Sculpterra Winery is one of those unique spots here in wine country: One, the amazing sculptures that adorn the gardens around the tasting room; Two, it’s one of those wineries that is truly a destination, not just a tasting room. Let’s learn more about winemaker, Paul Frankel, and then plan our next visit.
Note: This Q&A originally appeared in the SLO Visitor’s Guide.
Matt: If you weren’t in the wine industry, what would you be doing?
Paul: I would be drumming in a band. I love playing music and previously toured the country playing in a folk-rock band. It was a blast! But I truly love what I do now. Winemaking is such a blessing and a gift to be a part of.
Matt: What interests/ hobbies do you have outside of the wine world?
Paul: I love the outdoors like hiking, running and traveling. My father started a medical missionary organization called His Healing Hands, a group that provides medical care to those in need around the world. I would love to be more involved in that group and travel the world helping others.
Matt: What is your favorite wine region not including Paso Robles?
Paul: That’s hard to answer. There are so many great wine-grape growing regions. I’d say Argentina. I love the malbecs from that part of the world.
Matt: What’s your current favorite wine/ variety/ winery to drink?
Paul: I love all wine varietals, but my favorites always ends up being cabernet sauvignon. I just love cab’s texture, heartiness and dark fruit character.
Matt: What is your favorite aspect of the wine business?
Paul: The harvest! It is so exciting to pick and receive the new grapes every vintage. It’s a brand new opportunity to make wine, try a new style or repeat what worked before.
Matt: What was your first job in the industry?
Paul: Labeling wine bottles the day before we opened the tasting room back in October of 2008. It was stressful, I didn’t know how to get the labels straight.
Matt: How long have you been in the industry?
Paul: I’ve been making wine since 2008, but I helped my dad plant the vineyard when I was eight years old and onward. I’ve done it all! Our vineyard and winery is family owned and operated. So, I’ve done everything from pruning to bottling. It is all hard work but very enjoyable to me.
Matt: How many acres of vines do you have?
Paul: 130 total acres of vines, includes 12 different varieties.
Matt: How many cases are you producing each year?
Paul: Around 12,000 cases annually.
Matt: Where are you from originally?
Paul: I was born in Los Angeles in 1986. My family moved to Paso Robles in 1989 to start the vineyard, pistachios and to start country living.
Matt: How long have you been in the Paso Robles area?
Paul: Almost all my life. I’ve done lots of traveling around the world. I’ve been to China, Africa and many countries in Europe mostly doing humanitarian work with my father’s group His Healing Hands. It is such a rewarding experience.
Matt: Favorite part about Paso?
Paul: Wow, this is a hard question to answer. I’d have to say my favorite part of Paso is the people of this community. We have a wonderful community of people who are so helpful and kind. I also love the weather. I love living where we are close to the coast yet have a somewhat desert climate.
Matt: When you’re not drinking wine, what’s in your glass?
Paul: I love peppermint tea, I drink that all winter long and it serves me as a palate cleanser too! During the harvest I drink a lot of Lemon-Lime Gatorade. That keeps me going during those wild long hard working days.
Matt: What are some of your favorite food and wine pairings?
Paul: I love the combination of a good Blue Cheese and Port wine. Also, nothing beats fresh guacamole, homemade salsa and a good Paso Robles rose.
Matt: Why do you think Paso Robles has become such a big wine destination?
Paul: Easy access on the freeways from the north, south and the east. The quality of the wines and the friendly tasting room environment.