Holy moly! Just driving up to Halter Ranch predisposes you to love whatever you're going to drink inside. This winery has such a great combination of setting and location...they could be pouring me Welch's and I wouldn't care as long as it was as sunny and idyllic as most Paso days! Lucky for us they're not pouring Welch's--in fact Halter Ranch has fallen in line with much of what makes a great wine from this area: estate red wine blends from the west side of Paso.
Halter Ranch is easy to spot because there's a giant beautiful Victorian house just off the road. Sadly, the tasting room isn't inside the restored house, it's just behind it in a smaller, new building. And apparently it's not a home-steading, pioneer family that lives in the old Victorian...it's owned by some rich Swiss guy that's rarely there! But I xenophobically choose to ignore that incongruous detail and focus on how gorgeous the setting is at Halter Ranch! I mean come on, not only is there an old Victorian house but there's a barn and a grain silo and rolling, oak-covered hillsides. Swiss guy or not I totally love this place!
The tasting room itself is small but not too small and there is a really nice outside patio area. Plus, they sell some little meat and cheese snacks, which saved me a trip back into town. But I think the main highlight for me was the French pourer working there! The wines were mostly estate Rhone blends so of course I was loving the descriptions of the French varietals in an authentic French accent! In fact, I think the accented introductions to the wines made me like them even more...if I'd tasted them for the first time in my house it just would not have been the same! But French-accent aside, these wines are definitely tasty and many of them are still at good value. There's no doubt that I'll be coming back to Halter Ranch and bringing friends. With nice wine, a convenient location (at the Adelaida Road/Vineyard Drive intersection), and an incredible setting I can't think of any reason to not recommend a trip out to Halter Ranch.
**All photos taken from the Halter Ranch website: www.halterranch.com** And I'd like to give the website two very enthusiastic thumbs up...everything I could have wanted was available to me, which actually makes this website useful (unlike many other winery websites!).