Epoch Estate Wines

est. 2004 in Paso Robles, CA

About Epoch We feel so fortunate to have a lot of rich stories to tell at Epoch, so we hope you take the time to peruse some of these pages, or better yet, come see the story in action atop York Mountain. In the meantime, here is a quick summary of who we are and how we came to be… When setting out on our “crazy” quest to make wine, we did not have our sights set on any particular wine region. However, we knew two things for sure: we loved wines made from Rhône varieties, and being geologists, we understood the importance terroir plays in the making of world-class wines. Upon extensive research and travel, we kept coming back to Paso Robles for the weather, unique soils, hilliness, and extreme temperature swings that are known to this region and are found within each of our vineyard sites – Paderewski, Catapult, and York Mountain. The cowboy culture, entrepreneurial spirit, and unmistakable beauty were just added bonuses! Our own wine epoch officially began in 2004 with the purchase of our Paderewski Vineyard. This chapter became so fruitful (pun intended) that we spread our roots to Catapult Vineyard in 2008 and then the historic York Mountain Winery two years later. Today we are beyond blessed to be stewards of these lands, and we are honored to carry on the legacies of York Mountain and Ignacy Jan Paderewski through our wines, wines that are carefully crafted from Rhône, Zinfandel, and Tempranillo varieties. Like we said, there are a multitude of stories begging to be told within this short summary, so we hope you take some time to read more about us and eventually come see us in person!

Thank you for your interest and support. We look forward to sharing this Epoch journey with y’all!

– Liz and Bill Armstrong, Owners

A full list of our wines can be found at epochwines.com/wines/ or by scanning the QR code

The Structures

The Winery Ten years, seven vintages, and two estate vineyard plantings passed before we had our own winery. While we are so thankful for the years spent building the Epoch name and honing our winemaking style at Denner’s facilities (a winery peer down the road), we were beyond ecstatic to move into our own winery days before Harvest 2014 began. Our super-swanky winery is an impressive intersection of rustic elegance and modern architecture. Nestled into the oak covered hills of York Mountain, the 17,000 square foot state-of-the-art winery slips seamlessly into its surroundings. To ensure the natural beauty was not obstructed, we placed most of the winery beneath the earth by utilizing a cut-and- cover method. This allows the winery to literally blend into the landscape, and in turn, provides our barrel room with natural temperature control – a win, win for all! Weighing in at 14,000 pounds each, ten handcrafted, board-formed concrete tanks rest atop a cast-in- place concrete ledge within the sleek fermentation room. Designed for function with visual appeal, each tank boasts a conical shape (inside and out), allowing greater cap compression for the fermenting fruit. Each of the handcrafted tanks is fitted with glycol tubes running through the five-inch thick walls, providing flexibility for fermenting or aging wines. Jordan worked side-by-side with local tank manufacture, Micah Utter of Vino Vessel, to bring these big boys to life.

Six stainless steel tanks were also specifically designed for our space. These tanks give the winemaking team the ability to ferment, age, and blend prior to bottling. So as not to obstruct the elegance of the sixteen custom tanks, the winery strategically placed the catwalk and railings behind the vessels and installed a safety harness fall protection system to preserve the beauty of these one-of-a-kind tanks. The awe-inspiring barrel room is naturally cooled by the mass of earth surrounding the unique cast- in-place, board-formed concrete that makes up the ceiling, walls, and floors. Two oculi skylights are strategically placed to allow the natural daylight to filter into the room. This area is not only a place to store aging wine, it also lends Jordan a warming/ cooling room to jumpstart wines that may need a little help from a temperature change. The entire winery has been integrated with night cooling. To keep in line with our sustainable strategies, we are also equipped with a photovoltaic system that provides 95% of our energy. These components, coupled with the natural daylight, allows the terroir of York Mountain to mingle with the terroir that our grapes exude when brought into the winery. We believe that terroir is not just at the vineyard site; terroir is also found where we craft the wines. These deliberate and desired elements continue to give the winemaking team the creativity and flexibility necessary to make the crazy delicious wines for which we are known.

The Vessels It’s a well-known fact in the Paso wine scene that our Winemaker, Jordan Fiorentini, has a crush on concrete. We love concrete for its clean contribution to both fermentation and aging (though not all of our concrete vessels do both; keep reading for specifics). Concrete is a neutral vessel, allowing the fruit from our estate vineyards to do most of the talking, but over time, it can add a beautiful mineral component to our wines. We have concrete fermenters in our winery, and these tanks are used solely for fermentation. They have large 36” lids that are helpful with pump-overs and punch-downs but do not work well for long term storage; as a result, we do not age wine in these concrete beauties. The tanks impart some minerality during fermentation, and the thermal dynamics of the concrete aid in the fermentation as well. The thick concrete walls hold in the warmth and/or cold when we need it. For aging, we have two types of concrete vessels: tulips and eggs. The Tulips come from Nico Velo and are made with concrete from the Dolomites in Italy. They hold 580 gallons. One is used to ferment our Grenache Blanc. The other two are for red wines, typically our Grenache based blends. Our eggs come from a company called Nombolt in France and hold 180 gallons. They are used to age our Grenache Blanc. For Grenache Blanc specifically, the concrete helps bump up the pH a bit and adds a fun mineral edge to the wine.

Tasting Room Holding a well-storied past, the historic York Mountain Winery was established in 1882, making it the first bonded winery on the Central Coast. Over the next 120 years, this Winery lived through Prohibition, a handful of name changes, various owners (most often within the York family who owned it until 1970), many, many bottles of wine, and so much more. Through it all, the Winery operated continuously until 2001. In 2003, the San Simeon Earthquake hit California causing York Mountain Winery catastrophic damage that left this beloved building condemned. In 2010, Bill and Liz Armstrong purchased the property out of foreclosure with the intent of revitalizing this historic landmark and making it part of our Epoch story. In 2016, after years of restoration and permitting, York Mountain Winery finally opened again as our new Tasting Room! A full reconstruction of York Mountain Winery by Lake Flato Architects and B.K Architect LLC breathed new life into the design, while honoring the historic integrity of the site. This includes the careful and loving preservation of the original redwood beams

as well as the bricks that were fired on property in 1906. These bricks along with the stones from the original cellar have been incorporated back into the structure with perfect precision. A basket press that was once used by the York brothers now sits amongst the rafters to replicate the original positioning which allowed gravity to bring juice from the crushed grapes to the main floor. This modern-meets-rustic space showcases and celebrates the York Legacy as it simultaneously beckons the future of Epoch. We know how beloved this building and property was for so many long-time York Mountain patrons, and we were beyond thrilled to open its historic doors once again in 2016 as the next chapter in our Epoch story. Fun fact: Ignacy Jan Paderewski (the namesake of our Paderewski Vineyard) once brought harvested grapes from his vineyard to York Mountain where the York brothers turned this fruit into wine. We love bringing this winemaking story back to life, as fruit from this land is once again being crafted into wine on York Mountain.

Estate Vineyards

Farming Practices Owners and geologists, Liz and Bill Armstrong, were drawn to Paso Robles for so many reasons, but some of the most significant revolved around the unique soils, hilliness, and extreme temperature swings found in this particular pocket of California. Inspired by the land and climate of the area, Bill and Liz began their journey to produce world-class wines that could express the intricacies of these very special vineyard sites. Today, Epoch is the proud steward of three vineyards in Paso Robles: Paderewski, York Mountain, and Catapult. Each site has unique soil, climate, and terrain, which in turn produces the rich, site-specific fruit from which we produce our wine. To tend to these vineyards, we follow specific farming practices. As an overview, we have always had the goal of the vines being a direct reflection of the special sites in which they are grown. We have worked hard to figure out how best to make this a reality, and that is why we landed on biodynamic farming – less inputs means less manipulation which means a more direct representation of terroir (to use the French term).

In day-to-day practice, the goal of biodynamic farming is to create a system that is minimally dependent on imported materials, and instead meets its needs from the living dynamics of the farm itself. It is the biodiversity of the farm, organized so that the waste of one part of the farm becomes the energy for another, that results in an increase in the site’s capacity for self- renewal and, ultimately, makes the land sustainable. Good wine is made from good grapes, and good grapes come from healthy vineyards. By taking care of our soil and training our vines to be more self-sustaining, our vines live longer and our wines can more directly reflect the special sites on which they are grown.

Paderewski Vineyard

AVA Paso Robles, Willow Creek


RED VARIETIES Syrah, Grenache, Mourvèdre, Zinfandel, Tempranillo, Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel, Graciano, Merlot, Petite Verdot, Petite Sirah, Carignan and Cabernet Franc

ACREAGE 95 under vine, 570 total

SOILS Limestone, calcareous, rocky

WHITE VARIETIES Viognier, Clairette Blanc

PH Low to mid 8s

Travel just west of Paso Robles, and you will find Paderewski Vineyard: ninety-five acres of undulating, steep, limestone- rich hillsides within 570 rural, spring-fed acres. In the early 1900’s, this vineyard was cherished and farmed by world- renowned pianist, Polish diplomat, and vintner, Ignacy Jan Paderewski. Fast forward a century, and this property stood forgotten and fallow. Lucky for us, in 2004, we became the stewards of this amazing piece of property. With a specific vision and mission to bring this historic vineyard back to life, the Epoch story began. Home to intense earth that bears little resemblance to typical California soils, this vineyard is filled with lean, rocky, and calcareous soil profiles. After carefully pairing the hillsides with their respective wine variety, the vineyard was planted with Syrah, Grenache, Mourvèdre, Petite Sirah, Tempranillo, Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon, Graciano, Merlot, Petite Verdot, Carignan, Cabernet Franc, Viognier, and Clairette Blanc. These vines are mostly grafted onto Phylloxera resistant Native American rootstock with the exception of a few blocks of Syrah and Grenache vines planted on their own rootstock. Creating a patchwork of vines, the vineyard’s clone selections were carefully chosen to create the perfect match between soil and vine. In addition, the vineyard blocks were

meticulously laid out based on their unique exposures, soil attributes, and mesoclimates. Today, you are able to taste the synergy created by the methodical planting decisions made in 2004, as each block is happily producing fruit specific to their exact location. Just like our soils, our climate here is intense. The Paso Robles wine region benefits from the largest diurnal temperature swing of any region in California. Daily, temperatures can vary as much as 50 degrees Fahrenheit, creating the ideal environment for achieving that perfect acidity in ripening wine grapes. At Paderewski Vineyard, each warm afternoon is greeted with cool breezes from the Pacific Ocean sweeping east through the Templeton Gap, allowing our vines to take full advantage of Paso’s unique climate. It is obvious to us why Ignacy Jan Paderewski sought out this exact location to plant his roots – both personally and for his vines. The breathtaking views, the soil composition, the climate, and the community are unlike any other wine region in the world. We are beyond humbled to call this property our own, and will continue to honor Paderewski’s legacy by cherishing these 570 acres and carrying out the vision we share for this land.

York Mountain Vineyard

AVA York Mountain


RED VARIETALS Syrah, Grenache, Zinfandel, Mourvèdre, and Cabernet Sauvignon

ACREAGE 21 under vine, 220 total

WHITE VARIETALS Viognier and Roussanne

SOILS Sand, fragmented, and fractured sandstone

PH High 4s to mid 6s

FARMING PRACTICES Farmed using organic and biodynamic practices

The York Family, Paso wine pioneers and owners of this historic property for more than eighty years, had vineyards on this mountain, and now we do too! In the spring of 2015, after much dreaming and planning, we began planting vines at this “cool climate” site (colder than Burgundy). Located just seven miles from the Pacific Ocean at an elevation of 1,500 feet, this property falls in the small 6,400 acre York Mountain AVA, which is outside of the very large Paso Robles AVA. The soils and climate are very different than our other two vineyards: sand and sandstone soils (some areas look like you are on the beach) along with a very moderate climate due to the even closer proximity to the Pacific Ocean. Due to the elevation and distance from the ocean, York Mountain receives more than twice the amount of rainfall as our other vineyards and has characteristic foggy mornings throughout the year with cool breezes all day long. When deciding what to plant, we wanted to keep with what we know and love best, but we also decided to experiment a bit too. We have planted mostly Syrah and Grenache and hope to craft pure varietal expressions of these two Rhône grapes in our very different terroir. In addition, we will be growing a small amount of Viognier, Roussanne, Zinfandel, and for the first time ever, Cabernet. Bring on the spice, fresh fruit and bright acidity!

Catapult Vineyard

AVA Willow Creek, Paso Robles


RED VARIETIES Syrah, Mourvèdre, Grenache, and Tempranillo

ACREAGE 28 under vine, 45 total

WHITE VARIETIES Grenache Blanc, Viognier, and Roussanne

SOILS Shale, clay, silt, rocky

PH High 5s

FARMING PRACTICES Farmed using organic and biodynamic practices

Directly in the heart of the Paso Robles’ Templeton Gap, near the acclaimed L’Aventure and Booker Vineyards, sits our Catapult Vineyard. In 2008, we came across forty-five barren acres of extreme, rocky soils packed with siliceous shale and little limestone content, just the type of soils we love; soils that encourage the vines to struggle while finding nourishment deep within the ground. The reward of this hardworking vine is berries packed with wicked complexity and intense flavors. Though barely three miles from our Paderewski Vineyard, the pH level at Catapult Vineyard is in the high 5s. A nice complement to the dirt over at “Rewski”. This pH difference, coupled with the cooler mesoclimate at Catapult, brings out different flavor profiles from the fruit produced. Staying true to our goals, the vineyard was planted after copious research of the soils and land exposures. It is important to us that the vines partner perfectly with the soils found within our vineyards. Today, seven grape varieties — Syrah, Grenache, Mourvèdre, Tempranillo, Grenache Blanc, Roussanne, and Viognier – are planted to this plot of land that was born to be a vineyard.

The Family

Bill & Liz Armstrong Owners | Vintners

Geologists, Bill and Liz Armstrong, share a similar spirit, one that is dedicated to the purity of science and endless exploration. Bill, a self- diagnosed “cork dork,” is a huge believer in the fun and “truth” that is wine. One day Bill woke up and realized he wanted to be more than just a wine lover; he wanted to be a wine producer. And thus, he set out on a deliberate (and quite fun) search for the perfect plot of land, land that would produce wine he and Liz would love to make, drink, and share with family and friends. While studying oenology in his spare time, Bill’s palate quickly took a liking to wines from the Rhône region in France, particularly the Southern Rhône. These wines reflected their unique sense of place, were frickin’ delicious, and had a fun/happy factor that was totally up Bill’s alley. So with a specific wine style in mind and a Geology degree in his back pocket, Bill embarked on a quest for the ultimate American terroir that would produce world-class wine. In 2004, this mission led Bill and Liz to a small pocket of land on California’s Central Coast

between Paso Robles and the Pacific Ocean. The unique soils, weather, hilliness, and extreme temperature swings found at Paderewski Vineyard were exactly what they were searching for. What they were not expecting was how much the Paso culture totally jived with their personalities; the entrepreneurial, collaborative spirit along with the rodeo, All-American vibe had Bill and Liz feeling at home from day one. With the later purchases of Catapult and York Mountain, Bill and Liz’s Epoch journey expanded. Bill and Liz are thrilled to be working alongside their daughters and now-co-workers, Lindsey Strawn and Leigh Young, to bring their Epoch vision to life. They love watching their eight grandchildren frolic through the vineyards, and, on occasion, taste the grapes to make sure everything is tasting just right. The Armstrong family, with the help of the amazing Epoch team that also feels like family, looks forward to many years of crafting delicious wines, making people happy, preserving Epoch’s rich history, and most importantly, having a blast while doing it!


After an extensive international search, Owners/Vintners, Bill and Liz Armstrong, found their dream partner in Jordan Fiorentini. The Epoch winemaking mission and unique vineyards stole Jordan’s heart, and before she knew it, she had packed up her family and moved from Sonoma to the quaint Central Coast town of Paso Robles. Passionate, dedicated, and not afraid to push the envelope, Jordan brings an enthusiastic and experienced spirit to Epoch Estate Wines. Her palate is the kind wine lovers dream of and one that speaks to Jordan through shapes; having an awesome artistic side, Jordan now draws her Tasting Notes in addition to writing about each wine. Jordan oversees all the wine and vine decisions along with the day-to-day needs of the winery. With her dedicated staff of four, she works hard to ensure every bottle of Epoch wine is always at its best. Besides being crazy talented, Jordan also happens to be wicked smart with an engineering undergraduate degree from Dartmouth College and a master’s degree in viticulture from UC Davis. Jordan earned her spurs working at her family’s winery in Georgia (yes, they really do make wine in Georgia), Araujo Estate in Napa Valley, Antinori Winery in Italy (where she met her husband), and most recently as head winemaker at Chalk Hill in Sonoma.


There are three essential components to wine tasting: flavor, aroma, and texture. While we are accustomed to describing wines in terms of their flavors and aromas, texture is challenging to articulate in words yet absolutely essential to understanding the essence of a wine. Texture is what gives wine its complexity and dimension; it is a window into the winemaker’s decisions in the vineyard and winery, and it is what I am highly focused on when I grow, make, and taste wine. Learning how to communicate the overall textural experience of wine to the consumer has been a challenge and a goal over my career as a winemaker. When I taste a wine, I sense its texture as shapes that move across my palate following the flow of the wine from the front to the back of the mouth. For more than a decade now, I have drawn these shapes in graphical form to create a wine’s visual tasting notes. I call them VINPRESSION® visual tasting notes.

Each VINPRESSION® I create is a unique piece of art, drawn on a four-quadrant graph that describes the textural sensations on the front, mid, and back palate. If a line drops to the bottom of the page, it signifies that the wine is hitting the bottom of my palate. Conversely, if a line reaches the top quadrant, it means the wine touches the top of my palate. In my VINPRESSION® drawings, I use circular forms to convey a wine’s soft and lush texture, while tannins show up as angular or pointed lines. Acidity directs the wine’s sensation high on the palate and interacts with tannins to accentuate a wine’s finishing texture on the upper-back palate, folding forward towards the upper-front palate. A holistic focus on the flavors, aromas, and textures allows us to better connect with individual wines in a personal and memorable way. I hope that my VINPRESSION® drawings will serve as a tool to better understand, appreciate, and remember wines that you taste and inspire you to draw your own tasting notes in the future.

Contact Epoch Estate Wines 805.237.7575 | epochwines.com howdy@epochwines.com

Epoch Estate Wines 7505 York Mountain Road Templeton, CA 93465

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