Bill and Liz Armstrong have accomplished something truly remarkable: resurrecting not just one but TWO of the Central Coast’s most historic properties. And perhaps just as remarkable, the preservationist-minded duo included the old California favorite – Zinfandel – in their winemaking plans!
But hey, that’s the way Ignacy Paderewski would have wanted it. The world-renowned pianist and diplomat from Poland chose Zinfandel as the main grape for his pioneering vineyard that he planted in 1913 just west of Paso Robles. Further towards the Pacific to the southwest of Paderewski’s ranch were the defunct remains of the historic York Mountain Winery that had been crippled in the 2003 Paso Robles earthquake – the very winery where Paderewski first made his acclaimed wines. In successive strokes of wine savvy and entrepreneurial passion, the Armstrongs acquired in 2004 the original Paderewski Ranch in today’s Willow Creek AVA, then in 2010 they acquired the old York Mountain Winery in what is today’s tiny York Mountain AVA. The result: the two complementary historical landmarks have been reunited – and resurrected at an even higher level of purpose.
The Armstrongs who are rock-savvy geologists turned wine rock-stars had travelled all over searching for just the right land and soil to launch their Rhône varietals project and finally settled on the same calcareous soils plus the “hot-then-cold” daily weather in Paso Robles that Paderewski had found. Sixty seven acres of several varieties including Zinfandel have now been meticulously replanted on the Paderewski Ranch’s 570 acres.
Now, having since added Catapult Vineyard to their Paderewski and York Mountain vineyards, Epoch has relatively quickly become one of the most lauded labels and sought-after sources of estate grapes and wines on the Central Coast with top winemakers vying to secure the estate’s grapes and excited customers clamoring for bottles of the distinct blends by lady winemaker Jordan Fiorentini.
The 1882 York Mountain Winery has been restored beam by beam and brick by brick and now houses Epoch’s tasting room where, by appointment, customers can enjoy flights tastings indoors or sip wines by the glass or bottle outdoors. Epoch’s winery grounds allow for picnics and are dog-friendly.