"Growing up I never knew what I wanted to do, coming from San Diego, I didn’t have any agriculture background,” Alt said. “I got into Cal Poly, and of course you have to declare your major, so I was willing to roll the dice and figured wine would be a fun avenue to explore. Wasn’t sure if I wanted to make it, grow it, or sell it, but I chose the winemaking side and fell in love".
“What I wanted to do in college is intern in as many places as possible, be it a lab, vineyard, winemaking facility,” Alt recalls. “I wanted to be as well-rounded as possible. My goal was always to be able to run a facility all by myself, to be able to do everything. One of my favorite opportunities was interning in Germany with a biodynamic vineyard and a winemaker who won winemaker of the year a couple of years ago.
Among the many wines Alt has had the pleasure of producing during his career, one of his most exciting releases thus far was the 2017 Four Chords Bordeaux Blend from Parrish Family Vineyards. This complex and intense blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot garnered a 95-point rating from Wine Enthusiast and is a club member favorite!
“I saw an opening in our program at Parrish, we had the Estate Cab, our Reserve Cab and the Silken, but I knew the other varietals we grew and were making wines with would complement each other in a blend,” Alt says. “In the Four Chords, we were very purposeful with the development. Petit Verdot gets the mid palette, Malbec will get that fleshiness which evens it out, the Cab is the main structural component that makes it angular. I thought people would be interested in this blend, and it is very different from anything else we make. That wine was also a real test of my blending skills.”
Alt has had the privilege of working with some of the best names in Paso Robles wines, among them David Parrish. “I met David at a Taco Tuesday event years ago and he offered me a position here with Parrish Family Vineyard, and at the time I turned him down since the offer was close to harvest and I was working with another winery,” Alt recalls. “But eventually I came to my senses and found a way to join the team. David is a great mentor, he’s taught me a lot and given me every opportunity to succeed.”
“Hopefully my love and care for these wines show through,” he says. “That’s kind of your goal as a winemaker, that your passion can show through in that glass and make people happy.”
It is December 31st, 2020. The last day of this year. Who would have foresaw during the joyous calls of "Happy New Year!" on January 1st, 2020 at 12am that this year would unfold the way it did. Normally we experience difficult times at different times, but in 2020 we experienced it at the same time. It has truly been a notable year for everyone that will be remembered.
It was a year that has brought about deep gratitude and togetherness despite what one would think. As I reflect on these photos and videos above, it amazes me to see such a year with vibrant life, colors, and joy. I believe the reason is that our family and team chose to make it that way. That is not to say that we haven’t had moments, but we chose to work hard together and keep going with the best attitudes possible. Thank you so much to them for all their hard work and team work. I truly could not have gotten through this year without them.
It was also a year of sharing with guests even though it was with distance and behind masks. There were so many moments and stories we got to experience with our members and guests that it brought us all closer. Thank you to all our club members and guests who trusted us to provide safe service. Thank you for the support and encouragement.
Lastly, it was a year of unexpected joy thanks to the location of our tasting room and winery. We saw the hills frame beautiful, inspiring sunsets. We had many visits from wild life from reptiles to birds…one we weren’t able to capture was a recent visit from a bobcat. It’s these moments that make us pause and remember that there is so much more to life than just the doom and gloom.
My heart is so full as I watch this video. Despite all the difficult and unimaginable, thank you God for such a year as this.
With a grateful heart,
Cecily Parrish Ray