October, 2016 Edition

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Wine, booze and brews

Tin City: a one stop libration experience in Paso

Tin City, the ultimate hipster destination for cutting-edge libations, has exploded onto the Paso Robles scene, featuring 17 locations to taste small-lot wines, distilled sprits and brewed creations. Each business that has made a home in the industrial center have transformed tin warehouse structures, infusing them with a rustic charm while staying true to their industrial bones.
The locations complement one another while at the same time providing a unique experience, and signs made out of oxidized tin extenuate the Tin City identity.
Tin City Cider House recently opened in the area and more growth is on the horizon, including plans for a new restaurant, a baker and a farmer's market.
The 17 locations housed at the Tin City complex include Barrel House Brewing Co., Aaron Wines, Brian Benson Cellars, Clos Solene, Desparada Wines, Field Recordings Wines, Broadside Wines, Jacob Toft Wines, Levo Wines, Nicora Wines, ONX Wines, Powell Mountain Cellars, Torrin Wine, Wine Shine Artisen Spirits, Fableist Wine Co., Lefondusac Wine Bar and now Tin City Cider Co. The big attraction for many visitors is the one-stop opportunity to taste the diversity of the Paso Robles region on foot as opposed to driving from tasting room to tasting room.
"We love Tin City and all the wineries in here," said Paso Robles resident Donna Stevenson. "We love that they are all locally made and that we can park and walk around and taste a great deal of diversity. It is very convenient and all of the locations are very nice as are the owners. We are locals and we brought our friends from out of town to visit."
Tin City patron Shelby Capello said that Desparada was the first stop in Tin City that she and her group of girl friends made and that they appreciated the atmosphere.
"I love the way the lighting sets the tone of the experience you are going to have," Capello said. "As a group of women we really appreciate the art on the bottles in addition to how clean the wines taste. There is a real feminine touch to the place and it is very inviting."
Another foursome that was touring the Tin City area were the Gillespies and the Burleys, married couples from the Bay Area and San Diego, respectively, that were visiting for a weekend of fun in Paso Robles.
"Tin City is scrappy and we love it," Sara Gillespie said. "It is our first visit and we were told by our Air B&B host to stop by, and we are glad we did."
Gillespies' friend Beatrix Burley also said that Tin City is a great concept.
"Turing an industrial area, taking what was old and making it new again, is a fantastic concept and being able to walk around and taste a lot without having to drive from place to place is the topper," she said. "We like the exclusivity of this and that each location are not pushing club memberships on us. It is really hip and up-and-coming."
The experience in Tin City has gone over well with the public and for those who work there success is the icing on the cake. Camille Mori, tasting room employee at Desparada, said that the job is her first experience in the wine industry and that many of the businesses in Tin City were originally part of the Paso Robles Underground. The Underground is a winemaking cooperative made up of burgeoning winemakers who have combined forces to lower the expense of processing.
"A lot of people that moved into Tin City came from groups like the Paso Underground," Mori said. "Tin City is a starting point for people to move on and have their own labels and their own tasting rooms all in the same area. It is really cool to see these small wineries making it happen. Honestly I don't think there is a bad wine out here. The area is becoming more and more popular. It is really amazing to see this growth. Everyone is very neighborly, we share equipment and have a great time together."
Wine Shine Artisan Spirits co-owner Patrick Brooks and his partners moved into their space about a year ago, joining the Tin City crew. Brooks said that Tin City is a prime example of young entrepreneurs coming into an area to divide and conquer.
"We all came into the area with the mentality that we were going to make our businesses a success and we have divided and conquered," Brooks said. "There is a restaurant going in and the new cider house. It is the place to be."
Clos Solene Wines assistant tasting room manager Julie Chang said that it is really an exciting time to be working in Tin City. She said that working with fourth-generation French winemaker Guillaume Fabre has been one of the highlights of her career in the wine industry.
"We have so many innovative small, boutique producers that are doing some great things," Chang said. "An interesting aspect is that people are able to share production space and equipment so there is a lot of creativity going on here. Working at Clos Solene I am able to get my hands into different facets of the business and love learning from someone that is a fourth-generation French winemaker. Guillaume Fabre is a talented guy and they are a great family."
Owners of Lefondusac Winery Bar, Stewart McLennan and JP French, recently joined the Tin City family, serving up wines on tap, sharing single-vineyard lots by the glass. Their concept in Tin City as a whole is to take the pretension out of the tasting experience. At Lefondusac they take this to the next level by offering wine by the glass at beer bar prices.
"Stewart and I were making wines at PWS and we thought 'let's get our own place here,'" French said. "We saw that this new location was being built and was located right next door to Barrel House and now we have larger space to work with and are still part of Tin City. What is really fun about this location is that no one that works out here has an attitude or is pretentious about the experience they provide. We decided to take that idea a step further. We take wines straight from the barrel into the keg and give people a taste of something that is really fresh at beer tasting prices and even fill bottles with our signature blends if people want to take some home."
Tin City is a one-stop libration excursion that visitors could easily spend an entire weekend exploring. There are avid corn hole players in competition regularly, food trucks make stops and partner with tasting rooms, live music abounds with outdoor stage areas at Barrel House and Lefondusac and others utilizing tasting room space to share their extensive record collections and feature solo artists.
Tin City is tucked away off Highway 101 and Highway 46 West on Marquita Avenue and Limestone Way with street parking for most locations. To learn more, visit facebook.com/TinCityPasoRobles/.