water, therefore decreasing the yield for each vine and enhancing the character of each wine

Having reached the summit of the property there are far reaching views of the region and as such when the sun retreats and the air cools the night sky emerges – the heavens then show off their fabulous astral display. This is the celestial experience or Caelesta (lat.) that names the winery.

As with all embryonic producers in the early days of each vineyards existence most estates would source grapes from the surrounding area (within the region as that would foolhardy from a marketing perspective) until the vines are in a position to bear good enough quality fruit. Usually after 3 years. from 2015- 2019 that’s exactly what Brian did. Resulting in the first harvest in 2019

YEARTitle Varietals AVA or local region Approx Cost

2022whiteChardonnay ViognierTempleton Gap AVA approx $40
2019 Bien Nacido Syrah
2019Vega 100 % GrenacheTempleton Gap AVA approx $50
2019 Bien Nacido Syrah
2019parallax 42% Syrah, 32% Mourvedre, 26% Grenache (GSM)Templeton Gap AVA Approx $60
2019 Bien Nacido Syrah
2019Apogee60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Petite SirahTempleton Gap AVA Approx $60
2019 Bien Nacido Syrah
2019Bien Nacido100% Syrah Central Coast Approx $70
2019 Bien Nacido Syrah
2018Grenache100% GrenacheAdelaida DistrictApprox $70
2019 Bien Nacido Syrah
2018DENNER VINEYARD 100% Syrah Willow Creek AVAApprox $70

Now the secret to wine is to




It doesn’t matter how much you know or don’t know. What characteristics are in what wine. Life is a learning process. Learn what makes a Merlot, a Cab Saul, a Syrah etc. Who cares if you get the characteristics wrong only you do! Take notes and learn from your experience. If you don’t like red fruits in your wine that’s a great start. Just bear in mind red wines, on the whole, are either black or red fruits.

The wine governing body (WSET) for all wine exams breaks down all wines in nose (sniff) Palate (taste). Im sure they wouldn’t mind me highlighting this point.

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Hotter climates tend to have higher temperatures. When that happens grapes tend to have more sugar. All sugar turns to alcohol so expect higher alcohol levels and more noticeable fruit characteristics.

So what did I experience here (tasting reviews to follow – Sign up to my newsletter to be kept in touch with anything new )

Watch out for the interview with Brian Jr soon

in conversation with ….

Caelesta is a very passionate family – producing outstanding wines in a region that is relatively understated. All attention is on Napa and Sonoma and that’s a good thing – means Paso can just get on with their business – just like Margaret River in Australia

Here is a winery that is one to watch. Not only is this region producing grown up elegant wines it is also a region that is bursting with variety and coolness. Paso leans , inn part to the varietals of Rhone so expect to see familiar pairing of grapes. If you like Rhone wines you’ll love this AVA

Sustainability is also evident and there is a big movement to give back as much as the winery can to Mother Nature. Water reservoir is on site. Minimal waste is taken off site

There is also an embryonic Truffle farm. So lots going on here.

Always remember you can email me at or sign up to my website following the links on my homepage

REMEMBER : Its not just about me ! It’s all about the grapes !

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