If you are looking for a quaint, boutique winery, a little off of the beaten path, then Locatelli Vineyards & Winery is for you. They do not boast an expansive tasting room or parties every Friday, but what they can give you is a very personal wine experience involving their premium Estate grown wines. The inside of their intimate tasting room is reminiscent of something you would find in the hills of Italy with the aged walls & rustic wood trimmed windows.
The owners/operators of Locatelli Vineyards & Winery are Louis & Raynette Gregory. Both are former residents of Visalia which is in the heart of the San Joaquin Valley. Louis & Raynette owned & operated Applied Geometrix engineering business in Kingsburg, California. In 1996, they looked to the Central Coast to buy property wishing to switch occupations to the world of farming & enology. They found their 100 acre property just north of Paso Robles, nestled in the picturesque Santa Lucia foothills overlooking the beautiful Salinas River Valley & Historic Old Mission San Miguel. With the help of Raynette’s father Reuben Gruber, the property was transformed from cattle land to 40 acres of premium wine grapes. Reuben continued to manage & oversee the wine grapes until 2001 when Louis & Raynette, with their young family of 5, moved permanently to Locatelli Vineyards.
That same year Locatelli Vineyards became Locatelli Vineyards & Winery. The entire winemaking process from start to finish is accomplished by Louis Gregory with additional recruitments for crush & bottling. Raynette can usually be found in the office or tasting room managing the remaining duties of the business and occasionally you’ll find her in the winery helping out as cellar rat.
The vineyard varietals consist mainly of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Petite Sirah with additional plantings to Cabernet Franc, Petite Verdot, and Malbec. This gives Louis the flexibility to develop new blends as well as some traditional ones. Their most popular blend is currently a Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot blend called Cielo Rosso (translated from Italian, meaning Red Heaven).
In 2007 Locatelli sought to provide wine to Old Mission San Miguel as a means for fundraising after the 2003 San Simeon earthquake. With the help of Fr. Larry Gosselin, OFM, one of the resident friars at the time, a new label was created with the first release being a 2004 Cabernet Sauvignon featuring St. Francis of Assisi. Since that time, two other labels were created to expand the collection, one picturing St. Clare and one of St. Michael. Their current releases in the Mission collection consist of 2011 Sauvignon Blanc (St. Clare), 2013 Muscat Canelli (St. Michael), and 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon (St. Francis). With every Mission label wine sold Locatelli Winery donates a portion of the proceeds to the preservation of Old San Miguel Mission. To date, they have donated over $15,000 to this great cause.
The vineyards & winery are named after Louis’ Great Grandfather, Cesare Locatelli, as a tribute to him & their heritage, as well as others, who have come before them making the long journey to America. Louis’ inspiration for becoming a winemaker also came from his Great Grandfather learning grandpa was a winemaker, although not commercially. You can read more about the family’s heritage and Mission San Miguel on Locatelli Winery’s website, www.locatelliwinery.com.
Currently, the tasting room is open from 11 am – 4 pm Friday through Sunday. The family invites you to come and “Experience the Taste of Tradition.” Salut!