September 20, 2018 – If you want to stay somewhere really cool in wine country, get ready for a different experience next summer at the Cass Winery in Paso Robles. The new guest quarters will be made of shipping containers so it will be the sleek, “un-quaint” bed and breakfast experience you’ve always wanted. And one that nobody else has had.
Turning shipping containers into homes or other spaces is often featured on DIY Network and other home shows. The containers are durable with a life span of about 25 years and with some creativity and ingenuity, can be made livable. Think of it as a giant recycling program with vineyard views.
It all starts with our disastrous balance of trade with China. Steve Cass, an owner of award-winning Cass Winery, told us that the Chinese ship us so many containers that it is cheaper for them to build new ones than to ship the old ones back to China. So the containers are used only once. Steve is buying 23 of them to make eight guest suites, an office and a lounge for bridal parties to hang out. Lengths are either 20 feet or 40 feet but all containers are eight feet wide to fit on trucks. Joining two together makes a nice 16 ft. wide room.
Steve has been working on this since 2014 but now they have all the approvals and permits and the containers are being worked on for delivery in December. Luckily, his partner in the winery, Ted Plemons, is a builder and knows exactly how to make all this happen. In January, they’ll be stacking the containers on the foundations which are high enough to provide parking underneath. By April there will be a soft opening for wine club members and reservations will be become available.
The opening of the new B and B guest suites will coincide with the completion of a new barrel room that will hold over 100 barrels and 200 guests comfortably for an event such as a wedding.
Cass Winery is a small, 10,000 case winery that produces Cabernet Sauvignon as well as many estate Rhone varietals that Paso Robles is famous for such as Syrah, Viognier, Marsanne, Rousanne, Grenache and Mouvedre. In fact at the 2018 Central Coast Wine Competition, the Cass 2015 Mouvedre won Best of Class in the Mouvedre category, then went on to win the competition’s overall Best Red.
At the same judging, The Cass 2017 Marsanne won a Double Gold and went on to win Best of Class in the Other White Rhones category. The Gold Medal-winning Cass 2015 GSM went on to win Best of Class in the Grenache-Based Blends category.
Winery of the Year
Cass was also named Winery of the Year. We checked Yelp reviews and found 99.9 percent rave reviews for the winery, wine, tasting room, and especially the food. At Cass, guests can dine in the tasting room or on the patio (where Fido is welcome) and taste wines at the same time. Hmmm. We’re thinking about heading down to Paso for a Benny Burger and a glass of that award-winning mouvedre.
April 5, 2020 – A couple of nights ago, a TV commentator scolded the liquor industry for not stepping up to help ameliorate the hand sanitizer shortage. Truth is, spirits, beer and wine companies are rushing to retool their plants to produce required 60 to 80 percent alcohol, and working with local manufacturers to get the product free of charge to first responders, hospitals, police and firefighters, warehouse workers, delivery drivers and others in need of protection. In many cases, distillers are producing and bottling finished hand sanitizer Besides answering...