Paul Vandenberg of Paradisos del Sol Winery and Organic Vineyard
If you want a unique and friendly wine tasting experience, Paradisos del Sol is just the place. You are likely to be greeted by a turkey or rooster, as you pass the creative bottle display along the walkway to the tasting room door. On the wall opposite the entry is a sign that reads, “ SIP SIP BITE SIP”. Its origins go back to winegrower Paul Vandenberg’s earliest tasting days in the mid 1970s. As he tasted his was through California wine country, people would say as they poured, “You can just imagine how good this wine will be with poulet à l’estragon,” but there was no accompanying bit of chicken tarragon on the counter to aid his imagination. This happened repeatedly, to the point that he vowed if he ever had a tasting room, there would be food bites to go with wine sips. He has kept his vow, as the sign suggests.
Paul made his first wine for extra credit in 9th-grade science class. He became a paid member of the WA wine industry in 1983, and has since worked at many Pacific Northwest wineries. In 1999 he started his Paradisos del Sol label, and today operates a 20-acre “farmery”, a quarter of which is planted to vines. Paul spends most of his time in the vineyard, which is certified organic, and works to grow grapes as near to perfect as possible. Whether considering oak protocol, ideal release time, what we should call fortified wine made in the US, and most other winemaking practices, Paul is an unconventional winemaker. For example, he released his Rosé last fall, the 2016 vintage fermented and aged in oak. Since he believes “wine should not taste like lumber”, he is careful to use barrels 15 to 30 years old. Listen to this interview to hear more about his unique winemaking philosophy and unique wines such as Angelicas.
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