Villicana Winery - Paso Robles, California Alex and Monica Villicana Villicana Winery Exterior Villicana Winery Tasting Room

The History Behind the Villicana Winery

Alex and Monica VillicanaAs of April 2002, a familiar Paso Robles wine label has a place on the map - literally. After almost a decade of learning about the art of winegrowing and winemaking, Alex and Monica Villicana opened their Westside Paso Robles tasting room, giving their hand crafted, award-winning wines a place to call home and fans of the label a place to visit.

The Villicana label owes its existence to an unsuccessful culinary school. After college, Alex decided to pursue his interest in food and wine and enrolled in a culinary program. When the school failed to open, he turned his attention to winemaking and took a job working the harvest at a local Paso Robles winery in 1990. He also began taking viticulture and enology classes at U.C. Davis.

In 1992, Alex was told that if he wanted to hand harvest some Gamay grapes, which were left over from a mechanical harvest, from a local vineyard that he could have the grapes for himself. He jumped on that offer and made his first wine and caught the winemaking bug. In 1993, he was at the right place at the right time when he was offered three tons of Cabernet Sauvignon fruit from the famed Tchelistcheff vineyard in the Adelaida hills. He was lucky enough to get fruit from that vineyard again in 1994, and was hooked on Paso Robles, not only for the quality of fruit being grown, but also because of the cooperative spirit and energy of the local winemakers.

Villicana Winery - InteriorIt was at that time that Alex started laying the groundwork for the Villicana Winery. After marrying his wife, Monica, in 1995 they purchased 72 acres on the Westside of Paso Robles. They specifically targeted the Westside of Paso Robles because of the climate and the calcareous (calcium rich), nutrient deficient, limestone soil. This is a terroir that translates to rich, concentrated wines. The varied elevation of this hillside property helps keep the temperatures down at evening thus lengthening the growing cycle.

In accordance to Alex and Monica's philosophy of wanting to truly understand every facet of the business, they personally planted their 13-acre vineyard. After much research and an in-depth soil and water analysis, they carefully selected the rootstock and varietals that were most appropriate for the vineyard conditions. The vineyard is planted to Cabernet Franc Cabernet Sauvignon, Grenache, Merlot, Mourvedre, Petit Verdot, Syrah and Zinfandel. It is Bordeaux meets Rhone.

Villicana Winery - InteriorMaintaining total control over every facet of production has been the Villicana's passion from the start. The purpose of planting the vineyard was to achieve consistency and quality in fruit by utilizing estate fruit. Alex is solely responsible for everything from farming the vineyard to bringing in the harvest, to crushing the grapes, to the actual wine making process. He and Monica even pour the wines every weekend in the tasting room.

The year 1999 represents an important milestone for the winery. As of this vintage, the Villicanas are finally able to crush their estate grown fruit. Villicana Winery currently produces fewer than 2,000 cases and is planned to top out at 5,000 cases. Alex and Monica's plan is to stay small so they can really focus on continually increasing quality and generating powerful small-lot wines.

So, when people ask them how they got into the business, they look at their newly constructed winery and smile. Basically, what started as a small, unimaginable dream has turned into their reality and continues to be their labor of love.

Please come be a part of the dream.



If you would like to learn more about the Villicana Winery we recommend that you read our past brochures.

2002 A Productive Year
2001 A Successful Double Harvest
2000 A Glimpse Into The Future
1999 A Fruitful First Harvest
1998 A New Look for a New Vintage
1997 The Story of the Villicana Winery

Villicana Winery and Vineyard, Paso Robles, California, USA
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