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Teed Up in Paso

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By Jennifer Bravo

With harvest in full swing, we decided to tee up with a few of Paso Wine’s most passionate golfers to get the scoop on favorite courses,  memorable moments, and comparing grape varieties to clubs.

Steve Cass

Partner, Cass Vineyard & Winery

Steve Cass Cass Vnyd and Winery PicmonkeyWhen did you start golfing? Who taught you?  "I’ve been attempting to play golf since I was 9 on city courses in Joliet, Illinois. My Mom, who had just taken up the game, taught me what she could. She is 89 now, and still playing…got down to a 16 handicap while in her 70s!"

What’s your favorite course to play on the Central Coast? What’s your dream course to play and why?  "I took a long time off from golf when we started the winery, but thanks to some good golf friends, have recently started playing again. Hunter Ranch is my go-to golf course. My go-to courses are usually ones I have fond memories of from past games, not so much the big name courses."

What’s your most memorable golf moment?  Best moment?  "No doubt about it, my only hole in one, on #8 at Hunter. Played on the day they canceled the AT&T in Monterey, due to stormy weather. We were the only ones on the course, so no big party to follow. Needed a 5 wood to reach a hole normally taking a 7 iron."

Golfers are known for their stylish and outlandish outfits! Do you have colorful/creative golf headcovers, ball markers, or outfits?   "Regarding fancy outfits or club ornaments …no, I am the opposite. I use my sticks and bag until they fall apart on me. I look homeless on the course. Notice the image I submitted, golf grips from the ’90s."

What similarities are there in winemaking and golf?   "Similarities between golf and winemaking (as a business) is that sometimes luck wins out over skill, Mother Nature can be humbling, and sometimes the ball bounces off a tree into the hole."

If your clubs were varieties, what would they be and why? "Hmmm…if clubs were varieties…sounds like a trick question…the driver is often referred to as the Big Dog….that’d have to be Cabernet Sauvignon."

After a day on the course, what’s your go-to Paso wine?   "Favorite Paso Wine after golf, hate to say it but I drink wine almost every day. Hunter Ranch is hot during the summer…and it takes good beer to make great wine.

 

 

 

Michael Barreto

Winemaker, Le Vigne Winery

Michael Barreto Picmonkey

When did you start golfing? Who taught you?  "I had golfed off and on since college but did not get serious about it until my wife got me some lessons for Christmas in 2009, because she thought that I needed a hobby.  Joey’s (my wife) cousin, Bob Shirey, who was one of the teaching pros out at Hunter Ranch, taught me the intricacies of the game and got me hooked."

What’s your favorite course to play on the Central Coast? What’s your dream course to play and why?  "My two favorite courses in our area are Hunter Ranch and Monarch Dunes, each for different reasons. Hunter Ranch for its majestic oaks, wide fairways, and bordering vineyards. Monarch Dunes for the challenging links layout, lush vegetation, and coastal views.

"My dream course would Askernish in Scotland. The reason is when my attention is captivated, very much like winemaking. I learn everything that I possibly can about it, like the physics and the history. The course in Askernish was designed by “Old” Tom Morris, one of golf’s legendary figures in 1891 and was abandoned to grazing land and an airfield by the 1930s. The historical significance of the site was not rediscovered until 2005. Since then a restoration effort has been taken to return the site to its former 1890s layout."

 What’s your most memorable golf moment?   "I can remember my first birdie, it was the 18th hole at Avila Beach Golf course. It was not a particularly memorable day, one that up until then, I would have wanted to forget. But after a good drive over water, I hit a 7 iron to tap in distance of the hole. Making for a great finish to the day, and as golf usually does leaves you waiting for the next time that you can get out on the course."

Golfers are known for their stylish and outlandish outfits! Do you have colorful/creative golf headcovers, ball markers, or outfits?   "I tend to keep a low profile out on the course, nothing too bright or bold."

What similarities are there in winemaking and golf?  "If you want to draw similarities, between the two, they can be very similar. They are both a path of getting from point A to point B. Golf is from tee to green and wine is harvest to bottle. You have to know where you want to end up before you start on the path and they will help you make decisions along the way. A tee shot into the rough can be much like a stuck fermentation. You can still make par, but there is additional work along the way. Good fruit from a good vineyard is like a short par 3, do every thing right and you have a good chance at par or maybe even birdie."

If your clubs were varieties, what would they be and why?

"Driver=Petite Sirah, Long but sometimes over the top

3 wood=Tannat, good length with a little refinement

Hybrid= Paso Robles blends, just enough power with the ability to control the direction

7 iron= Cabernet Sauvignon, versatility to hit the right spot from a good distance

Pitching wedge=Sauvignon Blanc, crisp or soft, the right finesse can result in different but desired outcomes."

After a day on the course, what’s your go-to Paso wine?   "I would say that it would be Sauvignon Blanc, something that is crisp and light to quench my thirst."

 

 

Paul Lopez

Chief Cellar Master, Denner Vineyards

Paul Lopez Picmonkey

 

When did you start golfing? Who taught you?  " I started golfing in high school as part of some fun while I was playing baseball."

What’s your favorite course to play on the Central Coast? What’s your dream course to play and why?  "My favorite local course is Hunter Ranch with Paso Robles Golf Club right behind. My dream course is Bandon Dunes in Oregon. It looks like a great challenge for a duffer like me. Pebble Beach isn’t bad either!"

 What’s your most memorable golf moment?   "Definelty playing golf with my son in Las Vegas, the best times!"

Golfers are known for their stylish and outlandish outfits! Do you have colorful/creative golf headcovers, ball markers, or outfits?   "Only a golf marker, it’s an 1898 Morgan Silver Dollar, reminds me of family."

What similarities are there in winemaking and golf?  "Winemaking and golf both take patience and a willingness to take chances."

If your clubs were varieties, what would they be and why?  "My driver would be like Syrah, big and bold, if I could hit it! My favorite is my 6 iron, and my favorite variety is Grenache. My putter, well….Pinot, it’s a tough one to figure out!"

After a day on the course, what’s your go-to Paso wine?  "I’m a fan of a glass of Rosé after golf, I do like L’Aventure Rosé."

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