In times like these when it seems that integrity has become almost negligible in the world around us, it can be hard to maintain a moral compass. West Point has a very simple pledge for their cadets, “A cadet will not lie, cheat, steal, or tolerate those who do.” It’s so basic, something most of us are taught as children. Yet, this basic idea, this touchstone for a morally functioning society, can so easily become distorted and neglected through the complications of life.
In 2014 Paso Robles went from a single AVA to eleven AVA’s. The reason for creating so many sub-AVA’s in this central coast region of California can be summed up in a word; diversity. There is a diversity in climate, soil types, and topography in this part of San Luis Obispo County. While the eastern region is warmer and drier with temperatures sometimes reaching triple digits and rainfall in the single digits, the western region is cooler and wetter. Topography varies with vineyards planted as low as 700 feet and as high as 2000 feet. Soils vary from sand, clay, calcareous shale and loamy soils. Single vineyards may even have more than one soil type.
Since 1983 when the Paso Robles AVA was first established, the area has grown from having 17 wineries to having over 200 wineries today. Among these are Austin Hope Wines and Truth and Valor Winery.
Truth and Valor creates a Cabernet Sauvignon wine that reflects the climate and soils of Paso Robles without ‘heavy-handed winemaking.’ The expression of terroir is the wine’s truth, and the hands off approach is the ‘valor’ of the winemaker. With beautiful dark fruit, notes of green pepper and and elevating acidity the wine presents the truth of Paso Robles.
Austin Hope, the president and winemaker of Hope Family Wines, has a goal of having 100% certified sustainable vineyards by next year. He believes that will have ‘positive effects for our vineyards, the environment, our community and the future of wine growing in Paso Robles.’ His namesake Cabernet Sauvignon is made with grapes sourced from five different sub AVA’s of Paso Robles. The variation gives texture and complexity to his wine which is rich and fresh with spice and cocoa notes and a lush, elegant structure.
Simple, bold words make a great structure for social integrity. Simple, bold acts done with integrity produce quality. Part of the terroir for both these wineries is a strong moral compass.